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8 life hacks that are so simple and effective it's surprising more people don't use them

From how to willingly get a cat in a carrier to handling annoying drivers, here are some solid life tips.

Man in a van smiling and giving a thumbs up sign

There are more creative ways to handle annoying drivers than flipping them the bird.

Have you ever come across a piece of advice that seem so obvious and awesome in hindsight that you can't believe you didn't think of it before?

"Life hacks" has become a bit of a buzz phrase in recent years, but there really are some habits and practices, often requiring minimum time and effort, that can be life-changing. Someone on Reddit asked people to share some of those "simple and effective" life hacks that people surprisingly don't know about or use, and the responses are a trove of "Oh, that's brilliant" tidbits of wisdom.


Here are some of the top tips:

How to get a cat to be comfortable in the cat carrier

Some cats don't mind the pet carrier, but a lot of cats act like it's made of lava.

"Leave the cat carrier out and open all the time. Then they don't panic when you get it out to go to the vet." – Mistie_Kraken

"That's a fantastic tip for reducing stress during vet visits! Keeping the cat carrier out and open as part of their environment helps them become familiar with it, making it less scary when it's time to use it. It's a simple adjustment that can make a big difference in your cat's overall well-being." – designsbymtj

"There’s probably still some anxiety inducing unfamiliar smells and sounds at the vet and also in the car. But at least he seems to like his carrier, that’s one stressor reduced." – twilightramblings


kitchen sink

Pipes can get funky when they haven't been flushed in a while.

Photo by Andrew Valdivia on Unsplash

A quick and easy sink pipe swipe

Stinky pipes? A little regular maintenance of hot water and gravity can take care of it.

"Every now and then, maybe once a week, fill up your kitchen sink(s) completely full of water, then pull the plug and let the water go down the drain in a big rush. The force of the water pushes out a lot of the slimy crud that has gathered in the pipes. No more clogged sinks." – PaulsRedditUsername

"Use almost boiling water to cut any grease in there as well!" – sunshinesmileyface

"I had a strange smell coming from my kitchen sink but fixed it by boiling some water and then pouring it down my sink." – dirtymoney

"Even better, first pour some vinegar down the drain. Then 10 or so minutes later let the sink fill up with hot water. (as hot as you can make it) And let that drain. Gets rid of even more slimy crud!" – Sanquinity

Write down those fleeting moments of potential brilliance

We always think we're going to remember, but we always, always forget.

"Always write down momentarily good ideas. Don’t lean on your memory." – bunny_shortcake

"And in complete sentences! Don't write "fridge pants," write out the whole thought like a stranger needs to understand it." – NeuHundred

"Yep. I shower before going to bed and I get some good ideas then. After the shower I write the idea down on a pad of paper that I keep at my desk just for ideas." – tc_cad

"Keep a journal near your bed. I've gotten AMAZING ideas in dreams. No, you won't remember when the alarm goes off, spend two minutes jotting down details at 2 am. Trust me." – Conscious-Shock7728

Be as kind and courteous as possible to customer service people

A little kindness can go a long way.

"Being genuinely nice to a customer service person (hotel, phone center, server, whatever) will get you way more free stuff then the people who yell and escalate for it. I had gig speed internet for a year for $20 a month because I asked the guy with genuine sencerity how his day was while dealing with an issue I should have been mad about. (He told me at the end of the call that he updated my internet package and to not question the bill next month)

Sometimes, you get nothing free out of it. But customer service people get yelled at all the time. They recognize people being jerks for free stuff. What they don't see often is kindness in a difficult situation.

Be genuine and out of your way kind, and the amount of free stuff you will get will surprise you." – mybossthinksimmormon

"Can confirm. Am customer service. Terms & agreements are the law of the land for assholes. Nice people? Wavy, gravy with those rules & what can I throw in for cheap or free." – bagolaburgernesss

"I worked in a high end hotel for the better part of my early twenties to early 30s. I couldn't tell you how many upgrades and free shit I gave to guests that were just decent to my staff and I. Literally for just not being jerks. Suite? You got it. Free room service? Absolutely. Comp Concert Tickets? I got you." – NotYourGoldStandard

closeup image of a shower head

Vinegar is the key to a clogged shower head.

Photo by Caleb Wright on Unsplash

Clogged or covered in minerals? Soak that sucker in vinegar.

It's incredible how much vinegar can do.

"People throwing out shower heads because the stream gets weak. Soak that shit in vinegar for 24 hours and you’ll have a brand new shower that will be as powerful as the day you bought it.

Edit: white or cooking vinegar. If you can’t remove the shower head, plastic bag and rubber bands." – Trytolearneverything

"Honestly, cleaning anything with vinegar is a huge life hack. It’s non-toxic, cleans really well, disinfects, keeps bugs away and can kill your weeds without poisoning the soil/ground water. It’s also a fabulous fabric softener and is great in the dishwasher too.

Editing to add that cleaning vinegar is better than cooking vinegar for these things as it’s more concentrated but both will do the trick. :)" – girl_in_flannel

Make it near impossible to forget something on the way out the door

Pair what you need to remember with something you know you can't forget.

"If you need to remember to take something with you the next day, put it in a bag and hang it on your doorknob the night before. If it's paperwork or mail, tape it to your door to where it's covering the handle. Usually if it's left on a kitchen counter or a side table or something like that, it will be forgotten if you're one of those get-out-the-door-at-the-last-minute the last minute type of people (like myself)." – goodmeowtoyou

"If I have something I have to take (from home/work whatever) I literally put my keys in the bag. Physically can't leave without touching the bag." – SerpensPorcus

"Or put it on top of your shoes if you keep your shoes by the door you go out.." – somercurial

Read the instructions. Seriously.

Sounds simple enough, but there are a lot of people who simply refuse.

"Read. Manuals, directions, instructions, etc. Most of your questions will be answered." – tabitharr

"I used to joke about this when I sold electronics. 'Real men don't read instructions....they come to me to tell them how the magic device works....'" – OddgitII

"I stick the manuals in a file folder in case I need to refer to it later. Plus if I sell the item it’s nice to have it to pass on." – kindlycloud88

"Once bought a $50 carbon monoxide detector. Took it out of the box, put the batteries in, lights turned on on the front: there was a funny looking little tab on the back, and impulsively, I depressed the tab.

Lights turned off, and did not turn back on.

Huh.

I read through the directions. That tab was the 'kill carbon monoxide detector completely and permanently' button, for when it’s useful life is over and it won’t stop emitting “I’m dying” chirps.

Felt like a massive dumbass." – spooky_spaghetties


Man in a van smiling and giving a thumbs up sign

Thumbs up, buddy!

Photo by RDNE Stock project/Pexels

Alternative 'hand signals' that work better than the bird

No need to fuel anyone's road rage. If you have a twitchy middle finger, try these alternatives.

"Instead of flipping people off while driving, give them a thumbs down. Flipping them off makes them defensive and angry. A thumbs down makes them feel stupid." – dragon0069

"Oh, my God. A few months back I was at a stop sign, trying to turn left. It sucked because it's one of those roads where you have to continuously look in each direction due to bends and hedges blocking the view. After some back and forth I finally thought I was in the clear. Right as I pull up a little more, this guy comes barreling down the hill GIVING ME A THUMBS DOWN. I will never forget it. I didn't feel stupid but like such a let down lmao I'd rather get the finger, laying on a horn or someone yelling at me. Literally anything else. It will haunt me forever. I'm still sorry about it!!" – popperboo

"I actually go the passive aggressive route & give a thumbs up 😂" – gallad00rn

"Or, if they are really annoying and want to provoke you, just smile at them and give them a friendly wave (and laugh as you watch them get even angrier)." – islandhopper37

"Blow kisses. It really seems to make them annoyed." – Unique-Union-9177

"I’ve always done a queen wave with great success." – eastofliberty

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

A couple shares why they decided to leave the United States.

Although it is difficult to tell if there is a trend of Americans moving out of the country, rough estimates show that around 8 million currently live in other countries—double the 4.1 million living abroad in 1999.

The most popular countries for Americans to move to are Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom, in that order.

A big reason why some are leaving the U.S. is that an increasing number of employers allow people to work abroad. Others are choosing to leave because of cost of living increases and “golden visa” programs. Golden visas offer the chance to get a foreign residency permit by purchasing a house or making a significant investment or donation.


A couple is going viral on TikTok because they’ve decided to leave America and move to Spain. Luna Ashley Santel had wanted to move for a long time, but her husband wasn’t on board with the change until he had a lightbulb moment while visiting a Spanish café. The couple are parents of a 4-year-old daughter, and a big reason for their decision to leave is her safety.

@lunagoestospain

Here’s what shifted for him. I’m sure this’ll piss the right people off. No pun intended. #movingabroad #spaindigitalnomadvisa #movingabroadwithpets #movingtospainwithkids

While spending time in Spain, the couple went to a crowded café, which would have made them uncomfortable back home in St. Louis, Missouri.

“There's a ton of people walking around. Being from St. Louis, that's not a very comfortable place for me to be in,” the husband said. “And you turn to me and say, ‘Have you seen all these people?’” he recounted his wife saying.

“And you're like, ‘None of them have guns,’” he continued.

At this moment, he realized that living in America caused him to be on alert whenever he was out in public. A feeling he never got in Spain. “And I realized this weight that I had been carrying around my whole life wasn't necessary. Like what we think is normal is not normal,” he said.

When it comes to firearm policy, Spain and Missouri couldn’t be more different. In Spain, owning a handgun for self-defense is allowed when you are in verifiable danger. In Missouri, there is no permit requirement to carry a firearm, whether it’s concealed or carried openly.

In Spain, the gun death rate per 100,000 people in 2019 was 0.64. Whereas, in Missouri, the chance of being killed by a gun is more than 36 times greater, with 23.2 people per every 100,000 dying by gun in 2021.

The video resonated with many Americans who feel uncomfortable living in a country that has become accustomed to mass shootings.

"There’s so much mental energy we dedicate to simply existing in the U.S.," Mintmage wrote.

"As a father of two young boys, your husband’s explanation has me shook because I cannot disagree," Astrolo-G added.

"That is literally my main motivator for leaving the country. I am terrified for my son," Doula Faye wrote.

Luna’s husband isn’t the only one in the family concerned about school safety in the U.S. Luna, a former teacher of 7 years, believes that sending her daughter to a school where they have “terrifying” intruder drills is unacceptable.

“It's nothing that I want my 5-year-old child to have to accept or learn as normal,” she says in another TikTok post.

@lunagoestospain

Replying to @CholeraMeBadd a huge reason we are getting out. #gettingoutoftheusa #movingabroad #alicedrill #alicedrills #iquitteaching #ididntsignupforthishit #movingtospainwithkids

This article originally appeared on 7.14.23

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Canva

"It takes only a few hours and it's also kinda, sorta fun."

Summer is here. The season of backyard barbecues, long evenings by the bonfire, and a nagging worry that every parent can relate to — the dangers that come with a swimming pool.

The chances a child will die from drowning are relatively low, according to the CDC. But still — it's great to be prepared to step in and help with CPR, should it ever be necessary.


Actor Ryan Reynolds definitely thinks so.

Reynolds recently went to a CPR training class focused on toddlers and infants.

Reynolds and his wife, fellow A-lister Blake Lively (who also attended the class), are parents to two young daughters: 2-year-old James and 9-month old Ines.

The actor posted a photo from his CPR class to Instagram on June 27, noting how being certified once helped him save a family member's life.

"Years ago, I took a CPR course thru the Red Cross," Reynolds wrote. "And holy shit, I ended up saving my nephew's life because I knew what to do! True story!"

"Yesterday I took a refresher course — focusing on infant and toddler CPR," the actor continued. "It takes only a few hours and it's also kinda, sorta fun."

Lively also encouraged her followers to get trained if they haven't already.

"Google 'infant CPR class near me' and you'll see lots of listings," she wrote.

The Livelys are right: Learning CPR is quick, easy, and certainly worth the trouble.

Nothing can give you the same in-depth instruction as a course taught by a professional (you can easily find an American Red Cross CPR training in your area). But there are still plenty of helpful guides online with free resources you can access to help you get started.

As Lively noted, just knowing you have the know-how to help in a critical moment will let you enjoy those backyard poolside barbecues this summer, feeling a little more carefree.

"For those of you who haven't done it, you will love it," she wrote on Instagram. "It's so helpful by giving you knowledge, tools, and some peace of mind."

Here's an overview on CPR instructions so you can better understand what a training course entails:

This article originally appeared on 06.27.17


Actor Jennifer Garner helps a homeless man in Santa Monica, California.

A paparazzo caught actor Jennifer Garner performing a touching act of kindness. Instead of being annoyed at having the moment filmed by the photographer, she asked him to help.

Garner was at the beach in Santa Monica, California, handing out bags of necessities to the homeless when she came across a man in a wheelchair who had no socks or shoes. Garner took the socks off her feet, gave them to the man and then attempted to hand over her shoes, but they were too small.

Garner then briskly walked over to the photographer filming her and asked him for assistance.


"What size feet do you have?” she asked the photographer repeatedly. “Can I buy your shoes for him? He needs a shoe.” When the random paparazzo asked what size feet the homeless man was, Garner replied, “10 and a half.”

@pinklover1969

Jennifer Gardner lead with kindness ... takong the time to help out a homeless man in LA. Her shoes must not have fit because she rushed over to the photographer and offered to buy his shoes. #kindness #jg #jennifergarner #homelessman #spreadlove #alwayshelpothers #hockeyhelpsthehomeless #fyp #tmznews #trending #foryou

“Oh, I’m 11! Want me to give it to him? I can give it to him,” he responded, adding that Garner didn’t have to pay him for the shoes. The photographer had a blanket to give to the homeless man as well.

When Garner came across the man in the wheelchair, she was handing out plastic bags filled with necessities, similar to those Upworthy reported on in March of 2022. Garner created a viral video for Instagram that showed how the average person could make bags to give a “random act of kindness” to someone in need.

The underlying message of the post is that with a bit of forethought and preparedness, we all can help people experiencing homelessness.

“Gather these essentials in a quart-sized Ziploc bag and keep them in your car to give away when you see someone in need,” she wrote on the post before listing some items that can really help a homeless person get through the day. “A pair of thick socks. Kleenex. Hand wipes. Disposable toothbrushes. Chapstick. A couple of granola bars. I forgot this time, but like to add feminine hygiene products, too. Add $5, $10, $20 and a smile.”

Homelessness has steadily risen in the United States by about 6% yearly since 2017. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, roughly 421,000 people were homeless in 2022, and nearly 128,000 were chronically homeless, meaning they didn't have a place to stay for a year or more.

The rise in people on the streets is distressing, and we all hope our leaders can get together to stop the steady increase. But until then, we are all called to do what we can to help alleviate the suffering we see on the streets.

Garner is a beautiful example of taking direct action to make the world a better place. Whether she calls a senator to help pass gun control legislation, buys boxes of books to help school teachers, or helps the homeless, her philosophy seems pretty simple. If you see something wrong, do something. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make the world a better place.


This article originally appeared on 9.22.23

Health

Bus seat shaped like a man's lap was installed to make a point about sexual harassment.

Obviously, it wasn't the most comfortable — or preferred — seat on the train for riders.

Photo pulled from YouTube video

Mexico City installs attention grabbing, anatomically correct seat.

Anyone using the Mexico City Metro recently may have spotted an ... odd seat on the train, a seat quite unlike the rest.

Instead of a back, the seat's plastic was molded into a person's protruding torso. And instead of a flat bottom for sitting, the seat took on the form of that person's thighs and penis.


Obviously, it wasn't the most comfortable — or preferred — seat on the train for riders.

Above the seat was a sign declaring the seat "for men only."

Another sign on the floor, legible once a person was sitting in the chair, reads (translated from Spanish): “It’s annoying to sit here, but doesn’t compare to the sexual violence women suffer on their daily trips."

Watch a video of confused, amused, and offended passengers experiencing the seat below:

The campaign, #NoEsDeHombres, was launched by U.N. Women and authorities in Mexico City to educate men on the seriousness of sexual assault on public transit.

Mexico's capital has a bad reputation when it comes to women's safety, the BBC reported. A global 2014 study found Mexico City was the worst in the world in terms of verbal and physical harassment experienced on public transit.

But harassment is a problem on virtually every major city transit system — including in the U.S. Last year, a survey of Washington, D.C., transit riders found 1 in 5 users had experienced sexual harassment during their commutes, with 28% of that figure reporting having been inappropriately touched or assaulted. As you could have guessed, women were nearly three times as likely as men to experience harassment, the survey found.

Maybe a seat like this for men should be on every city train from here on out.


This article originally appeared on 03.31.17


@JBBarrignton/Twitter

She reacted with compassionate rebellion

As their name suggests, anti-homeless spikes are intended to keep homeless people away.

They'll usually crop up in areas where a homeless person might find some quiet away from the hustle and bustle, or a spot that's relatively well-sheltered from the elements.



In January 2017, spikes like these appeared outside the Pall Mall Court in Manchester, England. And many people were not happy about it.

“This is not the answer to rough sleeping," Pat Karney, Manchester council spokesman, told the Manchester Evening News of the spikes. "It’s demeaning in that way."

One of those unhappy people was a local woman named Jennie Platt. The Manchester mom — who called the spikes "a Scroogey thing to do" — wasn't about to let the heartless act fly.

As Mashable reported, Platt and her kids decided to give the spikes a more comfortable upgrade.

Platt — with help from her 10- and 11-year-old sons, along with a few of their rugby teammates — covered the spikes with cushions and pillows.

Well done Jennie platt and sedgley park boys
Posted by Colette Stevens on Sunday, January 29, 2017

"The building owners are treating human beings like pigeons," Platt told the BBC, noting she woke up "with a right bee in [her] bonnet" after learning the news and decided she needed to do something.

Link to Twitter where what Platt and her sons did can be seen below:

Platt also left sandwiches and chocolate bars for anyone who could use a snack, encouraging folks to "take a seat and have a bite to eat."

Posted by Colette Stevens on Sunday, January 29, 2017

“It’s a spot where people can keep warm and sheltered," explained Platt. "People don’t need to be that mean."

The spikes are right outside Pall Mall Medical, a healthcare facility that rents out a space in the court, which said it had nothing to do with their installment. GVA, the company that manages the building, declined to comment to the Manchester Evening News.

Update Feb. 7, 2017: The spikes have been removed by the building's owner after public outcry, the Manchester Evening News reported.

Unfortunately, the anti-homeless renovation in Manchester is indicative of a larger issue that doesn't stop at spikes.

Governments and businesses alike have sneakily built up anti-homeless infrastructure in urban spaces all around the world.

If you've been to Tokyo, you may have noticed "dangerously slippery" benches designed specifically to be uncomfortable, warding off anyone who wants to rest more than a few moments.

In places like Salt Lake City and Lincoln, Nebraska, you might come across benches with vertical slats between the seats, made to deter anyone from lying down.

A man saws at an armrest in Toulouse, France, in 2006 in protest of the mistreatment of homeless people.

THIS IMAGE IF YOU'D LIKE TO ADD TO THE STORY CAN BE FOUND ON THE GETTY IMAGES!!!!!!!!!!

This type of urban planning pushes the problem of chronic homelessness aside without helping to provide a solution.

Shooing away homeless people by building slippery benches, installing excessive armrests, and adding spikes to sidewalks doesn't mean homeless people disappear. It means the most vulnerable among us — many who struggle with mental illness or are living on the street because they can't stay at a shelter — are left unwelcome in larger and larger spaces within our communities. This type of heartless infrastructure only exacerbates the problem.

Instead of hoping homeless people disappear, we should focus our attention on ideas that help them in the long run.

Beyond supporting your local homeless shelter by volunteering and donating, you can rally your representatives to join the fight. For example, Housing First — a strategy that provides people with a home quickly and unconditionally, then gives them the resources they need to stand on their own (like help with addiction or career services) — is a model that's been proven to work in several cities and states. Make sure the leaders in your area know you care about this issue and want funding for local initiatives, like Housing First, that make a big difference.

Platt realizes her efforts may be short-lived. But as more people notice her deed, she hopes it will change hearts and minds.

"I know [the cushions] won't last and I know they'll get wet," she said. "But the people who manage that building need to know how to treat people."

This article originally appeared on 02.06.17