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Schmuck bait

You know what they say: Build a better mousetrap...

You would have to be an idiot to go near schmuck bait. Things like the Big Red Button with the dire warning signs; the dark alley in Vampire Town; the conspicuously untouched treasure chest; or the roomful of frighteningly realistic statues. Or a monkey descendant that takes after his/her forbearers.

Making schmuck bait irresistible is a good trick. Often it takes advantage of the inherent appeal of Forbidden Fruit. Or a Curious as a Monkey character will ensure it gets taken. Often in spite of warning cries from more Genre Savvy characters.

See also Genre Blindness, Too Dumb to Live, Idiot Ball, Distress Ball, What Does This Button Do?, Press X to Die, Reverse Psychology, Who Would Be Stupid Enough...?, Don't Touch It, You Idiot!, Tempting Fate, and You Have Been Warned. If taking the bait doesn't hurt you, it's a Fake Trap. If taking it does something good, it's Violation of Common Sense. If that something good is being able to progress, it's Stupidity Is the Only Option (Trap Is the Only Option for the non-video game version). If someone fell into a Schmuck Bait one day but understandably didn't noise about it, he may be subject to Oblivious Mockeries. Not to be mistaken for Snark Bait, nor for something that actually baits your schmuck.

Note that this term is used differently by screenwriters. It most commonly refers to Like You Would Really Do It, and can also simply refer to any sort of audience misdirection.

Additional related tropes; press CTRL+W or ALT+F4 to display. And for Mac users, press command+Q.

Examples of Schmuck Bait include:


Advertising Edit

  • One former GEICO ad campaign featured a cartoon guy who brought the full brunt of some Obvious Traps onto himself. But some of them look too good to resist!
  • To launch a new televison network in Belgium, TNT placed a button in a quiet square with a label that read: "Push to add drama."


Anime & Manga Edit

  • In Rumiko Takahashi's Mermaid Saga, eating Mermaid flesh is said to give you immortality, and it can... but only about one in a thousand times. It almost always either kills you outright, or turns you into a gibbering homicidal monster.
  • She does it again in a Ranma One Half story, where Ranma (in girl-form) and Akane hit the tennis courts in relatively skimpy outfits (it's winter, so everyone else is bundled up) to lure out Happōsai. Akane mentions that the old man can't possibly be stupid enough to fall for such an obvious trap, but suddenly he appears, groping Ranma. As he's tied up, Happōsai complains that "Spotting a trap and staying out of it are two entirely different things!"
  • This (NSFW) reaction to Boku no Pico (also quite NSFW) was written to use as Schmuck Bait in order to get people to watch it. The reaction is specific enough to get across the point that Boku No Pico is really bad, but never says why. Thus, many who read it search up the name and, after watching it, proceed to Face Palm.
  • The Dirty Pair once had to deal with a trap that was triggered when one pulled on a little handle on the end of a rope suspended from the ceiling. The designer of the trap then proudly pointed out that it was a lot more effective than the "regular" stuff that burglars/spies/etc. promptly avoid.
  • Azumanga Daioh
    • "If I were to lose this key right now, we wouldn't be able to get inside the house!" Tomo snatches it and hurls it, later explaining that, "When you hear things like that, it just makes you wanna do it, y'know?" Once the key is found, Yomi has Sakaki physically restrain Tomo to keep it from happening again... especially as she thought doing so would be hilarious. Oh, Tomo...
    • She also does the old touch-wet-paint thing in an earlier comic.
    • Also playing with Mayaa, a wild Iriomote cat after being told not to. She gets severely scratched for it.
  • In the new years episode of Ninin ga Shinobuden, Shinobu finds a button with warnings posted all around it, and doesn't even hesitate in pressing it.
  • In Dragon Ball, as the heroes find themselves in Pilaf's castle, they notice a series of lit up arrows on the ground. Their initial assessment of it being a trap is disregarded as being far too obvious a trap. It turns out to actually be a trap. Pilaf even lampshades this, "I never believed there were people THAT stupid."
  • Slayers
    • In Slayers Next, Gourry pushes a button to disastrous effect. Later he finds another button which he doesn't push -- when pushing the button would have deactivated the trap he then falls in.
    • Parodied some more in Slayers Revolution when Lina and Pokota cannot stop themselves from pushing buttons that say "do not push"; lampshaded by other annoyed members of the group.
    • Also, the "Lina Trap". The one with the unicorn horn, which is so ridiculously obvious that at a glance Lina muses that the trap must have been meant for Gourry (until Lina sees the unicorn horn inside the trap and promptly loses her brain). Although possibly Lina was the only one who would have fallen for that one. Hell, even Gourry lampshades it.
    • Even Xelloss was not immune to Schmuck Bait. In an episode of NEXT, he comes across a shrine that says (paraphrasing) "Throw a coin into the fountain and ring the bell for good luck." Xelloss does so...only for the bell to fall on top of him, in an especially ironic display of good luck (i.e. Good Luck is bad for Mazokus).
  • When the Straw Hat Pirates raided Sir Crocodile's casino in One Piece, they found a sign in the backroom corridors pointing off in one direction that said "Pirates". It led to a dead end containing a trap door which dropped them in a cage. Luffy considered it fiendishly clever.
  • Just a few minor examples from Hell Teacher Nube: Miki reads about astral projection... ends up turning herself into a Long-Necked Woman (permanently). She reads about "pulling" off your consciousness for an out-of-body experience... ends up trapped in the body of a female cat on the run from tomcats in heat. She hears a rumor about compelling other people to your will with their umbilical cords... Kyoko becomes her mindless slave and jumps off the school roof. She starts up a chain letter to con people into giving her money... she ends up bringing disasters upon the entire town and she's forced to experience the suffering of everyone she hurt as means of redemption. A few of her classmates also find playing with fire irresistible, but Miki is the worst one of them all.
  • In Mahoujin Guru Guru, Jaba kingdom has a rule that says that you must not stand in front of the guardian statue Pura Pura and tell it "Take care of your health" while boxing with your left hand, picking your nose with your right hand, and having a loaf of bread wedged up your rear. The prince Schmucked himself into getting turned into a pig as a result of violating this rule. Nike had to be restrained from doing so three times.
  • When you're a character like Eury Evans from Immortal Rain and you run into a door with "The Wages of Sin" and "Keep Out!" emblazoned across the front, are you going to keep on walking? No, of course not. Then there wouldn't be any explosions.
  • In the Clannad prequel episode, Okazaki and Sunohara make a party ball trap that drops a washtub on whoever opens it. The ball is opened by pulling on a tag that reads "someone please pull this, it will be interesting". Nagisa pulls the tag and gets knocked out by the washtub.
  • In Kaze no Stigma, a website temps browsers with the question "Do you want power? Yes/No". Answering "yes" will give you super-powers, but what isn't said is that this involves making a pact with a demon and all pact-makers will be used as sacrifices to summon a demon lord.
  • In Episode 8 of To Aru Majutsu no Index, Touma asks Stiyl to stick out his tongue. When he complies, Touma uppercuts him.
  • Hanaukyo Maid Tai: La Vérité
    • Episode 7. Taro and several of the maids explore a mysterious underground corridor. They've already discovered that the place is filled with booby traps.
    • They encounter a rope suspended from the ceiling. Both Ryuuka and Ikuyo Suzuki thinks it's a pinata and want to pull it but Konoe orders them not to. Konoe accidentally trips and pulls it herself, then falls into an opening that appears in the floor.
    • We find Taro, Ryuuka and Ikuyo Suzuki running from a giant rolling ball. A Flash Back shows a large button with a skull on it, then Ikuyo Suzuki says, "It was staring at me as if it wanted me to push it!"
  • In Hidamari Sketch, Yuno mentions having gotten the room formerly occupied by Misato, who had since graduated. Sae warns Yuno about a purple "snake". Back in her room, Yuno sees a purple rope, and decides to pull it. Misato had set it up so that when someone pulls it, a metal washbasin falls from a trap door, probably on the puller's head.
  • In Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya, Rin gets a little too blinded by one position's absurd pay rate to notice that the job requirements are so specific that really only she could possibly fill them. Congratulations, Rin-san... you are now Luvia's personal maid.
  • In Chapter 215 of Hayate the Combat Butler, Nagi and Ayumu find one of these in a chest inside the storeroom of the Sanzenin Villa on Mykonos. Guess what they do.
  • Nichijou Yuuko convinces Mio to push the fire alarm button at school by telling her that she tried and nothing happened. The results are what you would expect.
  • In Infinite Stratos, Houki is looking at a pair of bunny ears is sticking out of the ground with a sign that says "Please pull me out". She doesn't do it, but Ichika does, and a giant carrot drops in front of him moments later. Inside said giant carrot is Houki's sister Tabane, who arrives in a less than dramatic fashion in order to give Houki her own suit.
  • One episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya-chan features Achakura wanting Nagato and Mr. Kimidori to stop being "carefree" and help her with the many chores. In one of the scenes, Nagato and Mr. Kimidori try to lure Achakura to a trap by setting up a piece of cake. However, it was a failure, because Achakura told Nagato to pick up her "things" and do some cleaning.
    • This happened to Mikuru in a eariler episode. At the begining, Mikuru finds a remote, and what does she do? She turns on the TV using the remote, and the TV screen showed Haruhi up close and Haruhi says, "Mikuru, are you watching?" Mikuru then looks shocked. This became a meme, known as "No Mikuru! Don't turn on the TV!" In these memes, Youtube users who made the videos, in the title, warn Mikuru not to turn on the TV, but Mikuru does so anyways, and something appears on the TV screen.


Arts Edit

  • The Rape Tunnel, an art installation by Richard Whitehouse. Exactly What It Says on the Tin: If you enter this tunnel then the artist will attempt to rape you. It's a followup to his other piece, The Punch-You-in-the-Face Tunnel. They were both fabricated stories, and the actual Schmuck Bait was to see who would take the story seriously and how; in this regard, it was successful if not predictable in light of this entire page.
  • Also from the art world, there was a controversy some years ago about a Danish exhibition that featured ten blenders, each containing water and live goldfish, with an invitation to the viewer that they could press the button if they wanted to. At least seven fish were pureed.


Card Games Edit

  • In Poker, massively overbetting with unbeatable hand sometimes causes people to call you, because, "Surely, if he really had a hand, he would bet less so as to get paid."
  • Munchkin is guilty of this trope in nine different shades; Space Munchkin's "TRAP! The Most Fiendish Trap of All!!" actively illustrates this with a Big Red Button.
  • Magic the Gathering
    • The flavor text for the card Fat Ass from the parody set Unhinged has the flavor text, "Our lawyers say no matter how funny it would be, we can't encourage players to eat the cards. Hear that? Whatever you do, don't eat the delicious cards."
    • In an official website article, the author makes a point about the nature of Magic's goblins by offering readers several large red buttons to push. Pushing them (sometimes after several pushes) causes the text and graphics to become scrambled. Except the last button. That one gives a censored preview card for the new expansion.
    • Whenever your opponent plays something you've never seen before, it's a normal reaction to grab the card for a second to look at it and figure out what it does...Unhinged made this instinctive act come back to bite the player with Vile Bile.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! card game: The illustration of Reckless Greed shows a greedy man reaching for a treasure chest that is clearly over a trapdoor and and filled with snakes.


Comic Books Edit

  • An issue of Ultimate Spider-Man features Jean Grey accidentally setting up her own Schmuck Bait, and getting both Peter and herself caught in it when she congratulates him on not mentally picturing her naked. If you didn't get it, she just said the word sequence "Picture me naked" to a teenage boy. And she's one of the most powerful psychics in the universe. It then runs into an Overly Long Gag as Peter tries to stop thinking about Jean Gray naked.
  • In The Dark Knight Returns, the bright yellow logo on Batman's chest is revealed to be Schmuck Bait, as he deliberately included this target in his costume to bait Mooks into shooting at his well-armored chest, not his head.
  • The Punisher has said the same thing. He wears the skull on his chest (over his body armor) so they don't shoot the one in his head.
  • Batman: The Batmobile has an unlabeled large bright shiny red button in easy reach of the driver's side. When pressed, it floods the car with sleeping gas, the driver's side first and foremost. Why? In case the Joker ever steals it. Because The Joker would never be able to resist pushing an unlabeled large bright shiny red button just to see what happens.


Comic Strips Edit

  • Calvin and Hobbes
    • Calvin attempts to lure Susie to a spot where he can hit her with a water balloon, but she doesn't notice him dropping (planting) his letter with an obvious secret code until he loudly exclaims to Hobbes that, "I hope Susie doesn't read our secret letter, because then all our plans would be ruined." At which point it backfires spectacularly.
    • She also gets him passing notes in class. She tells him to pass on the note, but not to read it first. The note, naturally, says: "Calvin you stinkhead: I told you not to read this. Susie."
    • A more successful version uses a series of "Important message, this way" signs, culminating in "Important message : Look out!" and a tossed water balloon.
  • Dilbert
    • In one strip, Dilbert tells the Pointy-Haired Boss not to touch the "prototype", or he'll be shocked. Naturally, the boss's thought bubble reads "Must touch", and he touches the thing, and gates zapped with a ridiculously huge surge of electricity. In the third panel, Dilbert tells the boss not to touch it a second time, and the boss, who is severely charred by the first shock, thinks "Must... touch... second... time."
    • Wally makes use of this trait in later comic, when Asok accidentally erased the entire customer database. He gives the boss Asok's laptop, and says that this is an unstable prototype and should not be touched. When the boss immediately does, Wally blames the boss for just now erasing the database.
  • In one strip of the newspaper comic Frazz, we find out that the eponymous janitor has installed a box basically designed to make the kids ask, "What's that for?" so that he can tell them to leave it alone. The box actually doesn't do anything, except to distract them from the fire alarm.
  • This Greenside cartoon. A marine stands in the middle of a room full of signs in bright colours with enormous lettering telling him not to press the button. He is pressing a large red button. Two scientists just outside the room are looking in through a window and the first is telling the second "I told you so."
  • In a Prickly City Sunday cartoon, Winslow sees a button with a "Do not push" sign. After some careful idleness, he pushes it in the penultimate panel. In the ultimate one, he complains, "If you break the rules you deserve a boom."


Films -- Animation Edit

  • Spirited Away. Both played straight in the beginning with Chihiro's parents, and averted hard at the end, when she's told not to look back in a scene reminiscent to Orpheus. She almost does, but her willpower is strong enough not to look back.
  • The Simpsons Movie, Agnes Skinner: "Don't look where I'm pointing!" She was pointing at Bart's penis.
  • Yellow Submarine
    • While in Liverpool:

 Ringo: Hey, I wonder what would happen if I pulled this lever.

Old Fred: You mustn't do that.

Ringo: Can't help it. I'm a born lever-puller.

      • Lever-puller = Liverpooler, i.e., someone from Liverpool. Yes, I know it's more properly "Liverpudlian". Subverted in that it has a positive effect: it releases/awakens John Lennon.
    • While the title submarine is passing through the Sea of Monsters:

 Old Fred: Now whatever you do, don't touch that button!

Ringo: Which button?

Old Fred: That one.

Ringo: This one? (pushes it and is ejected from the submarine)

Old Fred: That was the panic button.

  • In Garfield His 9 Lives, one life is in a beautiful, magical garden where he and his human need only do one thing -- never, ever touch the crystal box on the checkered toadstool. Guess what happens? Subverted Trope: They decide to leave the box alone.
  • Monsters vs. Aliens features a Big Red Button that launches all of the US's nukes at once. And it's right next to an identical button that makes latte. So What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Also, the president is President Buffon.
  • Aladdin. Just before Aladdin and Abu enter the Cave of Wonders, it gives a stern warning: "Touch nothing but the lamp!" Exactly why isn't made clear until Abu grabs a giant, conspicuous ruby. Let's just say that our heroes were pretty lucky to have found that flying carpet.
    • Slightly subverted in that, in the same scene, they touch the carpet a number of times (and it touches them as well) before Abu touched the ruby. One can only assume that Carpet, being a sentient, maybe even sapient, creature (albeit a man-made one) was not officially part of the treasure.
  • Scar from The Lion King uses this on Simba (a cub at the time) to lure him to the elephant graveyard. True, he doesn't realize that maybe Uncle Scar isn't totally trustworthy....
  • In the film Little Nemo Adventures in Slumberland, Nemo is given a big gold key that he is told to never ever, ever, ever, use on the Really Big Ominous Door in the cellar. He uses it less than twenty minutes later. To be fair, Flip did bait him.
  • The Princess and the Frog: "C'mon, boys. Won't you shake a poor sinner's hand?"


Films -- Live-Action Edit

  • The Stinger during the credits of Percy Jackson and The Olympians has Percy's slimeball stepfather finding his refrigerator locked and a note from Percy taped to it to the effect of "do not open under any circumstances". He immediately breaks the lock off and finds himself face-to-face with Medusa's severed head.
  • Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Chewie and the piece of meat. Possibly one of the few instances where it was literally bait. Annoying for those who thought Chewie should've been too smart to fall for something so obvious. Maybe it was just too obvious and cliché that Chewie suspected it absolutely could NOT be a trap. Admiral Ackbar would have known better.
  • Mom and Dad Save The World has the Schmuck Bait of the "Light Grenade" which will vaporize anybody who picks it up. When the protagonist asks why anybody would do such a thing, he is shown the ingenious inscription, "Pick Me Up". Of course, this is a Planet of Schmucks.

 Dick: "Pick me up"?

Sirk: Diabolical, isn't it?

Several minutes later, the sole remaining member of the mook squad that finds it, while surrounded by empty suits of armor piled on the ground, calls for backup. Then picks it up.
  • Joe Versus the Volcano. Joe always wondered what the valve labeled "Do not turn" would do if he turned it. Since he's dying anyway, he goes right up to it and gives it a good turn. Absolutely nothing happens. Joe is incredulous about it. Why have a sign if nothing happens?!
  • Done with lampshade in The Fifth Element:

 Zorg: Now a real killer, when he picked up the ZF-1, would've immediately asked about the little red button on the bottom of the gun.

Cuts to the alien, staring in confusion at the little red button. He shrugs and pushes it. Cue explosion and Zorg's unflinching smoke.
  • The Transporter: Rule Three: Never look in the package. Too bad said package got noisy...
  • Spaceballs
    • Dark Helmet orders Col. Sandurz to stop, whereupon he pulls a lever marked "Emergency Stop -- Never Use". This causes Helmet to go flying across the room, squashing his helmet.
    • Also, there's a self-destruct button in the ship which Lone Starr has to push which tells you to not push unless you really, REALLY mean it.
  • Undercover Brother. The Big Red Button in The Man's island fortress was labeled "Atomic Core": who would have thought it would detonate the base's Self-Destruct Mechanism?
  • The Ring. That cursed videotape. At its worst in Ringu, where the protagonist actually has to travel to the Izu peninsula campsite and ask the owner for it, while being warned, and then watches it anyway. And leaves it where her kid can get at it.
  • While robbing a gumball factory, one of the thieves cannot resist the door labeled "DO NOT OPEN THIS DOOR" in The Brink's Job.
  • Constantine. While the title character is preparing to drag the demon out of the possessed girl he tells the men helping him "Close your eyes. And whatever happens, don't look." Of course one of them does. He collapses and his hair turns white.
  • In Saw II, Jigsaw leaves his victims a note specifically instructing them not to use the key found within on the door to the room. Someone does it anyway and ends up shot by a gun positioned in the peephole.
  • In Con Air, U.S. Marshal Larkin and a couple of prison guards search Big Bad Cyrus Grissom's cell. One of the items they find is a small package with a note taped to it reading, "Do Not Open." The Genre Savvy Larkin immediately leaves to call the bomb squad, cautioning the guards on the way out not to open the box. He's barely ten feet away from the cell when one of the guards plops down on the cot and opens the box. Cue massive explosion.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park gives us the famous line, "DON'T GO INTO THE LONG GRASS!" Although this could simply be more of a Cassandra Truth than anything, this warning is still completely ignored. And yes, hilarity does indeed ensue. It could also be that the men couldn't hear Ajay over the sound of their own panicking.
  • In Matilda a student steals a piece of cake from the principal's desk and is then forced to eat the rest of the cake in front of the school.
  • Time Bandits: "Mum, Dad, it's evil! Don't touch it!" Guess what Mum and Dad proceed to do?
  • In The Cabin in the Woods the cabin's cellar doesn't just have one piece of Schmuck bait, oh no. It's filled with literally dozens of weird or mysterious objects, and, if played with, each of them will summon a different kind of monster to kill the cabin dwellers.
  • A couple of the gags in the Home Alone films follow this principle. For example, one involves the crook pulling on a doorknob, only to find that it comes loose and is attached to a string. He then must keep pulling several more yards of the string before the trap (a staple gun at crotch height) is triggered. Presumably the idea was they he'd know something was up, but be too determined to figure it out to stop.
    • A similar one has the doorknob cause a large tool chest to start rolling down the stairs at the door. The sound is extremely loud, and it takes several seconds for it to complete the journey. Naturally the trap requires that the thieves be curious about the noise and press their ears against the door, until the tool chest arrives.
  • There's a nice example of subtle Schmuck Bait action in The Return of the King film version. The Corsair ships arrive for the battle of Minas Tirith(sp?) and Aragorn and company jump down in front of the orcs instead of the pirate reinforcements they were expecting. After being surprised for a bit, the orcs regain their confidence and start smirking. “After all,” they are probably thinking, “It's a bunch of us against three of them, we can totally win.” Except they are forgetting the fact that these guys apparently took out an entire armada by themselves... Cue utter horror and sheer terror when the Dead of Dunharrow charges at them.
    • It also was evident a few scenes earlier, in the Extended Cut at least, when you are shown Aragorn and company confronting the Corsairs. It never crosses the Corsair's minds that these three might have a reason for being so confident... (Bonus points for the film crew as the Corsairs are all production crew dressed up and the corsair that goes down under Legolas's arrow is Peter Jackson himself!)
  • Blazing Saddles: Cue first half of Looney Tunes stinger. "Mongo like candy." Mongo open box. Mongo get exploding powder in face, as if to Eat the Camera. Cue second half of Looney Tunes stinger.


Gamebooks Edit

  • Pick-a-path books are veritable minefields of Schmuck Bait. Choose the wrong options, and you're hosed.
  • Choose Your Own Adventure too. The trouble with those though is that often times they trick you with options that seem like obvious Schmuck Bait which turn out fine and options that appear harmless leave you to a horrid fate. In one book, for example, you need to choose between whether you should run back into a burning building after a friend or escape. If you return then you live and get a relatively happy ending (complete with rescuing the friend's ancestor from slavery; it's a long story). If you escape from the building then you wind up being mistaken for a thief while trying to put out the fire, are publicly humiliated by being forced to wear a sign that says you're a thief, and then get shot and killed for inadvertently sitting and resting on the steps of a bank (which the police think you're looting).
  • Some of the later books in the Fighting Fantasy series elevate Schmuck Bait to an art form. For example, in Return to Firetop Mountain you might be able to catch two of the Big Bad's spies (which requires dodging a couple of baits first, BTW). You kill them, and one has a bit of paper hidden in his boot. Woot! Secret info as your reward for being clever enough to reach that point, right? WROOOOOOONG! It's a cursed scroll.
  • In the interactive Zork novels there's usually a trap that asks if you found a certain item that doesn't exist. If you say "yes" the book calls you out for cheating and doesn't give you the option of going back and trying again that it usually does.
  • Same thing in the first book of La Saga du Prêtre Jean with the nonexistent key to a door that can't be opened.
  • The interactive 1st Edition (A)D&D game book Survival of the Fittest has a beautiful schmuck-bait trap. The entry at the bottom of each page is a ruse; no other entry led to them from any accessible part of the game. Some were straightforward, like "If you have gotten here you have gone to the wrong number, because there is no 14J. Subtract 1 from your Intelligence, and go to 1A." However, one of these inaccessible entries was particularly cruel: "You have stumbled across a Ring of Three Wishes! To use it in your campaign, just show your Dungeon Master this and the steps you took through this book to get here, then abide by his/her restrictions for the wishes." Given the prerequisites for being a DM, it may actually be doing you a favor.


Jokes Edit

  • Whatever you do, don't look down. (Cue person immediately looking down.)
  • Oh, by the way, we snuck into your house last night and wrote the word "gullible" on the ceiling above your computer. And if you didn't fall for that, it's probably for the best. At least this way you won't see the blood.
  • One of a series of facts states that it is impossible to lick your elbow. At the end it asks you if you tried.
  • On YouTube, pressing the number keys on a keyboard while watching a video will cause it to skip ahead to a certain part of the video, something comments will point out to highlight a funny portion. Press 1 to see the funny laugh. Press 3 to hear "Okay, this is pretty great..." Press 10 to see an idiot.
  • There are many joke signs for the complaint department in stores.
    • There is a sign that says "Complaint Department, push button for service", which is a button on a mouse trap.
    • Another example says "Complaint Department, please take a number", where the number is on a grenade pin.


Literature Edit

  • Robert Evans gives a Real Life example in his autobiography The Kid Stays in the Picture in which he was offered pharmaceutical grade cocaine during the early 1980's, which he described was "mythical" at the time. He even labels it schmuck bait, and castigates himself, "How could I be so fucking stupid?!"

 Robert Evans: A woman we knew was offering to sell us pharmaceutical cocaine at bargain prices. Pharmaceutical cocaine was mythical manufactured by only one company in America, Merck. So mythical was its allure, that it became the DEA's most effective bait to entrap schmuck buyers.

  • In CS Lewis' The Magicians Nephew, kid protagonists Digory and Polly explore the ruined world of Charn and find a bell inscribed "Make your choice, adventurous Stranger; Strike the bell and bide the danger, or wonder, till it drives you mad, what would have followed if you had." Digory then proceeds to waltz right up to it and hit the damn thing, despite the fact that Polly is physically trying to stop him. Cue the Big Bad getting uncanned.
  • Used or referenced excessively in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Pretty much anything in Discworld that is labeled "Do Not Touch" will be meddled with.
    • In the very first book, Rincewind gets stuck with the Eighth Spell of Creation because he went and opened the Octavo on a dare, when every student was perfectly aware that it was not to be touched.
    • The wizards of the Unseen University are basically the people who put the Schmuck in Schmuck Bait. As a footnote explains: Any true wizard, faced with a sign like "Do not open this door. Really. We mean it. We're not kidding. Opening this door will mean the end of the universe," would automatically open the door in order to see what all the fuss was about.
    • In Hogfather, Archchancellor Ridcully discovers a hidden door, which his predecessor had had sealed off, leaving a sign saying, "Do not, under any circumstances, open this door." So, naturally, Ridcully has it unsealed. One of his subordinates asks if he'd seen the sign, and Ridcully says, "Of course I've read it. Why d'yer think I want it opened?"
    • Perhaps not coincidentally, in the novel Thief of Time, Lu-Tze reasons that he should go to Ankh-Morpork, a veritable city of schmucks, because "the day someone pulls the plug out of the bottom of the universe, the chain will lead all the way to Ankh-Morpork and some bugger saying 'I just wanted to see what would happen.'" Guess what city the Unseen University is in?
    • Also in Thief of Time, a narrated line points out, "If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying 'End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH,' the paint wouldn't even have time to dry."
    • In The Last Continent, the wizards discover a window that has been turned into a portal to a desert island. The Archchancellor props it open and attaches a warning that 'showed some thought has gone into the wording: "Do not remove this wood. Not even to see what it does. IMPORTANT!"' It half-works, as somebody later removes it... accidentally.
    • In Soul Music, the Librarian picks up on the beat that is infecting the world, and literally pulls out all the stops on the University's mighty organ, including the ones "with faded labels warning in several languages that they were on no account to be touched, ever, in any circumstances" before he begins to play. This is mostly to illustrate the magnitude of the music, since nothing extraordinarily bad actually happens when he plays. There's the wall of noise and the explosion afterwards, but that's pretty much par for the course when it comes to musical instruments designed by Bloody Stupid Johnson. Considering it was a Johnson, they were lucky it didn't blow up when you stepped on the pedals.
    • There's also the circle of stones up on the moor in Lancre, mentioned in Lords and Ladies. They're there partly to keep the elves out, and partly "in the hope that enough daft buggers would take it as a warning, and stay away." Guess what happens. Subverted in that the circles are described as safe and stable (except for the very rare times when the universe barriers are weak) and thus the villagers of Lancre specifically don't forbid the children to hang around the circles, simply because they know that this way, the kids will quickly lose interest.
    • Also in Lords and Ladies, when Magrat surrenders to the Elves, she hands one a box telling him not to open it. He does, and answers the Discworld version of Schrodinger's cat (the states of the cat can be dead, alive, or alive and bloody furious) as "Greebo went off like a Claymore mine".
    • In The Last Hero, it's revealed that mysterious treasure maps, and accompanying tales of how perilous the treasures' locations are, were placed in the paths of gullible heroes by the gods, who consider Schmuck Baiting a spectator sport.
    • In Carpe Jugulum the vampire Count de Magpyre and his ancestral home, Dontgonearthe Castle. People came from all over the country to see what the fuss was about, eventually necessitating the installation of road signs along the lines of "Last chance not to go near the castle, 100 metres on your left" and directions on how not to go near the carriage park. At the end of the book the count is having a gift shop installed. This is something of a Lampshading/Subversion as it's part of an unspoken agreement between Vampires and Humans: As long as heroes continue to be schmucks (and vice-versa), Vampires will continue to stock their castles with convenient crosses, bundles of garlic, easily-pulled-aside curtains and breakable wooden furniture -- as opposed to enslaving humanity, while villagers will continue to pretend to believe that the old vampire that they killed a century ago couldn't possibly have returned, for at least another century or so, before killing him for another century or so.
    • In Making Money, the chef is allergic to the word garlic. People often find themselves with an inexplicable urge to say it, which can actually be dangerous for anyone standing directly in front of him while he's holding something.
    • Going Postal has Vetinari offer a nice cushy job to two former criminals as an alternative to execution. He tells them that if they like they can simply walk out the door and never hear from him again. The room beyond the door has no floor. Moist von Lipwig is Genre Savvy enough to check first, but Reacher Gilt is not.
      • Subverted in Making Money, where Moist expects the missing floor and is surprised when it is now a normal room.
  • In The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy, Arthur Dent spots a big red button next to a sign that temptingly reads, "Please Do Not Press This Button". He presses the button, of course, only to have a warning message appear that says, "Please Do Not Press This Button Again".
  • There's a failed attempt at Schmuck Bait in The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea. Some mooks charged with capturing the protagonist set up some road signs: "This road is the winner of the Safest Road in Ireland competition. This road is so safe that a boy can cycle down it with his eyes shut." The boy keeps his eyes open and easily avoids the feeble roadblock set up to trip him. Obviously the mooks didn't grasp the fundamental principle of Schmuck Bait -- they should have told him not to shut his eyes.
  • Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space series is loaded with schmuck bait, most of it left behind by the Inhibitors. There are unusual alien artifacts designed to get attention of intelligent space-faring life forms and contain difficult puzzles as locks. If you're smart enough to open it, it signals the Inhibitors to wake up and come exterminate your race for being too intelligent. The artifact found around the neutron star in the book Revelation Space is transformed into Schmuck Bait by a later culture, the Amarantin's (genuine) attempts to disguise it, keep others away and warn them.
  • The Dark Tower: Whatever you do, Allie, don't tell Norm "nineteen". Given that it's a Stephen King book, it's played for suspense and Nightmare Fuel. Norm, incidentally, is a man who was bought back to life, and after Allie tells him "nineteen", whatever he tells her is so horrifying she begs the lead to put a bullet between her eyes.
  • One book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles mentions a well full of Water of Healing, which has hanging nearby two dippers: an ordinary one, and a golden, jewel-encrusted one that turns to stone anyone who touches it. One of the characters in the book is a prince who was Genre Savvy enough to know not to use the gold dipper, but still picked it up to take a look at it (after all, it's not every day you see a golden, jewel-encrusted dipper); when he started turning to stone, he thought quickly and dipped his arm into the water, making him a living statue.
  • H.P. Lovecraft

 In hinting at what the whole revealed, I can only hope that my account will not arouse a curiosity greater than sane caution on the part of those who believe me at all. It would be tragic if any were to be allured to that realm of death and horror by the very warning meant to discourage them.

    • In an earlier story, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, the Big Bad Joseph Curwen receives a letter from an associate giving him this little gem of advice: "I say to you againe, doe not call up Any that you can not put downe; by the Which I meane, Any that can in Turne call up Somewhat against you, whereby your Powerfullest Devices may not be of use. Ask of the Lesser, lest the Greater shal not wish to Answer, and shal commande more than you.". Guess what he tries to do later on.
  • Briar Patching (as introduced by Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus stories) is a particularly active form of Schmuck Bait.
  • Arguable, but the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer has a page in it that has a large blanks space labeled, "Do not deface. ON PAIN OF DEATH!" Nearly every owner of the Primer has scribbled something in that space.
  • In Robert W Chambers' short story collection The King in Yellow, almost anyone who reads the eponymous fictional play has had to intentionally seek it out and is therefore well aware of the fact that anyone who had already read it was quickly driven insane. So why do they still read it?
  • The opening of House of Leaves specifically tells the reader not to read the book.
  • In Belgariad, the nomadic Algars have one massive self-sustaining fortress for the sole purpose of acting as bait for invading armies. Being nomads, they never actually are there, but over the centuries nobody's caught on. They do visit the place, they just don't stay there long. They temporarily (did we mention nomadic?) set up housekeeping around it while Gareth and company are visiting, mainly for the purpose of, essentially, doing minor repairs and light weeding so that it doesn't start to look too abandoned.
  • Invoked in epically Genre Savvy fashion in Romance of the Three Kingdoms (and possibly Real Life): Zhuge Liang does not have nearly enough men to defend the city he's in from his rival Sima Yi's massive advancing army. So he orders all the doors to be opened, all the soldiers to hide, and sits on the top of the wall playing the zither. Sima Yi takes one look at this setup, declares it to be Schmuck Bait, and immediately retreats.
  • Harry Potter: The Headmaster of Hogwarts would like to remind you that the corridor on the third floor is off-limits to absolutely everyone. As well as the Forbidden Forest.
  • Arabian Nights contain the story of The Man who Never Laughed During the Rest of His Days. Basically, a young man is charged with taking care of his rich but gloomy uncle and his friends, who spends all their time grieving over some terrible fate that has befallen them. The uncle tells his nephew that he will inherit all his riches as long as he never asks the grieving men about the reason behind their sorrow. On his uncle's deathbed, the young man's curiosity makes him break his promise and ask anyway. The uncle then tells him that if he wants to avoid a terrible fate, he mustn't ever open one of the doors in the building. After the uncle dies, the young man inherit the house and is happy until his curiosity gets the better of him. He opens the forbidden door and finds himself in an earthly paradise ruled by beautiful women were he is immediately married away with the queen, who lets him rule by her side. But she also tells him that he must never open one of the palace doors. The young man spends seven happy years with his queen, but eventually cannot stop himself looking behind the forbidden door. He finds himself back in his home and unable to return to the queen and the paradise kingdom. He thus, just like his uncle and the other grievers, end up as the titular man who never laughed during the rest of his days.
  • Littlefinger of A Song of Ice and Fire is Schmuck Bait personified, as no matter how many times he informs other characters of being a liar, they still trust him.


Live-Action TV Edit

  • One Thousand Ways to Die has several examples (for obvious reasons), one of which involves a deadbeat dad that picked up a jet fighter pilot seat for his new bachelor pad. There was a lever on it. He got curious, and discovered the hard way the ejector system was still live when it launched him through his ceiling, shattering his skull.
  • The Daily Show
    • After a "Manamana" Muppets bit...

 Jon Stewart: By the way, if you google "muppets" and "scat", that may not be what you get. Go ahead, I'll wait.... Freaky pictures.

People actually did it. Even the correct link is Schmuck Bait.
    • A more recent one (from him) would be to google "santorum", because of discussing a lesser-known GOP candidate Rick Santorum. The kicker? The guest for that night, Keira Knightley actually googled it and felt that her innocence was taken away from her.
  • The term "Schmuck Bait-y" was used in the Mutant Enemy bullpen and by Joss Whedon in DVD commentaries to describe settings that were dark and gloomy and seemed dangerous. Handy term for places they were bound to send characters.
  • Lost's island is covered in Schmuck Bait. In the early days of the series, the characters were constantly traipsing into the jungle even though they knew the "monster" was out there. In the episode "Walkabout", Jack and Sawyer go into the plane's fuselage to investigate growling. David Fury, late of Mutant Enemy, referred to this as "Schmuck Bait" on the DVD commentary.
  • Dougal on Father Ted has had problems at least twice with do-not-push buttons, once (evidently) on a SeaLink ferry, and then in the cockpit of an airplane.
  • The Middleman warns Wendy there are three things she should never, ever bring up in conversation with Sensei Ping. The minute said sensei pisses her off...
  • In the opening episode of episode of Heroes season three, Hiro receives a posthumous message from his father saying that he must not open the safe in the office. Any one who has watched Hiro for five minutes knows this was idiocy on his father's part. And it was... the fact that one of the things in the safe was another message saying "I told you not to open the safe!", while funny, makes it clear that his father actually intended to make him open the safe.
  • Derren Brown Trick of the Mind had an episode all about this trope. He argued that signs telling us not to do something will only encourage us to do it. In the program, he came to a class and told some young children, two at a time in the room, to not press the button on the box. They do, and some stuff flies out from it. He also paints a sign on a wall telling people not to look through the hole. They do, and Derren's there to look right back at them. The programme's climax is him telling a woman to not press a button otherwise it will kill the cat inside of the tank. She presses it, however the cat wasn't killed, the button just turned the lights off if anything (so there's no need to call the RSPCA, OK).
  • Doctor Who
    • At the start of the second Doctor episode "The Mind Robber", the Doctor tells both Jamie and Zoey they must stay inside the TARDIS. Guess what Jamie does the instant the Doctor is out of the control room?
    • The Impossible Planet. Don't turn around. Of course he probably was doomed anyway.
    • Also the episode "Blink". Don't look away, don't run, and whatever you do, don't blink. Guess what that statement encourages you to do. And when you do do it, you'll end up decades in the past.
    • And "The Christmas Invasion":

 The Doctor: And how am I going to react when I see this: A great big threatening button. A great big threatening button which must not be pressed under any circumstance. Which leaves us with a great big stinking problem, cause I really don't know who I am and I don't know where to stop. So when I see a great big threatening button which should never ever ever be pressed, then I just want to do this! (presses it)

      • Subverted in that the Sycorax claimed that pressing the button would kill everyone they had under mind control, when in fact it released them. The Doctor was calling their bluff.
    • From "The Time of Angels": "Come and see this!"
    • In "Amy's Choice", Rory falls for some verbal schmuck bait offered by the Dream Lord:

 Dream Lord: If you die in the dream, you wake up in reality. Healthy recovery in next to no time. Ask me what happens if you die in reality.

Rory: What happens if you die in reality?

Dream Lord: You die, stupid. That's why it's called reality.

    • "The Pandorica Opens". The Doctor seeks out a device that is an advanced prison designed to contain the universe's most powerful and intelligent being, a being feared by the Daleks, Cyberman, Judoon, Silurians, and countless other hostile alien races he's fought against. Its a prison for the Doctor.
    • In "The Five Doctors", it turns out that Rassilon, ancient founder of the Time Lords, knew a thing or two about Schmuck Bait. He'd spread stories about a potential path to immortality as a trap for the overly-ambitious. The fact that acquiring it required a visit to Gallifrey's Death Zone should've been a hint it was this trope, yet even the Master almost stepped right into it.
    • In Frontios, the Doctor lures the Gravis onto the TARDIS, and to reconstitute it, using this.
    • Let's face it, the entire Universe is Schmuck Bait when it comes to the Doctor.
  • Inversion in Candid Camera, when they put a bowl in a public place full of money with a sign that said "FREE MONEY". Nobody touched it, assuming it was Schmuck Bait.
  • Another candid camera (though not that exact show) example: people were made to wait in a room alone for whatever reason, and in that room was a lifesized cardboard cut-out of an extremely attractive member of the opposite sex, with a sticker over their genitals. When people were waiting alone, they would look at it but never touch it, but when two people were waiting, one would invariably dare the other to lift the sticker. As soon as the sticker came off, a loud alarm would sound and the people would desperately try to put it back, which did nothing. Oh, and the cutouts' junk was still obscured.
  • The Twilight Zone
    • 1980's version, episode "Button, Button". A couple is given a box with a button on it. They're warned that if they push the button they'll receive $200,000, and a person they don't know will die. They finally push the button and receive the money. Then they're told that the box will be re-programmed and given to someone they don't know.
    • In the original version of the story, the wife pushes the button and the husband dies, causing the insurance money to pay the promised sum. When she complains to the button-giver, he responds, "Did you really think you knew your husband?"
    • The same premise is the plot behind the movie The Box; the reward has been increased to $1,000,000. Inflation.
  • On the old Nickelodeon show Salute Your Shorts, the main counselor Dr. Kahn's niece Ellen, a Bratty Half-Pint that bordered on Enfant Terrible, visited and caused problems for all the campers. They eventually figured out that she liked seeing them upset so they ignore her but tell her she will be punished if she pushes a button. It turns out the button activated a Rube Goldberg Device designed to give her a Humiliation Conga complete with Produce Pelting and a Bucket Booby Trap leaving the nasty little girl Covered in Gunge.
  • Iron Chef and Iron Chef America both have the Ice Cream Machines. The Iron Chefs seemingly can't resist trying to make ice cream or other frozen dishes out of ingredients like trout and cod roe (I.C. French Hiriyuki Sakai seems particularly vulnerable to the machine's siren song). Nine times out of ten, this earns them scolding from the judging panel (if not outright Squick). Note that Fish and Fish Roe ice cream is actually quite the treat in some parts of the world. The scolding is because the machines break half the time.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "The Inquisitor", Lister pretends to think he's outsmarted the titular time-erasing simulant, and gives him his time gauntlet back. The Inquisitor falls for it, and ends up deleting himself from the entire space-time continuum.
  • In the Psych episode Mr. Yin Presents... a note next to a tap says "Draft us a couple cold ones and let's make a toast to you falling head over heels for me." Guess what happens when someone follows instructions left by a serial killer. Justified in this case, as Yin and Yang liked to set up elaborate "games" where the detectives had to solve puzzles and follow instructions left in riddles in order to find and rescue the victims before they were killed. This forced them to choose between taking the schmuck bait and leaving the victims to die.
  • The Supernatural episode "The End" has Future!Dean trying to shoot Lucifer with the Colt. In the DVD commentary, the writers and producers describe this as a meta example of "schmuck bait", taking great pleasure at the outraged fans complaining about how stupid it would be to shoot the devil in the face.
  • The Outer Limits episode "The Heist". Soldiers raid a secret government armory, but the guard they capture begs them not to open a box. Of course they open it, and unleash an alien that kills them all and continues to the outside world.
  • Pawn Stars
    • In one episode, someone attempts to sell an old fighter plane ejection seat they had sitting in their living room for years. Frighteningly, it was still functional -- in all that time, no-one had ever pressed the "eject" button, which would have slammed them into the ceiling at a hundred miles an hour.
    • Another episode has someone selling an old rifle. When the owner cycles the bolt, a live shell falls out.
  • In Star Trek the Original Series, episode "Wink of an Eye", Kirk is told by the Alien of the Week not to touch a certain device. He touches it, and gets shocked. So what does he do? Puts both hands on it and keeps getting shocked. In justice to Kirk the device in question is putting his crew into deep freeze to be preserved as potential breeding stock for the Alien. Naturally he's willing to endure some pain if he can only switch it off.
  • QI runs on this trope, since it is primarily about debunking commonly held beliefs. Panellists will be greeted with a siren and point deduction if they give the generally-known, obvious and WRONG answer to a question. Most panellists have become Genre Savvy enough to expect this and avoid obvious answers, unless it would be funny. Alan Davis is the preferred target for Schmuck Bait, receiving a siren for incorrectly answering a "How do you do?" with "Fine, thanks." and once for simply pressing his buzzer when prompted.
  • In an episode of The Pretender, Miss Parker and Mr. Lyle are investigating one of Jarod's "lairs" (a shipping container) when they see a Big Red Button with a sign saying "DANGER - DO NOT PUSH" in Jarod's handwriting. Parker tells Lyle not to push it, saying it's probably a trap. Lyle, of course, pushes it...and of course, it IS a trap.
  • One Season 3 episode of Babylon 5 features a form of Schmuck Bait trap. An automated alien ship happens upon the station and offers advanced technology for those who can solve a set of complex high-tech questions within 24 hours. Otherwise, it'll explode and take out the station. Even while frantic communiques are sent throughout the Earth Alliance for the answers, Captain Sheridan begins to suspect the ship for what it really was: a trap meant to take out civilizations too advanced for someone's good. Turns out he's right, and he prevents all the answers being transmitted until it's in the middle of flying away and well out of blast range.
  • At least one ingredient in Round One of every episode of Cupcake Wars is obvious Schmuck Bait. For example, the oysters, or the olives.
  • Community
    • After being told under no circumstance should they enter the space simulator by the Dean, it takes about five seconds after he left for Abed and Troy to find their way in.
    • From episode "Home Economics", Britta warns Pierce to not talk to Vaughn. Gets predictable results.
  • The entire premise behind Bait Car, which illustrates amusing examples of would-be car thieves. (See Real Life entry for more details.)

 Thief: Hope this isn't one of those "Bait Cars"... (drives away, followed by police)

  • A stunt on the 90s Nick show What Would You Do Nickelodeon? had kids alone in a room with a box that has a sign saying "Adults Only". It's actually a black-eye telescope.
  • "Schmuck bait" is a term that appears quite regularly in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel scripts.
    • In the Angel episode "Why We Fight", Spike mentions to Angel that he, Nostroyev, and the Prince of Lies were apparently captured by the Nazis when they attended a "free virgin blood party".
  • An episode of Sliders features an Earth who treats trial-by-jury as a game show. One of their methods of finding new "contestants?" Leave a money-filled wallet on the street and arrest whoever picks it up.
  • A segment of Police Videos shows an operation where fake flyers were mailed to suspects saying they won a free cruise if they came to the location on the flyer. The place looked like a party room for all the prize winners but when they tried to leave they would arrest them.
  • The Sweet Genius pantry contains a few prepared ingredients, such as pastry dough. Using any of them is likely to earn you a scolding for taking the easy path rather than making the pastry yourself.


Music Edit

  • Duncan Shiek's "Barely Breathing" is about a guy who has fallen for a woman whom he knows... he knows... will end up being bad news and likely breaking his heart and ruining his life. He knows he'll get hurt if he stays with her, but he's "thinking it over anyway." Schmuck Bait on a cracker.
  • The Airborne Toxic Event's "Sometime After Midnight" ends with the lines "You just have to see her/You just have to see her/You just have to see her/You know that she'll break you in two", which is definitely close to schmuck bait.
  • The "dance remix" of Perfume's Polyrhythm leaves in the song's bridge.


Myths & Religion Edit

  • "Do not under any circumstances bring this horse into your city, because then us Greeks will never ever be able to conquer Troy." To be fair, the Only Sane Man who tried to warn them got messily killed by Poseidon. To be even fairer, he had already ticked off Poseidon, who just happened to choose that as the appropriate time to inflict his punishment. Incidentally, this is the origin of the phrase "Never trust Greeks bearing gifts."
  • The Odyssey. "Hey, we're a bunch of incredibly hungry sailors on an island inhabited by the juicy-looking cattle of the sun god! What's that, Odysseus? We can't eat them? C'mon, what could happen, it's not like we can piss off the gods even further..." They basically decided that whatever the gods were going to do would be better than starving to death while stuck on that island. (And they might not have been particularly wrong -- drowning may or may not be a particularly nice way to die, but it's better than starving.)
  • The tale of Pandora's box. All she had to do was not open the box, and everyone would be happy. But no, she just had to see what was inside. So she opens it. Some variants of the myth support this, while others support the concept that Pandora herself was the bait. The rather misogynistic writings of Hesiod claim that Pandora was created as a punishment for man, so that all her descendants, e.g., women, would torment humanity. All men had to do was not accept her as a gift and they would be free of the associated evils, but they ignored all the warnings about accepting gifts from the Olympians.
  • There's also the story of Orpheus, who went to the underworld to retrieve his dead wife, but was warned not to look back at her before he got back to the world of the living. He looked back. She died again. To be fair to Orpheus, he did wait; he just didn't wait long enough. He was out of the underworld; she was not. Not completely, anyway.
    To be more fair, Hades made her follow him in complete silence. As far as he was concerned, Hades could've been a complete douche who was leading him on and making a complete fool of him. Think about it: the person who kidnapped your wife suddenly says, "Alright, she'll come with you, but you have to walk all the way back out of here and never look back. Don't worry, she's there, she's following you... You can't hear her, but it's alright, she is. Trust me." Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.
    And to be fair to Hades, he did like Orpheus and had a soft spot for tales of love lost, due to being alone for most of his existence before Persephone became his wife. He repeatedly warned Orpheus not to look back, being very insistent about it, and he's the only Olympian who seemed like he genuinely rooted for a mortal to win a challenge issued by them. Besides, there are rules to follow -- if Hades just let anyone who asks cart off their dead loved ones, his place would become empty real quick. He had to make it tough so that only the most iron-willed, determined people could succeed.
  • God put a tree in a garden and (paraphrase) said, "Don't eat this fruit. It will kill you." That's right God invented Schmuck Bait. Alternatively, Adam and Eve invented Schmuckitude. Alternatively alternatively it was both.
  • Also, Lot's wife in The Bible. Salt, anyone?
  • To get back at Cuchulainn for knocking her up and then marrying Emer instead, Aoife sent her son out into the world with two conditions: Challenge every warrior he meets, and never ever ever reveal his name. Naturally, when Cuchulainn gets challenged by some kid, cue the Curb-Stomp Battle. Then Cuchulainn notices a really familiar-looking ring...
  • Bluebeard's wives invariably fell victim to this trope.
  • Psyche nearly averted this. When her husband Cupid told her never to look upon his true form, she was perfectly fine with it until her sisters convinced her that he might be a hideous monster (despite that she had previously felt his body and had plenty chance to feel his face). At least she only had to deal with a Mama Bear that was already mad at her instead of the Deader Than Dead fate that usually befalls those who look upon undisguised gods. And then, when she was sent to bring back the beauty of Persephone in a box, she peeked. (Lucky he had decided to reconcile and came to save her.)


New Media Edit

  • Links to wiki sites. This one included.
  • Neopets has the Lever of Doom. The text reads "There's a strange lever sticking out of the space station wall, with a notice that reads, 'DO NOT PULL'. So you probably shouldn't pull the lever. You can if you want. But you shouldn't." The link reads "Pull the lever anyway". When you inevitably do? "Oh no!! An evil mechanical hand emerges from a panel and steals 100 Neopoints from you!!" The worst part is that it's Schmuck Bait with a purpose -- there's a teeny-weeny chance that you'll be granted an exclusive avatar when you push the button. Users have been known to blow 80,000 Neopoints -- 800 pulls -- or more getting it, the lever laughing at them the whole time.
  • Any site that has a link featured on Webpages That Suck. The name says it all.
  • The UK Cartoon Network website had a large red button featured in the top banner that said "DO NOT PRESS". It was also introduced in the site's homepage intro "Just don't push the big red button". Cue an arrow pointing to it.
  • The website for My Parents Are Aliens also had a button in its side menu which when you rolled over it highlighted in red and a voice said "Do not press" (and was labeled accordingly). The question is, what did happen if you pressed it?
  • One of the random boxes in Warehouse 23 contains a laptop that, when picked up, types the message "Do you want to continue? Y/N" Choosing "yes" just makes the screen go black until you futz with it again. Choosing "no" results in... your heart stopping. Well, you did say you didn't want to continue...
  • For one day Twitter was cannibalized by a "Don't Click" hack that, upon clicking a button, sent a Tweet to your followers with the link to the button and a "Don't Click" warning. (Read all about it.)
  • From Uncyclopedia: Do NOT click any links!
  • This YouTube link is a not Rick Roll. The bait here being that you avoid the link because you're told it's not a rick roll...
  • This YouTube video could qualify as schmuck bait.
  • Shock Sites in general.
  • Those who believe in the Magical Computer are prone to this kind of error: Do not run this script, ever! Shorter semi-example: The Forbidden Parameter.
    • "Do not edit this Configuration file by Hand!" or for Warcraft3-Savefiles something akin of "Hackers, do not play around with this file."
  • Encyclopedia Dramatica, THE most offensive encyclopedia on the web, has a page to apologize to anyone that is offended by its material. You would have to be an idiot beyond all measure to actually look at that page. For all the people holding that ball out there, type the word "offended" into the search bar at the Encyclopedia Dramatica website. But, be warned, definitely NSFW (gore as well as sexual)!
    • Also, that same page has a "GET ME OUT OF HERE!!" link on it. Beware. It is more Schmuck Bait, and will only lead to java windows spamming you with NSFW (homosexual sex and gore, plus screaming "I'm looking at gay porn" out of your speakers. Not that homosexual porn is particularly worse, but the 128+ java windows of it, rape, and gore is)
    • The "Kittens" page is much worse. Why? Because the entire Pain Series is the background, and it locks you on the page for ten seconds.
  • A practical joke that had a switch conveniently labeled "Magic/More Magic" would "magically" crash the computer it was attached to if it was switched from "More Magic" to "Magic". It wasn't supposed to do anything-- the switch was completely inoperative. And yet, every time it was set to "Magic"... Maybe it won't crash the computer this time.
  • The Xkcd games forum had a thread titled "Post here and be banned". Everyone who posted in the thread (except the founder) was banned. After a point, anyone who posted was permanently banned.
  • 4chan's "/b/" imageboard had a similar thread, with the site's founder and admin, Moot, taunting the /b/-tards to post in the thread and be banned. They were. Amusingly enough, Moot himself posted in the thread to laugh at the shmucks who had taken the shmuck bait... Only to be banned himself.
  • The Facepunch forums have Idot Culls semi-regularly, which often consist of an admin or moderator creating a thread with an OP something along the lines of "do not post in here or you will be banned" or some other very specific instructions with a clear threat. Of course, if you do post in it you get permabanned but that doesn't stop idiots from doing it anyway, hence the name "idiot cull".
  • The TV Tropes Wiki has its share of Schmuck Bait:
  • Pixie MUD had "This is the Line of Death. You cross it, you die." Yes, players crossed it. Yes, they died. And just to rub it in, the MUD promptly announced it to all online players.
  • Would anyone like to guess what going to "about:inducebrowsercrashforrealz" does in Google Chrome? Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • Any forum thread titled "CONVINCE ME GOD EXISTS AND I WILL BELIEVE!" is Schmuck Bait for extremists on either side of religious debates to bicker endlessly and come off sounding like idiots.
  • On the Something Awful forums, anyone who posts a thread is explicitly warned not to use one of the three "Mod-only" tags. Anyone who chooses to ignore this is automatically banned, and the reason for said banning is "Breaking the rules with a *adjective* thread!" To further drive the point home, one of the mod-only tags says "Ban Me"--and yet people still do this. (For extra schmuckiness, it needs to be noted that it costs $10 to register on the forums, and a regular ban or autoban enables you to re-register... but you have to pay another $10 to do so, plus any custom titles, platinum status, etc., that your pre-banned account might have had if you see fit to do so.) As of this writing, there have been about 17,800 total bans in the last six years or so (normal bans, autobans and permabans); 3554 of those bans have been autobans.
  • It's rather common on auction sites for someone to put up the box of the console (Xbox or PlayStation 3) for auction-just the box, nothing else inside it (such as, say, the game console). They'll even clearly state in the writeup that there's no Xbox inside, but every time a herd of bozos will invariably bid on it, then the winner gets all angry afterwards once the realize what they actually bid on.
    • Most often, however, the fact that it's only a box, while stated plainly, is buried in a wall of text. But in any case, if a complaint is filed then most auction sites will side with the buyer because such listings are clearly intended to deceive prospective bidders.
    • Similarly, some textbooks come with a smaller book that's an answer key or study guide. This study guide has the same ISBN and edition number as the textbook, so students buying used textbooks online should be careful.
    • This is done with Tarot decks and similar "box of items with book" sets. The book has the same UPC code on it as the kit, so it's not their fault you didn't specify. Sure.
    • And a book's first paperback edition is still technically a first edition.
  • Anything that says "Do not look up Goatse" or "Do not look up 2 Girls 1 Cup"!
    • Don't go to lemonparty.org, either.
  • Recently, 4chan blocked the random board to outsiders by making the page a completely black screen offering the advice "Press Alt+F4 or Ctrl+W to view board." As any well-versed computer user would know, Alt+F4 and Ctrl+W are "close window" and "close tab", respectively.
  • Reading the comments on the game "Flight" on Kongregate, about half of them are warning against throwing the plane backwards. The other half, naturally, are people commenting about what happened when they do.
  • That Other Wiki has made it official policy not to delete the front page. The incident that is why they have this policy is a prime example.


Pro Wrestling Edit

  • Every single time The Rock asks somebody a question, he cuts them off before they can give him an answer.

 The Rock: How dare you little jabroni come on The Rock's show and not even have the class to introduce yourself? What is your name?

Chris Jericho: I told you--

The Rock: IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS!

    • "It doesn't matter" is something of a Catch Phrase for The Rock, to go along with his many, many others.


Puppet Shows Edit

  • In a scene from Spitting Image, a retarded Ronald Reagan (the President's brain is missing) has two identical buttons right next to his bed. One reads "Nurse", the other one reads "Nuke". Guess which one he hits when his brain goes missing.


Tabletop Games Edit

  • Name something "Forbidden X" or mark something off-limits in any RP session, and schmucks will flock to it like Santa Claus was inside handing out presents.
  • Dungeons and Dragons
    • Nearly every encounter in Gary Gygax's adventure Tomb of Horrors.
    • Keep on the Shadowfell has a door marked "Do Not Enter. SERIOUSLY." That's where the slime is. The slime that can kill an entire party by itself.
    • The tragic tale of the Head of Vecna.
    • Deck of Many Things? Sure, there are some extremely good magic cards in there, but how many gamers can resist drawing again? They will almost always end up regretting it.
  • Any Call of Cthulhu game is inevitably Schmuck Bait for anyone with passing knowledge of Lovecraft's work. Why read the fabled book of dark magic? Why go into that creepy cave? Because otherwise the game would be over. Specifically Horror on the Orient Express takes this to ridiculous levels. A suspiciously well-informed quest-giver tells you that you must save the world by collecting the six parts of an ancient doomsday artifact, all located conveniently on the path of the Orient Express. Inevitably, the Genre Savvy players ask themselves why they're re-constructing a statue that can destroy the world when the individual parts are dangerous but not cataclysmic. When you finally reach the end of the line after fighting cults, vampires, and fascists and suffering character deaths, permanent insanity, and increasing stat penalties as you collect the parts, it turns out, of course that the quest-giver was the Big Bad all along, and just wanted some Unwitting Pawns to collect the parts for him. Then again, the alternative to taking the Schmuck Bait is to just not take the job, in which case you sit around and stare at each other until the Keeper can come up with a new adventure.
  • Paranoia
    • The Computer strongly advises Troubleshooters not to press any buttons labeled "Do Not Press". During the course of this mission, you may encounter buttons incorrectly labeled "Do Not Press" by traitors. Troubleshooters are advised to press these buttons. The Computer is your friend. Trust The Computer.
    • In one of the depreciated computer crash campaigns, it's described that the computer was infected with some ancient evil. After the players manage to trap it, it is stored in a box labelled "Do Not Open". The schmucks in Alpha Complex open it, and unleash the ancient evil (again).
    • In another official adventure, one of the Troubleshooters' secondary assignments is to test an experimental "Traitor Killer". When you pull the trigger, it explodes. This is intentional; the assumption is that the traitor on the team will volunteer to test it so that it won't be used against him.


Urban Legends Edit

  • A lot of myths claimed that gel or rubber bracelets for teens are a sexual signal and the guy who can break one from a girl would get her compelled to have sex with him. Other myths claim if the guy can take the pull tab intact from a girl's can of beer or soft drink she will kiss him, and if he can remove the lid from the can she will have sex with him. Cue the poor guy try to break with bare hands the rubber which is designed specifically to not break easily... or remove with bare fingers the lid from an aluminium beer can[1].


Video Games Edit

  • Dragon Age: Origins
    • A great example during the "Nature of the Beast" plotline. There is a treasure chest near the Keeper of the elven village. Touch it once and you get a mild warning. Touch it again and the Keeper's apprentice now hates your guts.
    • There are 9 Revenants scattered around the game that will appear if you touch the wrong item and can easily mudstomp an unprepared player. The game does give ominous clues that the items (black vials or gravestones) shouldn't be touched.
    • But the best one is the gong. On the Xbox version of the game, there is an unmarked gong on a mountaintop with no clue offered as to its function. Ring it and it summons the Bonus Boss. You can access this gong almost straight out of the tutorial area.
  • Modern Warfare 2
    • Played straight in the Museum "credits" level. After browsing the lifelike dioramas re-enacting scenes from the game, the player will invariably notice a large button, to which the onscreen prompt responds "Do Not Press X". Pressing X results in all the figures coming to life and bloodily ending the unprepared player. If you're prepared, though, it's not all that hard to survive as long as you get out of the room fast enough.
    • Also in the Call of Duty Black Ops multiplayer mode some players will use care package crates as Schmuck Bait, throwing them out in the open and waiting for an unsuspecting enemy to wander over and attempt to steal the crate. Doing so leaves the "Schmuck" standing still in a helpless state for several seconds, enough time for the other player to score an easy head shot or tomahawk kill.
    • Ironically the reverse can also happen to the owner of the care package. If a person with the Hacker Pro perk kills the owner before he/she can get the package the hacker can booby trap the crate and leave an unpleasant surprise waiting for their victim or any of their victim's teammates that happen upon the trap. Let the multi-kills ensue.
    • Modern Warfare 3 now gives us the Airdrop Trap support killstreak, which is a booby-trapped care package crate intended for your enemies. Savvy players quickly learn to never go near one (especially if it's placed somewhere stupid like in the middle of the map), but with a little bit of acting and a tantalizing prize inside (such as an Osprey Gunner)...
  • Doom: See that big health kit on the middle of this large, perfectly circular and otherwise completely empty room? You are free to take it. If you are ready to fight huge waves of monsters that will appear the moment you pick it from camouflaged trap doors on the walls, that is.
  • Half-Life
    • Parodied in a mod, in which the player is led by several signs to a large button marked "Do Not Press". Leaving the room is impossible, of course, until the button is pressed. Played straight in the main Half-Life game. Early on, after the resonance cascade, you reach an elevator with a large warning sign next to it -- "In Case Of Fire Do Not Use Elevators" -- should you press the button, an elevator full of scientists will fall screaming to their doom. (The developer who thought this up said that it worked both as a game element and as a message to other developers -- "Enough with the damn button puzzles already.") The elevator still falls even if you don't press the button. Though most people probably do anyway.
    • Half-Life 2 and its expansions tend to leave small piles of ammo, health and power apparently in the open on the opposite end of seemingly empty rooms or vents, except when you go to get them the floor will collapse or something and leave you suddenly surrounded by headcrabs or somesuch. The first time you can probably be forgiven for falling for it, but afterwards not so much especially since you can grab the items safely from a distance with your gravity gun.
    • In time, you come to realize that the corpses you tend to find nearby are from the many people that sacrificed themselves setting those caches, and the things that killed them are likely expecting your arrival too.
  • Left 4 Dead
    • If you see the Witch and manage not to instantly interrupt her, and everyone else tells you not to shoot her... listen to them.
      • Particularly annoying is in L4D2, where you get an achievement for NOT startling any of the 10-20 Witches in the sugar mill of the Hard Rain campaign. It's not certain what is worst; the tension and difficulty of the actual task, the constant reminders about not shooting the Witches from the AI, or the AI taking the Schmuck Bait themselves and shooting a Witch that could easily have been avoided and forcing the rest of the group to save them.
    • The sequel has jukeboxes at some places, in which you can put on music for use when zombie killing. The problem is, said music also attracts zombie hordes. A variation of this exists in The Passing DLC in which there is a stereo at a wedding... Which causes the witch that always spawns there to get spooked and immediately attack the survivor that activated it, in addition to a horde being summoned.
    • The "Dead Air" campaign takes place in an airport. In one part of that airport is a metal detector that you can walk through in plain sight. Walking through it cause an alarm alerting a horde of Infected. It becomes a But Thou Must! in the sequel due to changes in the map that force you to walk through the detector anyway.
  • Many Sierra adventure games, particularly Space Quest.
  • Team Fortress 2 has the sprays, which can be used to lay traps for enemy players; apply a spray, hide nearby, and ambush them when they stop to look at it.
    • One griefer used images of scantily-clad ladies.
    • Clever Heavies can use their Sandviches as Schmuck Bait. Throw the Sandvich someplace where an enemy is likely to notice it, wait for the schmuck to take the bait, then pump 'em full of minigun lead. Works especially well with the Tomislav.
    • Not to mention Spies who can disguise themselves as high-priority targets from their own team (Such as Snipers or Medics) and make enemies follow them hoping to get an easy kill...only to go around a corner and back-stab them, or lure them into an ally Sentry Gun or Heavy.
  • The PS 1 game Blasto had buttons in the first few levels that had a big sign reading "DO NOT PRESS" over them. If you actually DO press them... you explode. Except for one particular button that instead reveals a secret pathway.
  • Commander Keen 2, subtitled "the Earth explodes", has an alien mothership orbiting Earth, with numerous death rays that will cause it to, you know, explode. Each of those comes with a convenient switch that allows the player to activate them. Oops.
  • There are numerous video games where, when reaching the final boss, said boss offers you to join him instead. Almost without exception, taking that choice either kills you outright or gives you a bad ending, or summons a horde of angry enemies. Examples: Streets of Rage, Ultima VII, and many others.
  • The very short Interactive Fiction game Pick Up the Phone Booth And Die is one of the purest examples of Schmuck Bait ever created. And yes, if you pick up the phone booth, you die. (There is a way to win, by the way.) There is also the frozen pole in the IF game So Far. For any Genre Savvy player, the invitation to lick the pole is Schmuck Bait. But the game triple-dog-dares you to lick it anyway....
  • In The Neverhood, the only way to die partway through the game and get the "Game Over" screen is to jump into a pit, which is clearly labelled with signs that say not to jump there...
  • After you are released from the Human Juicing Machines in Prey, you come to a switch beneath an observation window overlooking the same machine. Pushing the switch causes the machine to resume its juicing of the other captives, and it cannot be deactivated again. Way to go, Hero.
  • In the second Thief game you may come across a button labeled, "Do not push this button." Press it, and two angry giant spiders spawn directly behind you. You were expecting maybe a prize, genius? Actually a fairly reasonable trap to put someplace where you're expecting a thief. People who live there know better than to touch the button. An unauthorized visitor wouldn't be able to resist.
  • Myst
    • Say, what's this? Some old book? Hmm, what kind of language is -- holy crap! A tiny movie screen?! Is that an island? Looks a bit dusty, lemme see if I can wipe some off...
    • The finale fits this trope, if you fail to choose the green book -- or do choose the green book without its missing page.
    • Riven presents a couple of Zigzags on this trope. There are at least two major pieces of Schmuck Bait in the game, and both are inaccessible when you start. By the time you've unlocked them, you should have figured out what they do ... but in order to win, you must use them anyway.
  • The final Baldurs Gate game hands you a greater wish. If you are stupid enough to wish to grow strong, you get handed a ton of enemies guaranteed to wipe you off the face of Faerun. That said, it's quite a fun fight and reasonably winnable at a high enough level. Admittedly this is only because you know it's coming and can get ready to spam short overpowered spells like Dragon Breath.
  • In Planescape: Torment, one of the quests involves a box that The Nameless One is forced to deliver to several people because they don't want it, and they stated repeated to never open it, that is it not good to * know* what's in it. Classic Schmuck Bait. There are actually two ways to complete this quest: You can open the box yourself and fight a low-level demon, or you can find someone that will destroy the box, sending its contents to another dimension. Except that in the endgame, you travel to this dimension -- and the "Fiend from Moridor's Box" bulked up, becoming the strongest monster in the game! In fine D&D tradition, you get rewarded for the shmuckerie with some of the best loot in the game.
  • The first Ys game features a room in one dungeon in which a lone treasure chest is surrounded by several statues that look remarkably like enemies you encountered earlier. Guess what happens when you open the chest? Of course, you really DO need what's in the chest.
  • Knights of the Old Republic
    • You are tasked with delivering a box to a Hutt and warned not to open it, or something very bad will happen. You have a choice as to whether or not to open it. If you do, your consciousness is transmitted to a Phantom Zone-like prison dimension. There's another guy already there who challenges you to a contest of riddles, the winner of which will get to return to the real world and inhabit your now-mindless body, and the loser of which will be stuck in the prison dimension indefinitely. Even if you win and return to your body, you don't get any rewards or XP as a result, so it's really best not to open the box.
    • At one point you visit a Sand People encampment and you're warned not to open any of their baskets. If you do, every one of them turns hostile and attacks you.
    • There is also a (mild) example in the second game. When you go to Korriban and start exploring the Valley of Sith Lords, Kreia will contact you and mention that you shouldn't disturb the corpses. If you decide to loot them anyway, enemies spawn and attack you and Kreia chastises you.
  • Parodied in Evil Genius, with the trap "Do Not Touch Button".
  • Don't Shoot the Puppy. The whole thing.
  • Knytt Stories has a mod called 'Don't Eat the Mushroom', with the laughable plot of Juni traveling three screens to deliver a package to a neighbor, running across a mushroom on the way. If you ignore the mushroom, you can deliver the package no problem. If you touch the mushroom, you drop into a psychedelic wonderland upon entering the next screen, and, upon completing the acid trip, you can either deliver the package or return home, or, alternately, go jump in the ocean.

 Does doing drugs actually do this? I-- I'm gonna need to check this, 'cause if I took a hit of acid and suddenly saw the Burger King on fire singing "What is Love," I'd be amazed.

  • The World Ends With You: Neku best summarizes it when Beat explains that if he sees a button, he has to press it after being asked why he didn't think about it:

Neku: I think they design traps with people like you in mind...

  • The 580-point version of Colossal Cave has a button marked "EMERGENCY STOP -- Do not push!". If you press it, the game deliberately enters an infinite loop. And this was written for a single-tasking operating system, so the only way to regain control of your computer is to reboot.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • In Sonic Riders, Sonic's arch-enemy Dr. Eggman appears on a gigantic TV screen and says he's holding a competition where entrants must give him their Chaos Emeralds. Sonic decides to enter and gives Eggman the Chaos Emerald he just found.
  • Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door contains a prime example of this trope that the game utterly delights in tantalizing you with. Midway through the sixth chapter, you encounter a ghost on a train who would like to help you on your quest but, before he does, insists you help him first. Turns out he left his diary somewhere in the baggage car and has been tormented for years with the knowledge that someone might find it and read it, preventing him from passing on to his next existence. He agrees to help you if you go get the book, but he very sternly warns you that under no circumstances are you to open and read it. The game deliberately berates this point, meaning that if you are even mildly curious you will have your interest piqued. It even goes so far as to put a message on the game's bulletin board AFTER the chapter saying, "Good thing you didn't read my diary!" Once you find the book in question, you can select it from your inventory and try to open it. The game will make you go through several confirmation screens before the diary finally opens. Your reward for your curiosity? An instant game over.
    • Well, you can save at the Save Point and then read it, but... it's dull. It's not meaningful, it's not funny, it's just boring. But if you really want to read it, that's the way to go.
    • And another regarding the story. Legend states that beyond the Thousand-Year Door beneath Rogueport lies untold treasures. However, that was a myth forged by Beldam. Grodus and the X-Nauts know the truth, which is that the door is the prison of the Shadow Queen and that the seven crystal stars are the locks on the door.
  • Super Paper Mario
    • The game keeps the tradition alive by Tippi warning Mario about going into outer space without a helmet. Oddly enough, you can refuse to put on the helmet -- and if you do so enough times, you go into space and die.
    • Also, several rooms in one chapter feature mushrooms just tantalizingly out of reach. They move away if you attempt to approach them. If you chase them, various nasty things will happen to you, of course -- such as getting dropped into a pit.
  • A disconcerting large part of Fawful's scheme in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story relies on characters eating any piece of food offered to them by a complete stranger. Or, in one case, by the person you're trying to defeat.
  • At least one Super Mario World hack pulled a move that makes the infamous Kaizo Trap seem easy. At the start of a certain level, there was a message block saying not to hit the midway point. a little later, you see a seemingly inaccessible 3up moon with no way out. and then you see the midway point. if you hit the midway point and died later in that level, you'd spawn next to where the 3up moon was, and the message block there chastised you for not following directions.
  • The original System Shock sets you up rather evilly around halfway through. SHODAN plans to wipe out life on Earth with a massive barrage of laser fire from an orbital station, and naturally it's your job to stop her. Unfortunately, you stumble across an inadequately labeled laser-control switch, and... well, let's just hope you saved recently.
  • Guild Wars has several treasure chests, heaps of gold and suspicious wall panels scattered throughout the Nightfall lands labelled "Do not touch". When you touch them, you will get a precious item and gold, but several Djinns will spawn and try to kill you.
  • Pretty much every Roguelike has tons of unlabelled potions and fountains and things that you just know have fabulous magical effects... of some sort.
  • Final Fantasy
    • In Final Fantasy V, while exploring in a cave, you may come across a narrow pathway where you seem to randomly pick up 1 gil. You move on, and, after a few more steps, you pick up 2 gil! And then 4! Wow! You're picking up double the previous amount every few steps! Surely no ill could come of this... If you do tempt fate, you'll wind up facing Gil Turtle, a horrible, undead turtle that is very, very difficult to kill.
    • Final Fantasy IV: The Trickster/Lil' Murderer. First of all, it's an imp. Secondly, the thing comes along, doesn't attack, and casts' Scan on itself, telling you it has a weakness to Lightning; it never does anything else. You know it's a trap, this is the Very Definitely Final Dungeon and you've just fought your way down like 10 levels of dragons, dinozombies, and ninjas just to get this far; there's no way it's this easy! But you can't resist finding out what happens, and cast a lightning spell on it. The scan's not lying, he is weak to Lightning, but that same spell just powered him up. A lot. Oops.
    • Final Fantasy IX has several friendly monsters that ask you for an item, which they will give you tons of AP for it and their battle theme is different to show they're friendly. However, there's a monster called the Gimme Cat that tries to trick you by demanding a Diamond and if you give it one, it runs off with it and you leave with nothing. However, since the normal battle theme plays, that should tell you "do not listen to this monster". Be careful fighting it because it attacks with the powerful Comet spell.
    • In Final Fantasy XII, after you defeat a Mark in Bhujerba the Moguri who gave you the quest will ask you to go to the shop where she works to get her diary, and tells you not to read it. Inverted, since you whether you read it or not doesn't matter, but what you tell her when she asks you if you did.
    • Final Fantasy XIII: So you've just reached Pulse, now you can finally go anywhere you want! Hey, look at those gigantic tortoise-things! Surely they give massive CP! No need to worry, we just defeated a freaking Fal'ce, of course we're Badass enough to handle this thing... No, no you're not. Have a Nice Death. Though they really DO give massive amounts of CP, and drop some amazing items, but by the time you're ready to fight them, you'll probably have maxed everyone's Crystarium anyway. Unless you use Vanille's Death spell...
    • And similarly in the sequel you gain access to the Archylte steps very early on, in which, under sunny conditions a Long Gui spawns. You can fight him more or less right out of the gate. You won't last ten seconds.
  • At one point in Chrono Trigger, you'll get a chance to go to Ozzie's fort in 600 A.D. After defeating powered-up versions of Flea and Slash, you'll be led into a room where Ozzie's operating an obvious Death Trap, where a guillotine is guarding a delicious-looking treasure. Attempting to grab it while the machine's running will cause damage to your party. Instead, you'll need to go up the stairs to chase after Ozzie, at which point a greedy imp will attempt to open the treasure box, only to get chopped to bits by the guillotine. You can grab the contents after chasing away Ozzie, but there's not much of use in there anyway (just a Hi-Potion). There's a corridor on the lower right where Ozzie has hidden most of Magus' most powerful equipment. Curiously, he leaves this portion of the room unguarded.
  • In Dengeki Gakuen RPG: Cross of Venus, Dokuro-chan positively reeks of this trope in the Toradora! world. After all, why would her first action after leaving the room you just landed in be to casually flick a switch that releases poison gas in the first floor of Taiga's apartment? And then she pulls every switch at the beginning of each subsequent floor (despite everyone's protests, even), though these do demonstrate the traps waiting for you there. (Thankfully, she doesn't touch the four levers at the end of each floor, three of which initiate battles.)
  • The original Zork had a hint book in which the last chapter listed a number of things the player might try doing in the game. More than a few of them would result in the player's death, including desecrating dead bodies in Hades, burning a black prayer book, and waving a magic scepter while standing on a rainbow that the scepter made solid. In all fairness the Infocom hint books (this happened in all of them) clearly labelled these sections as "amusing things to try (after you've beaten the game)".
  • I Wanna Be the Guy
  • In The Lost Crown: A Ghosthunting Adventure, the Schmuck Bait turns out to be the crown itself... which you have no choice but to take anyway.
  • In Cave Story, the first time the pit of instant death appears in the game is adjacent to a sign saying: "Watch out! Deathtrap to your left! One touch means instant death!"
  • Dynamite Headdy has a stage late in the game with a couple blocks marked "Don't shoot!".
  • In Mister Mosquito, the just-barely-cracked-open microwave visibly has a huge load of heart rings inside. Of course, upon entering, the microwave closes and roasts you alive.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines the plot-driving Ankaran Sarcophagus, though not for the reason the character is led to believe. You just know there has to be something bad in there, given the Arc Words are "Don't open it!", just about every even remotely trustworthy character in the game cautions you against it, and it is heavily implied to contain an immensely powerful vampire capable of bringing about the end of the world. In the end, the player gets to decide whether or not to open it. It's contents? A massive bomb and a mocking note from Jack, the tutorial man.
  • In Portal, the Big Bad pulls a Briar Patching gambit in regards to a weird object she just dropped, even going so far as to Lampshade her use of Reverse Psychology. Of course, messing with it is bad for you.

{{quote| GLaDOS: I wouldn't bother with that thing. My guess is that touching it will make your life even worse, somehow.
I don't want to meddle with your business, but if I were you I'd leave that thing alone.
== Do you think I'm trying to trick you with reverse psychology? I mean, seriously now. == }}

  • Portal 2 has quite a few examples. To wit:
    • The "missing" Emancipation Grill, which GLaDOS specifically tells you not to bring anything through. Sure enough, she just wants to Yank the Dog's Chain.
    • GLaDOS attempts to lure you to her "final test", which is conveniently already solved and has an open doorway ostensibly leading to the outside. Falling for it earns you an achievement... and a reload.
    • A door marked "GLaDOS Emergency Shutdown and Cake Dispensary -- Keep Unlocked". She savagely lampshades this one, despite it being a case of Trap Is the Only Option.
    • Several of Wheatley's Death Traps, or as he refers to one of them, a "Death Option", He goes so far as to express pleasant surprise if you actually fall for them, and one earns you an achievement.
  • World of Warcraft

 Mimiron: Now why would you go and do something like that? Didn't you see the sign that said "DO NOT PUSH THIS BUTTON!"? How will we finish testing with the self-destruct mechanism active?

    • Also, a rogue class quest makes you go to the clan's secret base and objective is "Survive the trial". When you find the secret entrance and wander through the cave, there's a lonely treasure chest that looks normal...but if you click on it, a much more higher level elite enemy will come and kill you with one strike. The kick? You must NOT click the chest, but calmly go through the cave. It's even lampshaded by the NPC you'll return the quest to: "Couldn't keep your hands away from the chest, could you? Don't worry, almost no one can."
    • Players in Battlegrounds will often set up some schmuck bait with the following "/e has reported you AFK. Type /afk to clear this status." Typing /afk marks you as "Away from Keyboard" and if you're in a Battleground, it removes you. The results of this with Munchkins are predictable.
    • Another battleground prank is for a mage to open a portal, and say to click on it to help summon free food and water. And everyone who isn't paying attention gets dumped out to a city and given a "deserter" debuff that prevents them from rejoining for 15 minutes. As demonstrated.
    • A weird example, as it first appeared in Warcraft III, but you get a flashback of it in World of Warcraft as well: Frostmourne is floating above a dais that has an inscription that reads "Whosoever takes up this blade shall wield power eternal. Just as the blade rends flesh, so must power scar the spirit." Arthas decides that it's Worth It - and of course Trap Is the Only Option to defeat the current enemy.
  • Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee has fireflies that give hints if you stand still and chant for a while. One of those hints is: "Watch...out...for...that...bat" -- whereupon the Goddamn Bats would swoop down on you and kill you.
    • The very end of the game has a countdown until Deadly Gas floods the factory and, should the player rescue the last worker, they will be given the one-use ability to avoid capture through granting the ability to murder the evil C.E.O.s and the capturing guards almost instantly. Doing so, however, leaves the player alone in the board room with the still counting down gas timer and a lever labelled "GAS SHUTOFF", which drops two more guards into the room, forcing the player to be captured anyway or suffocate to death.
  • In Fallout 3, it is possible to find a Garden of Eden Creation Kit (The G.E.C.K.) -- and you may activate it. Attempting to do so will warn out that it will destroy everything in a several mile radius for raw materials -- whereupon you may confirm that you'd like to activate it. Do note, however, that that radius includes The main Super Mutant base, the Big Bad's main base, and Little Lamplight. The player dies at the end of the main quest, anyway. Since Super Mutants are usually swarming the G.E.C.K., using it is a last-ditch method of Taking You with Me.
  • Fallout: New Vegas
    • The final chamber of Vault 11. It's locked by a terminal which can only be accessed through a password, which itself is at the far end of the explorable space in the Vault. Everything you've read up to this point tells you this chamber is bad news, as in the "not compatible with continued living" kind, but chances are you're going to go there anyway simply because you have to know what the fuss is about. The game awards you with a decent amount of XP for doing so, since it's an unmarked quest.
    • There's also one in the "Dead Money" expansion, set up for plot purposes. You are explicitly told (before you have an opportunity to do so) that if you read "Sinclair's Notes" on the terminal in the Sierra Madre Vault you will become permanently trapped. If you do so, you'll get a Nonstandard Game Over where you starve to death. That said, just because you know about the trap doesn't mean you can't spring it on someone else...
  • The Path only gives you two instructions: Go to grandmother's house, and Stay on the Path. Guess what you do.
  • Interesting Subversion in Persona 3: on a date with Elizabeth she sees an open manhole sectioned off and assumes it's a trap preying on humans vulnerable to Schmuck Bait. It Makes Sense in Context, because Elizabeth is an... extradimensional entity?
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • In The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past, a sign says not to throw anything into a nearby circle of stones. This game allows you to pick up and throw signs. Need I continue? The first time you do this, you actually get rewarded for it; in fact, you need the item you get to complete the game. Do it again, though, and the creature that lives in the circle of stones throws an active bomb at you.
    • In Majora's Mask, the fight with Goht only happens because you decided to shoot a Fire Arrow at the giant mechanical demon entombed in a block of ice. As usual, to continue with the game you have to release the monster, and then kill it.
    • Skyward Sword lampshades this via a treasure chest that appears while helping Batreaux. Batreaux will warn you, desperately, that this treasure chest is not to be opened, and goes on at length about the horrible Cursed Medal that lurks inside. You can repeatedly tell him you want to open the chest anyway. If you do open it, he admits that the curse is pretty easy to circumvent, and that the human tendency towards doggedly persistent curiosity is one of those things he finds so darn endearing about them.
  • The aliens in the game Lose/Lose each represent a random file on the user's computer. Your ship represents the Lose/Lose executable. When a given alien is killed in-game, that file is deleted. When you die, Lose/Lose is deleted. The game's high score list contains scores in the thousands. And yes, this game really does delete random files from your computer, so consider yourself warned. It's such powerful schmuck bait that Symantec started detecting it as a Trojan. According to the creator, it explores what it means to kill in a video game, how valuable data is to us compared to real possessions, and the implications of trusting important information to technology that is growing increasingly difficult to understand. True Art, in other words.
  • In La-Mulana, one of the stone tablets says not to read the glyph again (which triggers more enemy spawns, if the warning is ignored), one of them warns not to use weapons in certain location (else a lighting strikes upon player) and so on. The Chamber of Extinction's Disconnected Side Area has a coin sitting out in the open at the end of a narrow side passage. Of course it's a trap, since you don't get coins in this game except by breaking pots (and the occasional wall) or killing enemies.
  • Obscure NES title Uninvited has a particular situation where attempting to go down a hole will result in the game warning you about the Giant Spider lurking around down there, and advise you to just leave it be. Of course, you can insist.
  • In EVO Search for Eden, in the fish level, you can attempt to go on land before beating the boss. Guess who doesn't get lungs till that boss is gone? Well, actually you get lungs, however there's no oxygen in the air until you defeat the boss, so they're useless.
  • Mega Man
    • 9 has the Metools disguised as 1-ups. In normal gameplay, these are a bit more understandable to be tricked by, but in Endless Attack, where you get only one life...
    • 5 has a room in Charge Man's stage where you have just climbed a ladder, to the left is the way on, and to the right is a long bed of spikes with no wall on the other side, which may lead one to wonder if something is on the other side (not a stretch given that similar tricks have been present in earlier games). If one has Rush Jet, one can climb on, fly over the spikes to the other end...and end up hitting the end of the room, falling onto the spikes, and losing a life.
  • Eversion. A cute, cheerful platformer? Just how could this be "not for children or those of a nervous disposition"?
  • Eye of the Beholder 2
    • If you are advised to NOT enter the little room filled with higher-than-normal magic items in a dungeon expressly made to kill you, guess what you should not do?
    • A very literal one also happens in this game. At one point, you receive a message from your mentor that the Big Bad is preparing a spell that will completely destroy your party, rendering you impossible to raise again. To foil the scheme, you have to go into the next room and let yourself be killed by the monsters. It is, of course, the Big Bad impersonating your mentor. If you DO get yourselves killed, he'll mock you for your gullibility. If you don't, and slay the monsters, he'll just reveal himself and rage at you for NOT being a total schmuck.
  • Putting the Play Station game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night into a music player results in finding a hidden audio track which starts with the main character Alucard reminding you that the disc is meant to be used on PlayStations only, and that track 1 contains computer data, so please, don't play it. Of course, he also hangs a lampshade on this by saying, "But of course, you're probably not going to listen to me anyway, are you?". Subverted in that nothing happens. The track just doesn't play.
    • This totally depends on the player you are using. Back when this game came out, CD-ROM data was not as common as it is today, and most of the earliest CD players would try playing the data track, resulting in a sound that CAN damage your speakers. To keep stupid people from doing this, a lot of games had a track similar to the one in the game in question.
  • The Harvest Moon games have this in the form of Golden Lumber. It's an indestructible building material, but in most games, it can only be used as fencing. It's also expensive as HELL (one piece usually costs 100,000G. By comparison, one stone piece costs 100G and you can make them yourself). And in many of the older games, golden lumber is taken by your neighbors as showing off your wealth, so your friendship levels will drop, until you sell the pieces you have off. The only game where the stuff is actually useful is in HM DS/DS Cute, where you can make virtually indestructible buildings (and that's only really feasible late into the game or using the 1 Billion Gold glitch.
  • God of War II: Hold R1 to drain your godly power into one easily-stolen sword.
  • In Karoshi 2, there's a level where a message says "You will quit if you press "q".". Most people will try though.
  • The "Maze of Madness" scenario in the online game Dungeons & Dragons: Tiny Adventures opens with the finding of a jeweled scepter, engraved with a "Keep out of the Maze!" warning. Naturally, your immediate conclusion upon finding it is that anyone who uses jeweled scepters to send warnings must be loaded....
  • Wizardry's dungeon contains a dead end passage four squares long. In the first three squares, you received these messages:

 A dungeon is dark...

When it's not lit...

Watch out, or you'll...

The fourth square holds a pit trap.
  • Mass Effect
    • The entire galactic civilization turns out to be the result of this. The Abusive Precursors, The Reapers, created the Mass Relay Network and placed the greatest fortress in creation at the center of it, in a completely unbreachable defensive location. Said fortress also contains enough space to house millions of civilians, communicate with and house the records of census data of all known civilization, and is completely self-sufficent, with a benevolent race of servants that can perform any maintenance job, large or small. Unfortunately, it is also a massive portal generator, intended to allow the Reapers to launch a surprise attack against the heart of any civilization that discovers it, as they would undoubtedly have made it the heart of their empire, along with all of the data and records to let the Reapers know everything they need to know to pick off the survivors.
    • Occurs in gameplay as well. As you enter the Exo Geni facility, there is a locked room. You can hack (read: lockpick) your way in to find a crate full of loot and what looks like a dead geth armature (walking tank). Touch the crate and the armature wakes up.
    • There's an example in Mass Effect 2. So, there's this character called Morinth, see. She's an asari, an alien race that can mate with anyone. She has this particularly rare genetic quirk that causes her nervous system to infiltrate and override that of her partner's during sex. This gives her a boost of power, knowledge, is extremely addicting for her and invariably fatal for the other person. Guess what she offers to you. Guess what one of your responses is. Guess what happens if you take her up on it...
    • There's a smaller example during Tali's loyalty quest. When you encounter Admiral Zaal'Koris vas Qwib-Qwib Tali tells you not to ask about the name. Of course, one of the dialogue options is to ask about it.

 Tali: Oh, here we go.

    • When arriving at Sanctuary in Mass Effect 3, it becomes obvious very soon that it's not a luxury refugee camp open to any human fleeing the reapers. If you volunteer as a receptionist, you are promised even better accommodations once you're allowed to leave the reception area and enter the main compound. From which nobody ever returned. It's actually a Cerberus facility where they select people fit for being turned into brain washed cyborg soldiers. Everyone who does not fit the requirements gets turned into a Husk to become a test subject for weapon development.
    • Kai Leng in Mass Effect 3. He deals you your only mandatory defeat in the game using Cutscene Power to the Max which gets under Shepard's skin and likely pisses off the player. The thing is, immediately after, your comm specialist is able to track Kai to his final hideout and Kai sends you an email specifically to taunt you about your loss. This can cause you to want to forego any further asset building missions and start the endgame battle sequences with fewer war assets than you would have if you're patient and leads to a more costly victory or possibly a defeat.
  • Star Control: Similarly, you're given repeated warnings to stop asking about the Androsynth. If you don't take the hint and find a different topic to talk about, the Orz turn hostile and attack... which sucks for you, because they're normally one of only two races in the game that are immediately outright helpful.
    • Late in the game, the Utwig will give you a very large bomb. Don't play with it.
  • In the Neverwinter Nights mod A Dance With Rogues, one mission involves pretending to be a stripper so you can infiltrate the mayor's mansion and steal a statue, which you are warned in no unambiguous terms not to tamper with. If you use the item's 'unique power', it summons a succubus (a demon, which is rather more powerful than you should be at that point).
  • Among the things said to Ecco the Dolphin by his podmates in the harmless first lagoon is "How high in the sky can you fly?" Trying to answer that triggers the abduction of your pod by aliens and the start of the game.
  • About halfway through the Plant chapter of Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty there is an electrified floor that the player has to deactivate in order to progress in the game. Colonel Campbell specifically warns you not to test it.
  • Spelunky contains various Indiana Jones-style traps, one or two different types per area. They're all very clearly marked by a shiny (and valuable) idol. Grabbing the idol will set off the trap, and -- if you haven't seen that particular variety of trap before -- it will kill you.
  • In Pokémon Platinum, there is a member of Team Galactic running back and forth, looking up and down, about five paces each way, as if suffering an attack of epilepsy, in the Galactic Warehouse. He is one of the few Mooks in the building (and, indeed, in the game) who doesn't challenge you to a battle on sight. As those types are usually the ones who give the player useful items or information upon speaking to them, one is naturally inclined to do so...at which point, he challenges you to a battle.
  • In Lemmings, the bomber skill will cause a lemming to explode. This is useful in some levels for removing part of the landscape or simply getting rid of a blocker, but no matter how you use it, it results in the death of the lemming you assign it to. In some levels, you are required to save 100%, but the game still gives you the bomber skill. Obviously, there is no way to use this skill and still complete the level successfully. It's mainly there to tempt idiots.
  • In Loom, legend has it that looking under the hood of a Weaver is fatal. When he's got Bobbin captive, Cobb can't resist finding out whether the legend is true. It is.
  • In text adventure game Asylum, at one point you find a written note that tells you to "look up". Something that you don't want to do.
  • Eve Online
    • A common tactic: a lone player will often wait somewhere off the stargate or station in low/null security space. When other unsuspecting players start shooting at him, not only do they find that said player has a strong tank, but several of his friends have warped in and/or decloaked.
    • The Amarr have several ships that are specifically Schmuck Bait, especially the Maller and Prophecy, both of which are minimal threat but insanely hard to kill for their size and cost. Bonus points go to the Imperial Navy Augoror, which is a faction cruiser and thus an automatic high-priority target for new fleet commanders, but if properly fitted is tougher to take out than a fleet battleship while being less dangerous than a frigate. Seeing any one of these three ships by itself minding its own business is almost always a new player or an ambush.
  • The Ultima series (specifically VI through IX) has the Armageddon spell. The beings who give or sell it to you specify that the spell will terminate all life in the current plane of existence. Who would be dumb enough to cast it? Well, there's a reason Sosaria's previous civilization came to a very sudden stop 700,000 years ago...
  • In STALKER anomalies, semi-invisible energy surges frequently serve as this. They produce valuable, powerful artefacts which can be seen floating in the air from a distance, but dash to grab it too quickly and the anomaly will be happy to rip you to shreds. In fact the Zone (the game world) itself serves as a form of Schmuck Bait, as people are drawn to enter it by the promise of a making a fortune finding artefacts, but the mutated wildlife, invisible anomalies and hostile warring human factions means your life will likely be pretty short.
  • The Brass Bull and Shoulder-Shattering torture chambers in Amnesia the Dark Descent. Go ahead, light the fire beneath the bull statue, and hoist the empty chains up to the ceiling.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy: "Hey! Let's prod this chained demon we found with the business end of our weapons! What could POSSIBLY go wrong?!"
  • In Luigi's Mansion, when Luigi looks in a mirror in this one room, he sees a red button that says "Don't push" reflected on the other side. Considering Stupidity Is the Only Option here, he presses it and part of the wall rolls back to reveal a storage thing in the floor, and a poster that says danger. Again, the only way to proceed is to vacuum up the poster and then push the other Big Red Button, releasing all the Boos.
  • In the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms game Curse of the Azure Bonds, while exploring a tower you have the option of picking up a piece of parchment on avoiding the tower's traps. Tip number one: Don't read Explosive Runes.
  • Lennus II takes this to a cruel extreme. It is very easy to talk to a shady NPC and wake up with your money missing -- for good.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion has two cases of Schmuck Bait. The first one is Dive Rock, the highest point on the map with an incredible view of the game world and a very long drop. Yes, you can indeed dive off Dive Rock, achieving... nothing but a messy you-shaped splatter on the ground below. Naturally. The other is simply attacking Sheogorath, Daedric Prince of Madness, which goes as well as you may think - it even has similar results to the previous example.
  • In Skies of Arcadia, Vyse can find a handkerchief hanging on the wall of Aika's house on Pirate isle. If you check it out, Vyse lifts it up to find a pinhole allowing him to see into Aika's bedroom. Aika is less than happy to find him inadvertently peeping on her, but Vyse notes that covering it with a hankie on the outside only draws attention.
  • In Super Mario World, in some stages you'll encounter Lakitu, the turtle enemy floating around in a cloud at the top of the screen, dangling a 1-Up mushroom at the end of a fishing line. If you grab the item, he'll rain Spinies down on you for the rest of the level. Luckily, he's easily killable.
  • In Jabless Adventure, you encounter a mermaid who'd rather not talk to you, and keeps offering you useless things to make you go away. Eventually, she says, "Listen, if I tell you a secret, will you leave me alone? ... If you pester the mermaid too much, you're gonna have a bad time." If you talk to her again, she says "I warned you," and kills you instantly.
  • Golden Sun
    • The game of course makes stupidity the only option. You can find a pillar of the sort you are usually knocking down with Force deep in the Altin Mines, next to a sign saying "Do not strike the wall! Rocks may fall!" You have to trigger a rockslide here to continue in the game. This leads to two potential crowning moments of funny:
    • If you do not have the Force Psynergy to knock over the pillar, Garet will pop out, get pissed off at the dead end, and kick it down, causing the rockslide.
    • Whether you or Garet cause the rockslide, it results in Isaac having to make an Indy Escape from a giant rolling boulder (which knocks a hole in the floor of the mines, enabling you to continue further down).
  • In the online Choose Your Own Adventure game Echo Bazaar some options contain a remark to the effect of "Don't do this, it's a bad idea". (Those curious enough to take this option will find out that the remark was right.) And then there's the "Seeking Mr. Eaten's name" storyline, which isn't just a bad idea -- it's a quest for masochists.
  • In Deus Ex Human Revolution at one point your augmentations start glitching and Pritchard relays the news that it's happened all over the world and thus there is a massive recall of augmentation biochips, and that augs are advised to have them replaced. Now, by this point you are fully aware that you're fighting against The Illuminati, an organization of tremendous power that sees augmentation as a potential threat to its dominance. One of its members is the CEO of one of the biggest augmentation companies in the world (who goes on TV to urge people to get the replacement) and they have kidnapped several leading augmentation scientists. You were previously in said company's HQ and if you happened to read some emails scattered about, you know that the biochip was in production before the "glitch" was discovered and pretty much everyone at the company thinks there's something fishy about it. When you put all of this together, the entire augmented population in the world suddenly having to replace their hardware sounds mighty suspicious. Sure enough, the biochip includes a killswitch and if you had it installed, the aforementioned CEO disables your augmentations right before a boss fight.
  • In Swim Ikachan, there's a chamber full of fish that comes with a sign "Curiosity killed the cat". Trying to enter this chamber will shut the entrance and should you come without ability to thrust sideways, you will be left to die on a(n in)conveniently placed spike-bed.
  • What's that? You've just finished the tutorial to Dissidia 012: Duodecim, and think you're some kind of bigshot? You'll learn.
  • The Impossible Quiz, question 35. "Pressing this button will result in a game over." It is not lying.
  • In the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic fan game Story of the Blanks where you play as Applebloom, you are warned by Zecora not to go into the forest after dark and Twilight orders you not to go anywhere as she tries to clear the blocked forest exit. Of course, you have to follow that mysterious pony deeper into the forest for the game plot to progress...
  • In Vay, you'll run into an NPC guarding a treasure chest, warning you against opening it. If you give in to your natural RPG instincts and try to open it anyway, the chest will unleash what the Working Designs localization crew affectionately calls the "Gold Vortex", which gobbles up all of your hard-earned gold.
  • The Sims take this to literally Too Dumb to Live levels when it comes to the Cow Plant in The Sims 2: University (also downloadable content for The Sims 3). Hey, look! That plant has a slice of cake in its enormous tooth-filled mouth! Certainly nothing bad can come of--
  • In many Dragon Quest games, you always end up finding a sign in the middle of a toxic swamp that tells you to keep out of the swamp that you have to cross just to read the damn sign. Even funnier in Hand of the Heavenly bride when the hero comes across one, he's a six year old who can't read yet.
  • Fantasy Quest gives a whole series of options like "bang your head against the rocks." All kill you, but the game lets you undo each fatal move.
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV, go to www.littlelacysurprisepageant.com on the in-game internet and COOL THINGS happen! [2]
  • The first Quake has the Thunderbolt, aka Lightning gun. Above water it's a frighteningly effective weapon; underwater, it discharges all of its ammo in one shot and kills everything in the water - including the player. Now mind you, this is the game's final and most powerful weapon - the one that, more than any other, the player really really wants to try out now. And you find it in a pond...
  • Dynasty Warriors 3 has the famous line "Don't pursue Lu Bu!" regarding an optional miniboss in the Hu Lao Gate stage... who in every incarnation of the series as a beat 'em up is actually more powerful than the actual stage boss.
  • In the second to last level in Tomb Raider III, after crossing over a pit of fire, there's a Large Med Kit sitting in plain sight in a narrow hallway. Seeing how difficult the game is in general and how stingy finding health kits are (unless you actively been looking in secret areas for them), most players will happily try to take the item. However, stepping on the tile where the item rests on causes a spiked log to roll down from above and crush you if you don't react fast enough. Even if you do avoid it, the trap sits on top of the item, rendering it inaccessible.
  • Chapter 2 of Kid Icarus: Uprising presents a section of its ground-based level that has a treasure chest, just sitting out there in the open, waiting to be plundered. Not. That chest's a trap, and Magnus even tells Pit how the facet of an actual treasure chest with actual treasure presented in plain sight is outright ludicrous.


Visual Novels Edit

  • In Disgaea Infinite, one path allows you to possess a Geo Symbol. If you do this, you get destroyed, triggering one of the Bad Endings.
  • Corpse Party: In Chapter 2, you are warned not to read the Victim's Memoirs to their conclusion. You may think "Tch! In Chapter 1 I was warned not to read that newspaper, but I had to in order to reach Chapter 1's True End. Let's take a look." Enjoy having Yoshiki realize that he's killed Ayumi and resorted to cannibalism.


Web Comics Edit

 Grace: Why not go through that gap between the buildings?

Sarah: Hmmm, dark alley... night... two unarmed teenage girls... screams wouldn't be heard over nearby traffic... sounds good, let's go!

Grace: Uhm, wait a second...

 Traveling Merchant: Tell me, wombat -- if I gave you a box and told you that it must not be opened, ever, under any circumstances, what would you do?

Digger: Hmmm... Encase it in concrete, probably. Actually, I'd encase it in lead first, if the box materials could take the heat, then in concrete. Then I'd put it in the foundations of a useful public works project. Something they wouldn't be digging up again in a hurry. Grain storage, or mole dung composting... I'd have to check and see what was available... how big a box are we talking about, anyway?

 "In the event that someone reading this does try, I wish to preemptively state on the record that I Told You So."

 Claw: You let the princess eat raw meat off the floor?!

Mango: Sorry! Sorry! It's just... well... Have you ever tried to get between that kid and a hunk of meat?

Claw: Okay... I have to admit you have a good point there.


Web Original Edit

  • Gearworld, a Livejournal blog of a fictional travelogue, contains two instances of Schmuck Bait. Each instance had been discovered by a previous group of exploring monks, and they had left carved plaques behind to commemorate and warn about the experience.

 "PLEASE DO NOT STRIKE GONG

While we fully understand that you are curious as to what happens when the gong is struck, we must strongly advise against it. The results are most unpleasant and dramatically fatal. Human nature being what it is, we realize that this warning may not stop you, and may in fact only drive you to strike it, but since we are unable to destroy the gong, and the lock was evidently insufficient to keep you out, we can only hope that you will take our advice. There are neither riches nor knowledge here, but only an ugly death.

Respectfully,

The Monks of Perdition

(In Memory of Brother Wu)"

Unusually, in each case Eland carefully reads the warning and wisely leaves it as is.
  • This quote
  • Derrick Comedy: "Don't Jerk Off to This".
  • Oh, I hope nobody plays this! [1]
  • asdfmovie gives us the Pointless Button. It does absolutely nothing when pressed.
  • Acts of Gord
    • Subverted in this story, where The Gord makes a 100% non-functional and incomplete Sony Playstation and builds a shrine to it with a sign reading "Please don't steal me. You are being watched. -- Management." In the two hour experiment, while a lot of people stopped to look at the shrine to see if it was real or not, the closest anyone came to actually stealing it was checking that no-one was looking, as the store lights were out, picking it up, and then putting it back.
    • He would also price crappy game much higher than they were worth just to see if people would steal them.
    • Gord loves these. He found a Game Shark that actually damaged SNES systems. Then he left it out for someone to steal. He then made lots of money repairing said systems.
  • This LOLcats page. That's one ice cream cone you would not want to lick.
  • Delete System32 (or any other vital file or folder)
  • Discussed on The Other Wiki: Don't stuff beans up your nose.
  • In the MSF High Forum, the nurse is infamous for turning people into, well, whatever strikes her fancy. She then leaves out a cake, with a sign saying "Free cake". She has had three victims of TF-cake thus far.
  • Many Let's Plays tend to have a Message stating "TURN YOUR HEADPHONES VOLUME DOWN" right before a really loud part. Many people INSTEAD turn their headphones volume UP.
  • Skippys List has examples:

  189. Do not dare SERE graduates to eat bugs. They will always do it.


Western Animation Edit

  • Perhaps the most potent distillation of Schmuck Bait was the History Eraser button from the episode "Space Madness". Ren puts Stimpy to guard said button, and tells him that something incredibly bad may or may not happen if someone were to press the button, so he must under absolutely no circumstances touch it. Ren leaves, and the annoying narrator promptly enters the scene with the following:

 Narrator: Oh, how long can trusty Cadet Stimpy hold out? How can he possibly resist the diabolical urge to push the button that could erase his very existence? Will his tortured mind give in to its uncontrollable desires? Can he withstand the temptation to push the button that, even now, beckons him ever closer? Will he succumb to the maddening urge to eradicate history? At the mere! push! of a single! button! The beautiful shiny button! The jolly candy-like button! Will he hold out, folks? Can he hold out?

Stimpy: ... NO I CAN'T!!! (beep)

Narrator: Tune in next week fo--

    • "Don't Whizz On the Electric Fence!"
  • In the Ben 10 episode "Tourist Trap", IT looks like a harmless, gigantic ball of rubber bands, despite the build-up to IT appearing, and the numerous warning signs surrounding it. Thinking someone's pulled a fast one on them, Ben decides to have his own brand of fun with IT, and his normally-more-sensible cousin Gwen doesn't even try to stop him. This, of course, releases the Monster of the Week to wreak havoc, simply because that's how the freakin' thing amuses itself. The conclusion of the episode implies that after the creature has been released, gone on a rampage, duplicated itself, rampaged more, fought Ben, continued to cause destruction, nearly killed people, and, oh yeah, more rampaging, until it was finally captured... Absolutely nothing about how this thing was contained will be changed. Everything will be fine, the mayor insists, "so long as people mind the signs." At least this time the creatures are put inside a giant lightbulb, where the crazed little suckers are easily visible.
  • Scooby Doo fans know of his own Pandora's Box, the Chest of Demons.
  • Subverted in a Garfield Specials where a young girl and a cat live in a Utopia of a garden. The garden also contains a box which they are warned they must never ever open. After a moment of temptation, they never ever open the box and live happily ever after.
    • This is based on a book of stories on Garfield's previous (and one future) lives, in which the same thing happens.
  • Garfield and Friends
    • In an episode, Garfield is trapped in a Haunted House and finds a rope hanging from the ceiling with a sign that says "DO NOT PULL ROPE." Naturally, he pulls on it and is dropped through a trap door. "There's your lesson for today, kids. When it says 'Don't Pull The Rope,' don't pull the rope."
    • In another episode he sees a door with a sign: "Beware of the SPLUT!". He opens it and a pie hits him in the face. *SPLUT*. Later on he has been sent to Samoa and sees a similar door with "Beware of the GORSH!". He opens it. Turns out that gorsh is the Samoan equivalent to splut.
    • In yet another episode, Binky gives him a present labeled "Warning: Splut Enclosed". He had apparently known what it was, but forgot, so he opened the present and was promptly splutted.
  • The Simpsons
    • A Halloween special has the Super-Fun-Happy-Slide button in Burns' vampire mansion. Before pulling it, Bart even lampshades the fact that it's Schmuck Bait: "I know I probably shouldn't, but when am I gonna come back here?" Also, "What is your fascination with my forbidden closet of mystery?"
    • Daddy's soul doughnut, Do not eat: "Mmm... forbidden doughnut."
    • Actually referred to by name in "The Great Simpsina" by the son of a rival magician who tricks Lisa into revealing her mentor's secret of the milk can escape trick.
  • Family Guy
    • Peter is in a bland room with a button accompanied by a sign warning not to push the button. He pushes it. An old kung fu master, wearing a traditional martial arts outfit, walks into the room, bows politely, and beats Peter senseless.
    • Another instance exists where, upon staring at a lever labelled DO NOT PULL on an airplane door, Peter proceeds to do so, decompresses the entire plane and falls to his death giggling.
    • Have you not heard?
    • Put your head between these two restrained logs and win a free hat.[3]
  • In El Tigre Manny and Frida find a chest covered in warning signs with a skull shaped lock. They declare "It's like an us trap" and consider that it might be a test before immediately disregarding their concerns and crack it open. Unlike most cases of this trope bad things don't immediately happen when the Artifact of Doom is unleashed. It's only when they trick Manny's mom into putting it on to resume her abandoned superhero identity that things get out of control.
  • Candle Jack. At least, in the Freakazoid episode of the same name.
  • In My Little Pony: Twinkle Wish Adventure, the mayor gives Cheerilee the box containing Twinkle Wish, the sleeping wishing star, and warns her that it must not be opened until the next day at sunset, and even tells her "The fate of the entire festival is in your hands." Quite naturally, the box ends up opened mere minutes later, and Twinkle Wish is snatched away by a passing dragon.
  • Looney Tunes
    • Free ACME Bird Seed. OTOH, it's subverted each time since the Coyote is the schmuck, rather than the Road Runner.
    • In one cartoon, Daffy Duck is a salesman who converts Elmer Fudd's house into a computerized push-button house. One of the buttons is a red one that Daffy tells him never to press ("Not the wed wone!"). Eventually, after Elmer gets frustrated and throws Daffy out, he finally pushes the red button. It's an "In Case of Flood" button that raises the house up on a gigantic hydraulic pillar. Daffy comes by in a helicopter, offering to sell Elmer a little blue button that'll get him down.
    • In "Hare Remover", Elmer tried to capture a rabbit to use as a test subject for a formula. He decided to use the trick of the box that shuts down when someone pulls the stick. The trick was so old Bugs commented having heard about them from his grandfather and not believing (until then) he'd see one himself. He deliberately fell for it so whoever bothered setting it wouldn't feel disappointed.
  • In Batman the Brave And The Bold, a button in the Batmobile dispenses sleeping gas onto whoever presses it. Joker naturally presses it, despite being warned not to. (see Comics above)
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius. "Don't look into the peep-hole!"
  • On Jimmy Two Shoes, Jimmy, while flying a plane, notices a big button with a skull on it. Lucius and Molotov dare him to press it. He does, causing the plane to go haywire.
  • In Rocko's Modern Life when Rocko's boss is on leave leaving Rocko in charge of the comic book store, he tells him not to touch the green button on his office chair. Rocko develops the urge to press the button which he did. It starts out as a massage later transforming Rocko into an evil boss.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender

 Aang: (to Zuko) You had to pick up the glowing egg...

  • Dexters Laboratory: Dexter has snuck into Deedee's treehouse and finds nothing but a lever and a sign saying "Do not pull." He lampshades this before pulling the lever and promptly gets trapped in a breadbox.
  • George of the Jungle: Tom Slick once saw a detour sign telling him to go through a tunnel. As he noticed Baron Otto Matic's henchman with a can of paint, he assumed he should take the route blocked by the sign, only to find a rock blocking that path.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • In an episode, Mrs. Puff is fired and replaced by a drill sergeant. After going over the no eating rule he offers bon-bons. A student eats one and is thrown through the wall.
    • At the cheapskate convention contest a video of Mr. Krabs puts out a sign for free krabby patties. Everyone comes in but is charged for every footstep.
    • In the same episode another crab is shown ringing up a bag of chips 3 times- The reason is three times more flavor is 3 times the cost.
  • Regular Show:

 "In the name of all that is holy, don't connect the red wire to the blue wire. Thanks."


Real Life Edit

  • The Science Museum in London currently (since 2007) has an exhibit called "DO NOT TOUCH". A large pole with a barred-off bare metal waist is surrounded by brain-searing yellow warning signs, proximity-sensor klaxons, and screens telling patrons that the pole will give them an electric shock. You can't not touch it. Yes, you do get an electric shock.
  • This Place is Not a Place of Honor: The US Department of Energy is designing monuments that warn future visitors away from nuclear waste disposal sites such as Yucca Mountain and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. The ideas they've come up with are fascinating -- but not one of them has managed to avert the site being Schmuck Bait of the highest caliber. To their credit, they're well aware that anything they design is potential Schmuck Bait, and they're actively working to minimize the bait factor.
    • Science fiction author Larry Niven has suggested that what the Department of Energy needs to do is just surround the sites with a 15-foot-tall chainlink fence, and every ten feet or so put a sign up in multiple languages that reads "IF YOU CROSS THIS FENCE YOU WILL DIE!" And his suggestion for when the schmucks cross the fence anyway? "Think of it as evolution in action."
      • The problem with Niven's idea is that, thanks to the long half-life of fissionables, any warning should be made in such a way that it will also survive the collapse of our entire culture. Languages may vanish, old symbology may be forgotten, but nuclear waste will still be deadly. Any warning, therefore, has to be completely universal, without being enticing.
  • Any Wet Paint sign.
Tell a man there are 978,301,246,569,987 stars in the sky, and he will believe you. Show him a "Wet Paint" sign, and he will check and get his finger stained.
    • In the NYC subways, you will often see this sign after the paint has dried, but nobody has taken away the sign.
    • To be fair, all wet paint signs eventually become false statements.
  • Apparently, some tech departments will periodically send out emails with viruses attached, informing everyone at large not to open attachments like that. If someone does, a conveniently-attached tracer lets the department tell managers which of their employees cannot follow directions.
  • Using the Launch Control on a Nissan GT-R will void the warranty.
  • Wasabi. It just looks so small and innocuous on your plate. And nothing that colour could be bad. It's probably guacamole or pistachio paste....
  • Including Schmuck Bait options in multiple-choice questions is common practice for the SATs and other standardized tests, to such a degree that test-prep courses actually give the Schmuck a name (e.g. "Joe Bloggs") and demonstrate how this gullible strawman always falls for the likely-looking, but wrong, answers.
  • British revision site BBC Bitesize loves this "trick":

 In order to deal with a rapidly increasing population, the Chinese government introduced...

a) The One-child policy

b) The Two-child policy

c) Free Contraception

d) The Child Catcher

  • The Voltage Switch on the back of computer PSUs. Flicking it causes a loud bang. a lot of smoke. and a broken PSU.
  • rm -rf / for novice Unix users. Especially don't run it as root.
    • Explaining the joke: rm is "remove". The -r is "recursive". -f means "don't ask me if I'm sure." The single slash denotes the entire filesystem, kinda like C:\ for a Windows machine, but even more. If you run it as a regular user, it'll delete everything you have access to. If you run it as the superuser, (root, user 1, the administrative user) then it'll delete everything. At which point the computer will stop working. Most modern Unix variants will prevent you from running it, since it has no legitimate use.[4]
      • One at least one OS (SGI IRIX) rm -rf / run as root does not actually remove everything, because it stops working at some point in the process after removing enough stuff to make the machine effectively unusable for normal purposes. (We were nominally a reseller, had sold the machine, and needed to wipe it and reinstall the OS anyway, so we figured it was a great opportunity to find out what exactly would happen.)
    • One of these commands will wipe out Bill's porn collection.
      rm -rf / home/bill/porn
      The other will wipe out the entire system.
      rm -rf /home/bill/porn
      If you can't tell which is which, then the Command Line Interface may not be for you.
      • This particular mistake actually happened, leading to the only known github commit to generate an internet meme.
  • Lecturers at some Universities to catch students.
    • Luis von Ahn at Carnegie Mellon sets at least one assignment per year with a Google-bomb phrase in the questions, leading to a website with the answer and the correct solutions, which logged the IP addresses of people who entered the website. As students were told not to use the internet to do such questions (and such phrases did not exist), he would then happily accuse students who visited the website as cheaters.
    • Samir Siksek is also famous for this at Warwick.
  • Ramune are Japanese sodas (occasionally sold in the US) that have a unique anti-spill system composed of a free-floating glass marble in a bottle with an opening slightly too small for the marble to go through. The packaging warns you severely against trying to get at that marble. That pure, spherical, ultra-clear glass marble. That marble that makes such appealing rattling sounds as it slides around the bottle. That marble that is so tantalizingly within reach you can tap it with your finger. Don't get it.
    • And never try to get the widget out of a can of Guinness. That perfectly spheroid, enticing ping-pong ball. Don't. Just don't. The can tells you not to.
  • Invoked by police all over the US with bait cars, which are set out on the street and "abandoned", while an officer watches from a safe distance. All the car's functions are remote-controlled, allowing the police to shut off the engine and force-lock the doors in order to trap the thief. Oh, and there's a camera hidden in the dashboard, so they have proof that you stole it. Also qualifies as a Honey Trap.
  • This shirt neatly summarises the phenomenon.
  • These ominously-labelled switches.
  • Sign on Newcastle Tramway: TOUCHING WIRES CAUSES INSTANT DEATH.$200 FINE.
  • Heart Attack Grill: It's as close to Exactly What It Says on the Tin as it can be. It doesn't literally grill heart attacks, but it is themed around food which is known to cause them and other health problems. It's themed as a hospital, with the staff being healthy "doctors" and "nurses" who serve to customers as "patients". And the food is named after health problems and surgeries. One spokesperson has already died at age 29. If you are still willing to eat there knowing all of this...
    • Then you'll definitely die happy, at least.
  • Any action of which the showing is preceded by the words "Don't Try This At Home."
  • If you're going to the restaurant known as "The Crab Cooker," don't look up there.
  • Speed cameras in Paris have warning signs alerting motorists to their presence.
    • Speed cameras in many countries have warning signs placed a few hundred yards before them warning the motorists of their presence. Traffic police departments absolutely love this trope.
  • Pang Juan, a general of Wei in China's Warring States period, came across writing scratched on a tree: however, it was too dark to read. Accordingly, he had a torch lit, revealing the writing to be "Pang Juan dies under this tree". The lighting of the torch was the signal for an ambush, set by Pang's rival Sun Bin, to attack. Pang Juan would commit suicide under that same tree.
  • In Metro Manila in the Philippines, there is a sign set-up in the middle of a two-lane main thoroughfare which reads (in the vernacular) "Do not cross. Someone has already died here. Use the overpass." This is a warning to all potential jaywalkers to use appropriate overpasses and pedestrian crossings. Guess what most of the Filipinos reading it do next.
  • In the Battle of Leyte Gulf, The Japanese Navy planned for their (decoy) Northern Force to get the attention of the US Navy's covering forces and draw them away so that their Center and Southern Forces could attack the American Landing Zones at Leyte Island. William F. Halsey, commander of the USN 3rd Fleet, fell for the ruse by speeding after them with all of his ships, leaving a handful of Destroyers and Escort Carriers at the mercy of an attack by Center Force which occurred near Samar Island.

Highlight only in case of emergency: Not now, you idiot! In case of emergency!

Notes

  1. unless you have grip pliers for fingers and screwdrivers for nails, you would just break your nails and make a fool of yourself
  2. Not really. You just get an instant five star wanted level.
  3. He gets the hat.
  4. If you want to wipe the disk and reinstall, then you'll use fdisk or dd. If you want to delete everything because the feds are knocking, then you use a secure deletion tool like GNU shred, rather than something that just marks blocks as dirty. There is no reason ever to use rm -rf / for anything other than quickly trashing a system.

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