My 8 year old son has a 3x3 Rubik's cube. He's had it for months and solved it many times. He has accidentally (or purposefully) flipped corners, but we've always been able to flip them back and keep it solvable.
But one day he showed it to me and one corner was "flipped" or modified in a way that could not be remedied. The Yellow side was correct, but the green was on the orange side and the orange was on the green side. So there was no flipping that could occur because that piece couldn't physically be oriented in the right direction. I took the pieces out, but I couldn't even put the pieces back in a solved position because it looks like the orange and green stickers were switched.
He does take it to school, so I am leaving open the possibility that some kids did something for fun and didn't say anything (several of them bring in their own). Obviously, my first thought is that the stickers had been switched. But when I go to "switch" them back...they are pretty well stuck. They definitely don't feel like they've been loosed before, and definitely not by an 8 year old. The other thought is that someone must have swapped the piece out with another Rubik's cube, but I have to imagine that the orientation of colors is the same on all cubes.
How could this have occurred (besides sticker swapping), and is there a remedy (besides sticker swapping)? I feel like sticker swapping is the most obvious explanation/solution, but I really had trouble even trying to get them off it really doesn't seem like they've been taken off before.