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9 Craziest Excuses People Have Used to Get out of Work

image for Mangostar/Shutterstock
Mangostar/Shutterstock
  • Everyone misses work for legitimate reasons, but sometimes the reasons are too crazy to be true.
  • Use common sense and courtesy, as well as following company policy, when informing your workplace of any absence.
  • Honesty is usually the best policy, unless the truth is either unbelievable or casts you in a poor light.

Almost everyone misses work once in a while, and some more than others. Generally, your employer will be understanding if you offer a good reason, and you don't do it too often, or fail to let them know. It's important to advise your employer of your absence according to the protocol in use at your workplace, and if you don't know what that is, just make sure you tell your manager as soon as you can.

Legitimate reasons to leave work include illness, whether yours or that of a child or close family member. Almost every company has a policy covering leave for sickness, family needs and related concerns. When the event is known ahead, provide advance notice, but if it is sudden onset, just do your best and make sure you keep your employer updated. Advance notice should apply to leaves for planned medical events including childbirth, some surgeries, and similar scheduled proceedings.

Sometimes, employees just don't want to come into work or have a legit (but strange) reason why they can't. If you're a manager, you're probably tired of hearing excuses for missing work. Sometimes an employee will say something so bizarre, it's almost entertaining – if you didn't have to work with one less employee that day.

Business News Daily asked managers the most bizarre excuses an employee used to get out of work. Here are the nine we found to be the craziest.

"An employee who regularly ate bananas in the office claimed to have a sudden adult-onset banana allergy resulting in a severe 'runny tummy,'" said Mollie Moric, career adviser and hiring manager at ResumeGenius. "He left the office almost immediately after arriving and consuming a banana as a part of his regular morning routine."

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"We had an employee take off for their dog's birthday because they had to get the party ready," said Shawn Breyer, owner of Sell My House Fast Atlanta. "As weird as the idea was, they brought in pictures from the party. They had invited all of their friends and dogs over to the house and actually threw a party." 

via GIPHY

"An employee called to inform me that they couldn't come into work because they'd discovered their neighbor's cat asleep in their car," said Moric. "The employee turned around and attempted to return the cat, but when it refused to leave their car, they were forced to take the day off work."

Animal excuses like these are always popular, possibly because the four-legged subject of the scenario can't contradict your story. Socialtalent.com offers several beastly varieties, including:

  • A skunk broke in and sprayed all the employee's uniforms
  • The cat unplugged the alarm clock
  • An escaped buffalo was charging at the employee when she tried to get to her car (don't try this one in San Francisco)
  • The employee stated her dog was having a mental breakdown
  • The employee got a cold from her puppy

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"The craziest excuse I know is someone calling for becoming nauseous from accidentally brushing his teeth with 'spoiled toothpaste,'" said Ken Kilpatrick, CEO of Sylvia Marketing & Public Relations.

Nausea from various sources is a common, and hard to disprove, story. Reader's Digest list of 60 ridiculous excuses to get out of work (compiled from careerbuilder.com and jobcluster.com) includes an employee who ate cat food instead of tuna, as well as a llama with persistent vomiting. Some less-than-original employees have even been known to tell the truth about their hangovers.

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"An employee called into work to inform me that their fortuneteller instructed them not to leave their house for any purpose that day, including work," said Moric. "They proceeded to discuss how the misalignment of the cosmos meant grave danger and how coming into the office obviously wasn't worth the risk."

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"One of our employees said that they couldn't bear the pain of a paper cut and needed to go rest at home," said Aris Vourvoulias, head of organic performance at Market Inspector.

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"I had an employee call in one day because it was really hot in his apartment and all of his fish had died," said Sonya Hansen, vice president of marketing at Targetprocess, Inc. "He could not come in because it was going to take him at least three days to clean it out."

via GIPHY

"An employee had convinced themselves that they had caught a 'monkey disease' from viewing an ill-looking monkey at the zoo," said Moric. "Although they hadn't come into physical contact with the monkey, according to their WebMD search, they'd contracted a life-threatening disease carried exclusively by monkeys called monkeypox."

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"One of my team members sent me a text that they could not come to work because their house was surrounded by a SWAT team," said Jodie Shaw, chief marketing officer of The Alternative Board. "Apparently their neighbor was suspected of holding a fugitive. It was a crazy excuse but a true one. They even sent me pictures of the SWAT team in their yard looking into their neighbor's house."

Criminal activity, whether or not that of the employee, is a common theme. Socialtalent reports one employee whose pre-teen daughter had "borrowed" the car and wasn't back yet. The employee was reluctant to call the police, since she was a good girl. Another, perhaps too honest for his own good, had a noncooperative sobriety device that wouldn't let him start the car.

Employees might be better off using the sick llama story than some of the stories Reader's Digest includes in their "ridiculous" list, which could make the boss think twice about having hired them in the first place:

  • I forgot I was getting married today.
  • I got lucky last night and I don't know where I am.
  • Someone glued all the doors and windows to my house shut. I can't get out.
  • My dentures flew out of my car window on the highway.
  • I am at the casino and I still have money left.

via GIPHY

There are many reasons – aside from being sick – you might miss work. Some examples include a death in the family, car trouble, religious observances and even dental trouble. If any of these are the case, show your manager that you are being responsible.

If you need that mental health day, be honest about it, but make sure that your work is up to date and you aren't leaving someone with a crisis that you could have averted. Keep your manager informed of your status, and if you can't come back when you said you were, update the manager and human resources, if applicable. You can come back to work with a clear conscience and renewed dedication.

Business News Daily Editor

Business News Daily was founded in 2010 as a resource for small business owners at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey. Our site is focused exclusively on giving small business advice, tutorials and insider insights. Business News Daily is owned by Business.com.