Finance News & Insights

'My Monkey Died': 31 lamest excuses for missing work


You know they’re really at the beach (or the mountains or their own backyard), but they have to offer some excuse why they won’t be making it into the office that day. Here are some of the craziest.

Summer is in full swing. And besides an increase in the number of iced coffees and sunburns you see around the office, there’s likely a sharp uptick in the number of call-outs — particularly on Mondays and Fridays.

That’s why we compiled this list of the 31 lamest excuses for missing work. Let’s hope you’ve never heard any of these:

  1. I was kicked by a deer.
  2. I donated too much blood.
  3. My girlfriend’s dog is stuck under the house.
  4. I’m on my cell phone, locked in a restroom stall and there’s no one around to let me out.
  5. I have a bad case of the hiccups.
  6. My bus broke down and was held up by robbers.
  7. My curlers burned my hair, and I have to go to the hairdresser.
  8. I don’t want to lose the parking space in front of my house.
  9. My wife burned all my clothes, and I have nothing to wear to work.
  10. I have the three-day measles.
  11. A buffalo escaped from the game reserve and keeps charging me every time I try to go from my house to the car.
  12. My dog swallowed my bus pass.
  13. I was arrested as a result of mistaken identity.
  14. I forgot what day of the week it is.
  15. I hit a turkey while riding a bike.
  16. I swallowed too much mouthwash.
  17. My grandma died. (This was the sixth time that year!)
  18. My wife won’t let me come to work because I have a lot of chores to do around the house.
  19. I was spit on by a venomous snake.
  20. My dog was stressed out after a family reunion.
  21. My psychic told me to stay home.
  22. Someone slipped something in my drink.
  23. A skunk got into my house and sprayed all my uniforms.
  24. I blew my nose so hard, I threw my back out.
  25. I tripped over my dog and was knocked unconscious.
  26. I forgot to come back to work after lunch.
  27. My breast implants don’t match.
  28. I was poisoned by my mother-in-law.
  29. I couldn’t find my shoes.
  30. My monkey died.
  31. I broke my leg snowboarding off my roof while drunk.

Heard some doozies of your own? Share them here.

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  • Claudia Razo

    I got bit by a spider.
    I have to take my 21 yr old son to the Dr for strep throat.

  • Don McCarty

    The worst one I’ve heard was, “I don’t have any clean socks.”

  • Cindy

    I have to comment on #24. I very rarely miss work or call in sick, but I actually threw my back out from a sneeze. I had no idea why I had such a terrible back ache. When I finally went to the chiropractor after almost a week, they asked what I had done, and I didn’t know. While I was there, I felt a sneeze coming on, and said that I hoped I wouldn’t sneeze because it hurts so bad. The doctor asked if I had sneezed recently, and then I remembered that I had sneezed around the time my back ache started. He told me that can cause your back to go out, depending on how your body is positioned when it happens. Although these excuses are ridiculous, I can attest to the fact that SOMETIMES ridiculous can be true!

  • Susan

    As crazy as these sound, many of them are possible. I had to miss the school bus one morning because an angry bull moose was in the road between me and the busstop. The bus had to back up and turn around to get everyone else to school.
    Crazy spouses can destroy all your clothes.
    Spider bites can be fatal.
    The death of a monkey, or pet of any kind, can be very stressful.
    What a cold-hearted bunch of a$$e$. I hope you never need sympathy.

  • We actually did have (did being the opperative word that) that could never remember what day of the week it was and would call in and let us know he forgot it was a work day. But my all time favorite from this list is the dog being stressed out after the family reunion. I need to remember that one.

  • Fuzmaniac

    I actually had a worker call in to say she was locked inside her house and could not get out. I’m not sure if I was angrier over the dumb excuse, or the fact that she thought we were dumb enough to believe it!

  • Deborah

    I had someone call in with this;
    “My Dad has a rooster that he keeps in the back yard, and every morning the Rooster crowing is my alarm clock. Well, there was an eclipse this morning and the rooster got confused and didn’t crow at all! I didn’t wake up until noon!”

  • Gary

    I am in HR and I am the head time keeper in my organization and if there is one thing I have learned, is not to dismiss an excuse because it “sounds” silly. Employees don’t all have the same ability to describe situations or express themselves. Jumping to conclusions can lead you to the losing side of a wrongful termination suite.
    Be objective when you hear these things and restate the excuse in a way you your self would before you decide if it’s acceptable under you organizations guidelines. What’s most important is the truthfulness of the report.

  • Mary

    Have to comment on #25. I’m currently in a leg brace because my 109 lb dog ran into my leg and dislocated my kneecap. Fortunately when she knocked me over I didn’t hit my head but I could totally see it happening.

  • judy

    Could actually see some of these happening even though they sound silly.

  • Yale

    I was late for school once because one of the rabbits I was raising for a merit badge escaped her cage. I spent a half an hour chasing her around our yard until she let me catch her.

    A boss I worked with said he had someone who didn’t show up for work for three days. When he finally returned, he claimed he had an exhaust leak in his car and the carbon monoxide made him forget what he was doing. He said he was just driving around until he ran out of gas and got some oxygen back in his system.

  • Jackie

    I am soooo glad I work in a place where I don’t have to have an excuse, especially a note from a Doctor. Employers are tight enough without having to put up with that nonsense.

  • “I went shopping a couple of weeks ago and bought a watermelon. I forgot about it in the trunk of my car and it exploded. So I had to clean my car trunk this morning.” Okay, it was summertime and we do live in Florida so it is plausible. Just because the excuse is unusual doesn’t make it untrue!

  • Amber

    I have to say to number 11 that although it was not a buffalo I used to raise sheep and my Ram got out of the pasture one day and went over to my neighbors house. Everytime he opened the door to try to go to work the ram would charge at him. He did end up calling in sick to work! I would have loved to be the boss on the other end of the phone line that morning!

    Even though it seems rediculous some of these excuses can be a reality. Just like in school when the worst known excuse was my dog ate my homework. I remember my sophmore year of high school I had to bring in my science project or the remnants of to prove that my dog ate it. I really had done the work but it was a model that I made out of raw noodles and my dog ate it while I slept, my teacher laughed becuase all that was left was the trace of glue that held it all together and tons of dog slobber and hair!

  • RJ

    You do realize that there is a such thing as the 3 day measels (I think it may also be called the German Measels)?

    In the are where I live, I can easily see 1 & 23 happening!

    6 & 23 are not as far fetched as you may thin either.

  • Our former HR rep called in due to the fact that her husband had a high fever.

  • Judy

    Some of these are pretty far fetched, but I my dog died I would take a day of vacation to mourn.

  • Christy

    I took time off to take my cat to the vet, and had to call in sick when we had her put down.

    The worst excuse I ever heard for not coming to work was that the power in his building went out so no could get their car out of the parking lot. I was never sure if he was too stupid to know that the gate will open without power by disconnecting it and pulling/pushing it open, or if he thought we were.

  • Susan

    Hey Brian, obviously, you have no medical experience. As a retired nurse I can tell you that elevated fevers can rapidly become deadly. She was doing the prudent thing.

  • Susan, I agree. My husband caught pneumonia and had a high fever. Thank goodness I was home because he was delirious and I had to take him to the ER. I don’t think he could have even thought clearly enough to call 911 on his own.

  • stacy

    When I worked retail we had an employee that called in to work the day after Thanksgiving because she came to the mall and drove around and couldn’t find a parking space so she went back home. Our department manager told her she had 20 minutes to get herself on the sales floor or she was fired. Miraculously….she managed to find a space to park.

  • karyn

    I can see #23 happening. Believe it or not, my inlaws had a skunk in their chimney. Needless to say, no one went over there for quite a few days.

  • If an employee in good standing, with good work attendance, has an occasional odd problem that makes them late or absent, we will work with them.

    But those with checkered history, who have multiple flat tires, repeated dead batteries, local doctor appointments that always require 8 hours of leave time, etc. are the ones we waste an inordinate amount of time dealing with, while were typically empowered to do virtually nothing extra for the good folks who go to great lengths to be at work on time, every day.

  • Jane

    Acutally #13 has been used at our work by the same person that said her dad died 3 times and still got by with not being fired!

  • Renee

    We have deadbolts on all our doors – that require keys to unlock both inside and out. Someone could have locked all the doors, and when this person went to leave did not have a spare key…

  • Joe

    My boss called one day to say he was going to be late because a squirrel got into his car (he lives in a wooded area). While I have no reason to doubt him, like others have noted, strange things can happen.

  • My favorite excuse is “I can’t come into work, my uniform is in the wash.”
    Even if that was true, I don’t think he’d need to take the whole day off ???
    though 27 is pretty funny ^?^