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17 of the most bizarre excuses people have used to explain why they were late for work

“Hi boss. Sorry I was late today. I had to finish watching “My Name is Earl.”

While that may sound like a completely ridiculous excuse for running behind, an employee actually used it this year, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.

The survey, which was conducted online by Harris Poll among 2,595 hiring managers and more than 3,252 employees, found that one in four workers come in late to work at least once a month, while 13% come in late once a week.

The survey also asked employers and employees why people couldn’t get to work on time. While most blame their tardiness on common culprits like traffic, oversleeping, bad weather, lack of sleep, and needing to get kids to daycare or school — others offer much more bizarre excuses.

They’re not all necessarily lies — but they certainly sound odd and sound suspicious.

If you are running late, your best bet is to be honest, but not share too many details with your manager, says Peter Bregman, a CEO and author of “Four Seconds: All the Time You Need to Stop Counter-Productive Habits and Get the Results You Want. You should also acknowledge the impact that your lateness had on the people you kept waiting, he says.

Bregman believes a quick, “Sorry for keeping you waiting” or “Thank you for your flexibility,” is sufficient.

Below are some examples of what not to say.

Here are 17 of the most bizarre excuses employees have actually used, according to CareerBuilder:

'I forgot to stop and get cupcakes so I went back home and baked some.'


'I thought of quitting today, but then decided not to, so I came in late.'

Patti Perret/FOX

'I was detained by Homeland Security.'

Mark Kolbe/ Getty Images.

'My hair caught on fire from my blow dryer.'


'I had to chase my cows back into the field.'

Getty Images

'There was fresh powder on the hill. I had to go skiing.'

Business Insider/Jacquelyn Smith

'A black bear entered my carport and decided to take a nap on the hood of my car.'

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

'There was a store grand opening and I wanted to get the opening day sales.'

Adam Berry / Stringer / Getty Images

'My lizard had to have emergency surgery in the morning and died during surgery. I had to mourn while deciding whether to have the lizard disposed of by the vet or bring the lizard corpse with me to work.'


'I had to finish watching 'My Name is Earl.''

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

'A Vaseline truck overturned on the highway and cars were slipping left and right.'


'All of my clothes were stolen.'

Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

'The hair on my head hurt.'


'I was confused by the time change and unsure if it was 'spring forward' or 'fall back.''

Win McNamee/Getty Images

'There are spies hacking my phone, peeping into my house and following my car. I had to leave at a different time to throw them off.'

Photo: Spectre/ IMDb

'My husband is sick.' (But this employee did not have a husband.)


'I couldn't get my pajamas off.'

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