Tardiness: A Satirical Analysis of the “Best” Excuses

Completely off topic from trucking defense, but still associated with employee management, I thought I would share some of the best excuses for tardiness anticipating so lame excuse for tardiness over an employee’s anticipated surgery. (side note: I am being sarcastic for the purpose of satire so calm down.)

A dozen HR professionals and hiring managers out of a poll of 2,201 shared excuses they’ve heard from employees arriving late to work that are so silly that they’re hilarious.


The following were actual excuses given and determined be the best in a  survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the surveying masters at Career Builder:

  • Zebra congestion. Employee claimed a zebra running down the highway held up traffic (turned out to be true).
  • Rough night. Employee woke up on the front lawn of a house two blocks away from his home.
  • Feline shenanigans. Employee’s cat got stuck in the toilet.
  • Couldn’t make breakfast. Employee ran out of milk for cereal and had to buy some before getting ready for work.
  • Cozy parking. Employee was late to work because he fell asleep in the car when he got to work.
  • Temporary blindness. Employee accidentally put superglue in her eye instead of contact lens resolution, and had to go to the emergency room. How did she get there?
  • Free candy = national holiday. Employee thought Halloween was a work holiday.
  • Roofing issues. Employee said a hole in the roof caused rain to fall on the alarm clock and it didn’t go off.
  • The suspense was brutal. Employee was watching something on TV and really wanted to see the end.
  • Short-term memory loss. Employee forgot that the company had changed locations.
  • Tangled. Employee got a hairbrush stuck in her hair.
  • Boogeyman paid a visit. Employee was scared by a nightmare.

Survey says:


Traffic No. 1 excuse overall
A few more I anticipate hearing  due the vasectomy…uh surgical procedural:

1.       There was excessive pinching.
2.       We could not find enough ice.
3.       The ice bag dripped and got the sheets wet.
4.       We didn’t have any frozen peas.

Those offbeat excuses aside, most employees stick to convention when giving reasons for their tardiness. In addition to HR and hiring pros, the survey also polled 3,008 full-time employees. The employee portion of the survey found these to be the most common reasons employees say they’re late:

-Traffic (39%)

-Lack of sleep (19%)

-Problems with public transportation (8%)

-Bad weather (7%), and

Dropping the kids off at daycare or school (6%).
Just how often are employees making excuses?

Nearly one-quarter (23%) say they’re late at least once a month, and 15% admit they arrive late at least once a week.


Only 35% of employers say they’ve fired a worker for tardiness, and another 34% say they try to work with employees — allowing them to arrive late once in a while as long as it doesn’t become a pattern. Nearly one in five (18%) of employers don’t care how employees manage their time as long as the work gets done.

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