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18 Ridiculous Excuses People Have Used to Get Out of Trouble

Did anyone buy these ridiculous excuses to get out of trouble?

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close-up 100 US dollar bills background tonedilikeyellow/Shutterstock

“Decimal Points Are So Confusing”

A $1,772.50 bank deposit showed up in Randy and Melissa Pratt’s bank account as $177,250. No problem, said the Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, couple. We’ll just quit our jobs, close up the house, and move to sunny Florida. Bye! Of course, banks hate to lose that much money, so they sicced the cops on the Pratts. But the couple swore they weren’t thieves and that it had all been just an honest mistake.
The lame excuse: Her husband was a roofing installer, said Melissa Pratt, so they often got large checks. And, well, all large checks look alike, so they didn’t pay such close attention, because, after all, who pays attention to a check for $177,250?

Did anyone buy it? Would you? Melissa Pratt pleaded guilty to theft, and Randy Pratt was awaiting trial at press time.

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Calculator keys extreme close upSailorr/Shutterstock

“I Was Too Taxed to File”

Charles J. O’Byrne, the top aide to New York governor David Paterson, neglected to file tax returns for five years. “Neglected” is really the wrong word, says his lawyer: O’Byrne couldn’t pay his taxes.
The lame excuse: He suffers from a medical condition called late-filing syndrome, which is caused by depression. And even though this depression did not stop him from being a highly functional professional or enjoying an active social life, it did seem to affect his ability to pay taxes—five years in a row.

Did anyone buy it? Not the American Psychiatric Association. An APA representative told the New York Times that it doesn’t recognize late-filing syndrome as a psychiatric condition. You can’t opt out of paying taxes, but here’s how you can opt out of pretty much everything else.

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Sandwiches with cream cheese, ham and spinach.Natallia Harahliad/Shutterstock

“Our Garbage Is Made from Only the Choicest Trash”

Is it possible that Ralph Reese was fired from a Manhattan Whole Foods as part of a cost-cutting program? The high-end supermarket isn’t talking, except it claimed that Reese was shown the door after he was caught taking food.
Lame excuse: Was it fresh Chilean sea bass? A case of rice milk? A shipment of silken tofu? No, Whole Foods canned Reese for taking a tuna fish sandwich that was being thrown out.

Did anyone buy it? Reese’s attorney, Elizabeth Shollenberger, didn’t. She suspects the company wanted to trim payroll and unemployment insurance costs. She grants that Whole Foods has a policy against employees taking food without paying for it. But still, a tuna fish sandwich? Destined for tuna fish sandwich heaven?

“You wouldn’t think a reasonable person would fire anyone over that,” she says. Indeed, a study by the Urban Institute found that in these economically tough times, more and more companies are charging employees with misconduct so that they can avoid paying unemployment insurance, even to someone like Reese, who’s never been accused of stealing food before. Either way, Reese successfully appealed to get his unemployment benefits.

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Chocolate bar in foil on gray backgroundAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

“No Thong? No Candy? No Mr. Nice Guy!”

Marco Fella of England admitted attacking his girlfriend with a dog toy and, another time, biting her finger. But it wasn’t his fault.
The lame excuse: “My client’s temper snapped because he felt his partner was not making enough effort in the relationship,” said his lawyer.

The lamer excuse: She wore baggy pants instead of the sexy thong he preferred.

The lamerer excuse: Biting and assault with a pet toy aside, Fella is not really violent—he just hadn’t had his fill of Mars bars. See, Fella is a sugar addict and has a ten-Mars-bars-a-day habit. And if he’s jonesing for one, well, he’s not responsible for his actions.

Did anyone buy it? Possibly the Mars, Inc., marketing division, but that’s about it. Fella enrolled in an anger management course.

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Golden cold beer being poured into the glass with frothy foamAtstock Productions/Shutterstock

“My Hands Are Clean—My Liver, Not So Much”

When in doubt, blame booze! Unless, of course, the drunk excuse only makes matters worse. Last year, then–New York congressman Vito Fossella was pulled over in Alexandria, Virginia, by a cop and blew a 0.17 on the Breathalyzer—more than twice the legal limit. After the hangover, Fossella knew he’d better start thinking fast.
The lame excuse: His high blood alcohol level was a result of the alcohol-based hand sanitizer he’d used.

Did anyone buy it? After several “What do you take us for?” looks from the cops, DAs, the press—pretty much everyone—Fossella changed his plea from DUIHS (driving under the influence of hand sanitizer) to good old-fashioned DUI. There’s no excuse for drinking and driving. You might not realize it, but you could have a problem with if you drink and drive or if these 7 binge drinking signs apply to you.

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Red onion halves, texture details and pattern, flat lay from abovemarcin jucha/Shutterstock

“Frankly, I’m a Shallots Man Myself”

Peter Ivan Dunne was awaiting trial in Ireland, charged with a sex crime. Before the trial ended, he fled to England and was convicted in absentia. About to be extradited, he explained to a British court that he should not be sent back, because his experience with the Irish penal system had led him to believe that his right to life, as spelled out by article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, would be violated.
The lame excuse: They’d serve him red onions. Dunne’s allergic to them, and he was sure the prison would make him eat the “potentially life-threatening” vegetable.

Did anyone buy it? The court decided that it was doubtful that the prison would have such a “cavalier attitude” toward his allergy and shipped Dunne back to Ireland.

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Fuel gauge dash board close upEnsuper/Shutterstock

More: Take This Job and …

Thinking of playing hooky from work? Keep in mind that 38 percent of employers check up on employees who call in sick, and 26 percent have fired workers for going AWOL without a really good lame excuse like these, according to

Lame excuse: “A bear is in my yard and I’m afraid to come outside.”

Lame excuse: “I ate a toothpick in my food at a restaurant.”

Lame excuse: “I broke my arm while wrestling a female bodybuilder.”

Lame excuse: “My dog swallowed my car keys and I’m waiting for them to come out.”

Lame excuse: “I don’t have enough money for gas.”

Lame excuse: “I had to reschedule a new manicure because some of my artificial nails fell off.”

Lame excuse: “I left my clothes at the laundry mat.”

If these excuses are inspiring, check out these 60 ridiculous excuses people actually used to get out of work.

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American Football Close up on Field with yard lines in the distanceDavid Lee/Shutterstock

Even More: Calling eHarmony!

Breaking up is hard to do, as these romance-quashing excuses from online dating services prove.
Lame excuse: “My dog has been suffering from depression, and I really think he and I need some time together.”

Lame excuse: “My friend is going to be on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and I’m her phone friend, and you know what these shows are like. They could ring anytime.”

Lame excuse: “The football season has just started. I’ll call you when it’s ended.”

The longer you wait, the harder it gets to break up with someone. So be on the lookout for these 9 signs your relationship is headed towards a breakup before coming up with your own excuses.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Andy Simmons
Andy Simmons is a features editor at Reader's Digest.