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Shouldn’t you be shopping?


My first Black Friday experience is something that has stuck with me—a wholly singular, unforgettable event, the details of which, on this day each year, run through my head on an endless loop. Why so unforgettable? I have a theory or two, but after considerable reflection have settled on this one as being the most probable: what makes Black Friday memorable is ultimately what makes it something you wish you could forget. It is an experience located between two poles: shock/trauma and elation. It mixes the grandeur and simple pleasure of an earliest childhood memory with the horror of being a constituent, yet invisible part a single-minded plague of consumers, clearing away neatly folded and organized collared shirts, and stripping sweaters off clothes hangers like a black cloud of locus. I return each year, drawn back by the feeling of joy that accompanies purchasing garments for 1/7 their retail price, and that sense of moral panic—like Dr. Jekyll concealing certain elements of his personality from public view, I give in to the consumer I usually hide away, and become consumption. Every now and again, on Black Friday, while in the center of the hoard, I’ll peer around in wonderment, pondering, with intrigue, what it is that the people who surround me do for a living, and whether they offered their employer an honest reason for taking the day off.

Naturally, around this time each year, some employees, focused on the holiday season, and who are running low on energy stores, may reach deep into their carpetbag of excuses, and pull out those rarely-used, ludicrous reasons for missing work. A few times a year Career Builder surveys the workforce, and picks out those most absurd, Vonnegut-esque excuses, ones which straddle the line between reality and absurdity (the line between which, some respondents would probably feel the need to interject, is not always clear). Here are some of Career Builder’s more “colorful” examples. Breathe easy knowing that whatever reason you gave to take today off of work, likely rings more true than any of the following. Enjoy!

  • “Employee’s sobriety tool wouldn’t allow the car to start.”
  • “Employee forgot he had been hired for the job.”
  • “Employee said her dog was having a nervous breakdown.”
  • “Employee’s dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation.”
  • “Employee’s toe was stuck in a faucet.”
  • “Employee said a bird bit her.”
  • “Employee was upset after watching ‘The Hunger Games.’”
  • “Employee got sick from reading too much.”
  • “Employee was suffering from a broken heart.”
  • “Employee’s hair turned orange from dying her hair at home.”

To read the full list, visit Career Builder’s site. Wherever you are, enjoy Black Friday!