People do the dumbest things sometimes, and sometimes those dumb things can get them fired. It doesn't matter how hard you try, you just can't fix stupid.
A Reddit thread recently asked managers to share their craziest stories about when they had to fire someone. All posts have been edited for the sake of clarity.
He Should Have At Least Been A Little Less Obvious
“Our group had a mini team outing at a bowling place on a Thursday afternoon.
I organized it because I was the manager. We bowled and afterward had a few drinks. One guy decided to have a little too much to drink. Everyone there had to be at work the next day at 7 am, and so I told everyone to take it easy, but this guy just kept taking shots.
I left and went home to sleep, and got to work the next day at 6:45 AM. Guess who called at 8:30 with some excuse about being sick? Yep. Fired.”
She Wasn’t A Smooth Criminal
“I was managing a restaurant, and I noticed a new hire had really good tip averages the day before when I had been paying her out.
I did morning cash out where I checked all slips against the information in the computer. The next day, I was going through her slips and noticed a discrepancy. Namely, she had added a one in front of each tip and changed the total.
How could I tell, you ask? SHE USED DIFFERENT COLOR INK! She was fired and we refunded the money.
Seriously, at least use the same color ink.”
This Was The Final Straw
“I was the assistant manager at a store that had an actual time clock and a point system. A point system is basically just a magnet for turnover – one minute late and you get a point the same as if you are 30 minutes late, call in sick you get two points (if I didn’t log it at least 30 minutes prior to your shift), no call no show and you get four points.
It took eight points to get fired at this particular company, and the points were logged at headquarters, not at the facility. I had a single mother (dad bailed when she was pregnant) that worked for me, and she was the best employee any human could ask for; she worked hard, stayed late if it was needed, picked up extra shifts from co-workers that wanted off, and more importantly, she was good at her job.
Well, her son got sick on her way to take him to the babysitter one day, and he projectile vomited blood all over the back seat. I saw the car and it looked like a scene from a horror movie. Needless to say, she didn’t call in, she panicked and took him to the hospital. Boom, she had four points.
Over the next two weeks, he was in the hospital and had random tests (the boy was 4), so when those tests randomly popped up, she would call in to be with him instead of having the grandmother watch him while she was at work. Twice those tests were announced while she was on her way to work, so she had to call in, and I understood why she did (I am a father). I didn’t mind working the long shifts to cover her absence, no decent human would have.
I received a call the day after her second call in, while the child was being tested, and corporate made my heart sink. I had to fire this woman, whose son was in the hospital, possibly dying, and I had to tell her that she was no longer employed. I spent five hours arguing on her behalf to corporate, but it was to no avail.
She came in the next day, I fired her like I was supposed to. I told her why they were doing it, and I explained to her the phone calls I had made, and that they just didn’t care about her situation. I gave her my cell and told her to use me as both a reference and to list me as her supervisor. Then I immediately quit my job, without notice. I set my keys to the store in the back office, and walked out of the office and through the store with her – we walked out of the building together. I’ve given her a few recommendations since then and she was employed a few days after I fired her. And luckily her son was fine in the end. He had gotten ahold of a toy that had some bleach on it from being cleaned.”
You Would Think They Would Have Known Better
“My favorite event happened right after Christmas in 2012. The grooming salon needed some extra help washing dogs, so I hired a sweet, young red-headed girl we will call Lizzy. Now, the head groomer and her assistant were a pair of mean girls and decided they didn’t like Lizzy, so they came up with a plan to make Lizzy leave. Lizzy had just gotten a nice new purse for Christmas, so the head groomer and her assistant decided, ‘Hey, let’s ruin Lizzy’s purse!’
When Lizzy found what they did, she came running to me crying with the most awful smelling purse in the world. Thankfully, the groomer mean girls weren’t too smart and did it right in front of a camera. Lizzy and I both sat horrified as we watched it.
When I was firing the two girls, they told me the whole process: They decided to collect dog feces, gland secretions, and old rotten Chinese food, mix it all in a baggie and let it ferment for a week. Then they poured it into the poor girl’s bag.
Both of these women were in their early 30s with children.”
They Couldn’t Think Of A Better Place To Light Up?
“Years ago, I temped in a clean room working on computer parts.
One day, I suddenly smelled something that smelled like pot in the clean room, which wasn’t supposed to happen, ever. Next thing I knew, everybody was getting up. I followed the crowd.
There were two clean rooms separated by a hallway. In the middle, there was a room that cleaned the air that circulated into the two clean rooms. The crowd from our clean room converged with a crowd from the other clean room, and the supervisors went in. Inside were a couple of guys smoking in the back.
They thought it was the perfect spot because the air was being pulled out of the room and they couldn’t smell it. Everything had to be scrapped. Losses in the tens of thousands. Both fired on the spot and the police were called.”
He Made The Mistake Of Letting A New Employee Live With Him… Never Again
“I was working in Australia and hired an American from Oregon, let’s call him Mark. I too am American, important. It wasn’t one simple act but a collection of terrible decisions so grand.
I hired him because I needed someone pronto, and the hiring had to be done, NOW. He was ready to go and able to do this relatively simple lifting job. The next day, he got kicked out of the hostel he was in because ‘someone stole his meat out of the fridge.’ He then asked me if he could stay with me until he found a new hostel, whatever sure. It was the dumbest thing I have ever done.
The next day, I was sitting in my home office and I heard banging. I walked into the kitchen, which was on the other side of the house, and he was in there trying to cut a can of blackberries in half with a butter knife.
Me: ‘Dude, what are you doing?’
Mark: ‘Man what in the world, how are you supposed to open these things, this is bull man!’
Me: ‘Uuuuuuuuhm, with a can opener.’
Mark: ‘What, you mean like one of those things you use to open can a brewski?’ and he makes the hand gesture.
Me: ‘Ya, sorta, it’s brother really, always on a pocket knife together, different ends though.’
Mark: ‘What, those are for brewskis, you’re stupid, how would that even work, all brewski bottles are twist off.’
Forget this, I walk off.
About 10 minutes later, I walked to the kitchen for water and he was sitting on the couch and it looked like he broke the can open with a rock, eating the blackberries with his hands, smiling from ear to ear.
Two days later…
At this point, he had proven to be a horrible, horrible employee, but at home!
Sitting in my office, he just walked in and asked for a pair of socks. I will let people borrow anything of mine except my underwear and socks, nope, nope, nope. His were dirty and he didn’t want to do a load. I told him no and he complained a bit before he walked off.
A few minutes later, he was back and is asking for a pair of scissors.
He grabbed them, said thanks, and walked off.
He walked back into my office but just stood behind me, not saying anything. I ignored him for a solid minute, I could feel the energy building. Finally, I slumped my shoulders and pushed off from my desk and turned around. This dumb fool was so proud of himself; he held up two socks.
Me: ‘What, what is that?’
Him: ‘DUUUUDE!, I made new socks!’
Him: ‘I took one of my old socks, cut it in half, now I have a new pair!’
It suddenly clicked, I hired a spastic.
Me: ‘Dude, what are you talking about? You cut a sock in half, now you just ruined a dirty sock.’
In the back of my brain, I put it together. He thought that the ‘new’ socks he created were the same as a clean pair of socks. One sock covered his toes but not his heel, and one ‘sock’ covered his foot but not his toes nor his heel.
He wore those things for three days to prove a point. I fired him when I caught him bragging to a customer about hourly pay but let’s be honest here, it was the socks and blackberries that did it, among other things.
He didn’t move out for another three days.”
She Had A Thing For Santa Claus
“I used to manage a hotel. You would not believe the number of female employees I had to constantly remind it was against company policy to fool around with the guests. One woman (she was about 20-years-old), who I had to remind this of several times, was caught mid-act doing the horizontal hokey-pokey with a guy who was about 65 and looked like Santa Claus.
After she was fired, one of her coworkers told me that this woman had a thing for Santa Claus and thought she’d never get the opportunity to act on it, so it was worth possibly getting caught and fired. The girl was pretty decent looking, too.”
He Doesn’t Understand The Concept Of Culpability
“I had an employee once test out the fire-suppression system at a restaurant. It turns out, it worked great and we had to shut down the restaurant for four hours in the middle of the day to clean it up. He’s not the dumbest one involved, though.
That honor goes to the guy who told him the suppression system didn’t work so the first idiot would pull it. That guy thought we couldn’t fire him since he didn’t actually pull the pin. That’s right, he thought he could dare someone to do thousands of dollars in damage, and wouldn’t get fired.”
There’s Always A Reason Behind A New Policy
“I had to fire a brand new employee on his second day on the job for backing out the maintenance truck.
He neglected to close the wide-open passenger door, and it got caught on the concrete security pillars. It bent back the door past 90 degrees out.
Then the idiot attempted to drive forward as if nothing happened like he bumped into a curb. Several of our employees had to flag him down halfway down the parking lot because he wouldn’t stop.
‘Oh, my bad,’ was all he said. We started mandatory urine tests for all new employees after that.”
You Can Only Do So Much
“I worked at a car factory where a guy got fired for tasting the rust inhibitor.
This was after he once attempted to slide on his belly under a row of carriers (moved the bumpers on a line throughout the factory) because he thought it would save time.
Direct quote from my boss on the subject: ‘I mean, there are some places for stupid people around here, but this is just beyond stupid. If I put him on the wash, he might wander inside to see how it works.'”
Most Of The Employees Were Surprised, Others Not So Much
“One of the security guys at my company was caught pleasuring himself at work, during the day, at the main reception desk, by a female employee.
When we had his exit interview, we asked him why he did it, and he said he felt really comfortable at work and got carried away while browsing reddit. He’d been with the company for years before this, so it was really unexpected.
The best part was a colleague of mine who came back from vacation a week later and asked what happened to ‘Ron.’ Someone said: ‘He was fired,’ and immediately the guy said: ‘Oh, what, did he get caught touching himself,’ but he didn’t even know, he just got the vibe that Ron would be the type to do that at work.”
This Incident Still Boggles The Manager’s Mind
“I had an 18-year-old employee go to Vegas for a long weekend. He had been late a few times before and had been warned that continued tardiness would result in disciplinary action.
So this Einstein is headed back from Vegas with his buddy after they both blew all their money and they realize that they don’t have enough gas to make it back. He really doesn’t want to be late. Already, you are probably thinking of the multitude of options available to these two fine upstanding citizens. They could call saying they were in a jam, they could beg for $20 and see if anyone took pity on them, or they could steal some gas. They chose none of these options.
The two of them decided the best option was to take a weapon from their trunk, go into a gas station, hold it up, and demand exactly $20. They then drove one mile down the road to the next gas station where they filled up, paid, and were surrounded by the police as they were attempting to pull back onto the road.
When I first heard what happened, I was sure the story must be exaggerated or wrong. I knew the kid wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but I never dreamed anyone could do something so amazingly idiotic. It still boggles my mind.”
They Thought They Were Sly With This One
“I was an editor on my college’s student daily newspaper.
We had a photography staff that would photograph events, sports games, etc., but they’d also sometimes have to do stupid stock photo type things for a feature or trend article. Think of a photo of someone filling out a college application for a story on college admissions, or something like that.
We had two photogs who were apparently in a group of friends that had formed some kind of snake cult (probably had another name that they used, but we called it the snake cult when we found out about it).
The way we found out about it was that we started noticing this weird symbol in the background of some of our feature article photographs — on a post-it-note in the background of a shot of some library books, or in the shape of the food in a photo of some dining hall food for an article about meal plans. Once we discovered it, we looked back and saw it had been going on for months.
So yeah, we had to fire some photogs for slipping cult symbols into our student paper on a regular basis.”
They Could Have Fired Him For Multiple Reasons But Settled On This…
“I worked at a fairly large used bookstore in New York City. We often listed and sold rare books online, and sometimes had really unusual items that were truly one of a kind – signed and numbered, or personally inscribed from one famous person to another, or whatever.
One day, we get a phone call from one of the managers from the huge bookstore up the street (which also happens to be our biggest competitor.) He explains that he has a large stack of merchandise that he is sure was stolen from our store. Apparently, earlier that day, a fellow had come to his store with some books and art prints he was hoping to sell. The manager looked a few of them up and quickly deduced that they were stolen. Two of the items, in particular, were really exceptionally rare and obviously identifiable as belonging to us.
This would have all been bad enough, but the manager had one last piece of information to share. ‘Thing is,’ he said, ‘I’m pretty sure that the guy who brought them in works for you. I’ve seen him over there a bunch of times. He usually works Sundays and Mondays, tall guy, blond hair, wears cowboy shirts, blah blah blah,’ and proceeded to absolutely and without a shadow of a doubt identify our sales associate Dan.
Dan had apparently gone into our rare book room, stolen the books (which were already listed for sale on the internet), walked an entire four blocks to one of the most famous bookstores in the city, and tried to sell his stolen loot to one of the booksellers he saw at least twice a week in our store. Unbelievable.
If we hadn’t fired him for theft, we would have had to fire him for the epic stupidity.”
Great Plan, Terrible Execution
“My friend and I were both district managers for a vendor company that worked in Home Depots building displays and merchandising. One day, one of the workers was on the store phone talking with one of the owners of the company. The owner overheard in the background an in-store page for a manager he knew had been fired a month prior.
It turns out this guy had made an hour-long recording of the inside sounds of a Home Depot and would play it on his stereo anytime someone would call him! He fooled everyone for months! My buddy and I drove to his house and parked outside and called him.
My friend asked him where he was, and he said, ‘I’m at the store.’ We told him, you might want to look out your window. We saw his curtain part a little bit and close fast. We told him don’t bother coming out, you’re fired.
I’ve got to give him credit for the guts and ingenuity though.”
This Guy’s Little Game Had Major Consequences
“All of our lobsters kept dying off and it happened several times.
We are talking several thousands of dollars worth of lobsters gone, and this was even after cleaning the tank a couple of times in case there was some lobster hating germs in there.
It turns outs, one of the overnight floor cleaners was staging gladiatorial lobster battles. Unfortunately, he forgot to wash his hands that were covered in floor cleaning chemicals, and that did not bode well for Spartacus and his armored brethren.”
It Pays To Wait, Here’s What Happens When You Don’t
“I once worked in a retail store where we all had our own access codes that allowed us to do stuff, and if our code didn’t allow us to do it, we weren’t supposed to be doing it.
On this guy’s first day, during training, he managed to catch the General Manager’s code as he was typing it in and used it for about a week. Pretty much gave away thousands of dollars of equipment in the manager’s name. It was particularly stupid because he did it while he still had his trainee position, which required somebody to look over most of what he did if he wanted to give discounts.
If he had waited a few more days, he would have been moved up to full staff member and could have given out most of those discounts anyway without anybody noticing or caring, but he just couldn’t wait to give his friends all the free swag.”