Top Ten Things Not to Say as an Excuse



The inspiration for this list has been my exposure to a number of excuses as to why things have not been fixed. Even worse were the excuses for not showing up.


10 If you need an excuse for not showing up, do not say “I got too busy.” If you do at best you won’t be invited back. At worst, you will have convinced your customer that they are last in your priority scheme. (Sooner or later you will run out of customers, Bardot.)

9 If you need an excuse for missing a birthday, Do not say, “You never age in my eyes.” If you do, at best your birthday will be payback. At worst, you’ll have a long time until forgiveness. (How’s that dog house in the winter, Bastian?)

8 If you need an excuse for being late for work, do not say, “Traffic was heavy today.” If you do, at best the boss will wonder why your co-works all made it on time. At worst, you’ll open yourself to the suggestion that you car pool with Tiny the WWF champ who like to eat garlic sandwiches for breakfast. (That gas mask just doesn’t help does it, Bennet?)

7 If you need an excuse for not buying Girl Scout cookies, do not say,” I just bought some at work.” If you do and have not, at best you’ll be found out. At worst, the scout you turned down will miss her quota by one box and will be shamed into a life of crime. (Okay maybe a little dramatic, Bertie but think of the hurt feelings.)

6 If you need an excuse for avoiding inviting the boss for dinner, do not say, “We have black mold at our house.” If you do, at best you’ll be eating your lunch alone. At worst, your boss will insist on a decontamination procedure that will leave you hairless. (Don’t worry Brandon, most of the hair will grow back over time. Sorry about that patch up front.)

5 If you need an excuse  for a dented rental car, do not say, “I have no idea how that got there.” If you do, at best you’ll be ignored. At worst, your insurance company will add an increment to your premium reflecting stupidity. (Should have just admitted someone hit the car huh, Brock?)

4 If you need an excuse when caught re-gifting to the person who gifted you in the first place, do not say, “I loved this and you so much I wanted you to have it back.” If you do, at best your pants will catch on fire. At worst, your ex friend will most likely throw the item at you. (You are glad it wasn’t that bar bell set you were going to palm off on him, right Bartlett?)

3 If you need an excuse when pulled over by the police for speeding, do not say, “I’ll bet you want to remind me about the policeman’s ball.” If you do, at best the officer won’t hear you. At worst, your words could be understood as offering a bribe. (Those cuffs behind the back are uncomfortable aren’t they, Barty?)

2 If you need an excuse for coming home at two o’clock in the morning smelling like a brewery do not say, “I was working late.” If you do, at best all conversation will stop until the morning. At worst, the morning conversation will be accompanied by the headache and upset stomach commonly associated with a hangover. (Why didn’t you just admit you partied too much, Buford?)

1 If you need an excuse for avoiding a visit to the in-laws do not say, “I have to work.” If you do, at best you’ll be ignored. At worst, since it is Sunday you’ll be caught in a fib which will take on increasingly larger proportions as the day gets longer. (How will you ever work out of this one, Belvin?)


  1. ALL funny, but my favorite was #3. How ’bout a post with the top 10 BEST excuses? I could use the help – lol.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    1. Thank you, Madelyn. I’ll have to think on that one. 😀

  2. This is why I go for the tried and true disease excuse. Rarely fails and you can get a little extra sleep out of it.

    1. Bubonic plague might be a little too far. 😀

      1. True. Can’t go wrong with bear flu.

      2. I like Bear Flu. I don’t think anyone can dispute that one.

  3. “We have black mold at our house.” LOL! That’s a good one. Love the meme! Happy Monday!

    1. Thanks, Jill. have a good one.

  4. Gwen Plano · ·

    LOL! Those Girl Scout cookies will get you every time. “A life of crime?” Really? Too funny… 😀

    PS…I loved the meme! Have a great day….

    1. Thank you, Gwen. You as well.

  5. The black mold one deserves style points though.

    1. What do you think? Ten points?

  6. I particularly liked: “…at best your pants will catch on fire.” I once had to fire an employee who was chronically late for work. I think I heard every excuse ever conceived, but I’m sure he would have had more had I let him stick around. His best was that he was stopped for speeding, so he could get to work on time.

    1. Ha ha ha. I liked the old joke where the guy tells the cop the reason he was speeding. “So I could meet up with you.”

      1. This kid was clocked at 105 – he told the cop “my boss has been on my case because I’m always late” The cop said “I think he probably wanted you to drag your dumb ass out of bed earlier, not go twice the speed limit.”

      2. ha ha ha. Love it.

  7. I loved Tiny and the garlic sandwiches and the black mold decontamination that caused baldness. I could imagine both happening. Good list, John. 😀 — Suzanne

    1. ha ha ha, Suzanne. 😀

  8. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    John’s list of excuses not to use.

    1. Thank you, Suzanne.

  9. Great list, John!

  10. Always pays to tell the truth … but tactfully. Hard to redeem one’s reputation once caught in a lie.

    1. There are exceptions like the answer to the question, “Do these shoes make my feet look big.”

      1. True, especially if it’s the wife asking that kind of question!!

  11. D.L Finn, Author · ·

    I try to say as little as possible when pulled over by police because it is very likely I might say just that:) Another great list that put a smile on my face.

    1. Smiles are good. I never give an excuse to a police officer who has pulled me over. Not really worth the time. I was stopped and the officer asked if I knew how fast I was going. I said, “81.” He said, “Are you aware the speed limit is 70?” I said, “No but it looks like I’m not going to forget.” He said, “Yup.” I said, “Well, I haven’t had a ticket in 30 years so I think I’m due.” He said, “Glad to oblige.”

      1. D.L Finn, Author · ·

        No, not if they are already writing when they walk up….but you would think 30 years would give you one free pass…lol.

      2. It was okay. I really deserved it. 😀

  12. Another great list, John. I loved the one about the Girl Guide cookies too!

  13. I think Tiny works in my office…every once in awhile, around lunch hour, the garlic smells floats over the cubicles.

    1. Can’t be Tiny. You would smell the garlic along with your morning coffee.

  14. Very funny ones, John! An excuse that used to work for the Girl Scout cookies is that you or someone in your house has celiac, but now they have gluten free, so I’m sunk. I mean, someone would be.

    1. My problem is I could finish a whole box. Thanks, Luanne.

      1. You can see that I don’t like them very much, but they are small and so of course once one starts one has to finish . . . .

  15. Very funny, John. A great way to end Monday.

    1. Thank you, Robbie. 😀

  16. Ha! A great list… I’ve heard a few too 😊

  17. Hahaha… You slayed me with the “black mold” thing, John.
    I had a professor who claimed that she got out of a speeding ticket by saying she really, REALLY had to go to the bathroom. I don’t think she could have made that work unless she added a loud fart for effect though…

    1. Ha ha h. That would have been perfect. A pack of Limburger cheese on the front seat would have lent an aura of olfactory legitimacy when the window was rolled down. I can here the officer, “Lady please move on.”

  18. Sigh. Now we need a list of the BEST excuses. I could sure use the help! That dead fish sure still smells funny to me.

    1. Ha ha ha. Thanks, Soooz.

  19. The Girl Scout cookies one came back to haunt me once.

    1. I still have dreams of helping meet the quota.

  20. I loved this so much I wanted you to have it back…lol. These were funny!

  21. I don’t think commuting with Tiny would be enjoyable garlic or not. 🙂

    Girl Scout Cookies! They’re too good to refuse! I’m down to my last two boxes in my freezer. I’m looking forward to next year’s sale to restock it. 🙂

    1. Ha ha ha. Slip me a tag-a-long.

      1. OMG! How did you know that is one of the two boxes I have left!!! The other is Thin Mints. 🙂
        The Tagalongs are for the guys who love, love, love peanut butter, and the Thin Mints are for ME! 🙂

      2. They are always in the freezer. I like the mints too.

  22. Thanks for the smiles, John! The Girl Scout cookies stood out because my daughter was a G.S. Those quotas and a life a crime…too funny!

    1. Glad you liked it. I was close to the GS cookie situation myself.

  23. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out the latest top ten list from John Howell’s blog on the top ten things not to say as an excuse.

  24. Another great list John. Wanted to let you know that I received an email from Amazon recommending your new book. Looks like you’re getting some marketing.

    1. Thank you, Don. Also thanks for the heads up on Amazon.

      1. You’re welcome

  25. Another wonderful top ten things sushi-san-John-set!

    There is a good joke on a topic of excuses: Once a husband returns home very late, wearing a blouse, with a bra in his pocket. ‘Where have you been?’ his wife asks him surprised and angry. ‘My dear, you won’t believe, but, please, do! I was kidnapped by aliens.’ 🙂

    1. Ha ha ha. Good one, Maria.

      1. 🙂 Keep in mind! 😉

  26. Oh my goodness, I’ll never upset a girl scout ever again. I’ll buy the cookies, I’ll buy the cookies (and any she has spare). And, as for #4, my niece’s pants must have caught fire a lot of times. 😁

    1. Ha ha ha, Hugh. so funny. Thanks.

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