Fired for Eating Pizza?

September 6, 2005 ( - There have been surveys about the oddest job interviews, most bizarre resumes, and even the most unusual excuses for missing a day of work.

But now Simply Hired, an online job search site, has given us some of the most bizarre reasons for being fired. The “winner” of the contest was Jim Garrison, 39, a computer programmer who had been working for a mortgage company for about 18 months when, “…one day I saw that a different group in my company had just finished up a pot-luck and had some pizza left over. I thought they would probably end up throwing it away and I was kind of hungry so I went for it … I took a slice of pizza. Apparently the employees who threw this pot luck were planning to take it home and were offended by my action…These employees ended up telling their manager, who told her vice president about what I did.” After he was fired, Garrison says, “I know that I left an impression because to this day my former coworkers refer to unattended pizza as “programmer bait”.

Garrison’s decision to help himself to that pizza was just one of some 1,000 entrants in the contest, and he’ll win a free Caribbean cruise that will include passengers famously fired by Donald Trump on his popular television show, “The Apprentice.”

Runners Up

One of the four “runners up” was also a computer programmer who was forced to spend what he thought was an inordinate amount of time safeguarding the software against a situation that could, in his words, “…only happen if the code was grossly misused.” Having addressed the situation in the code, he apparently also made the code return an error code that accused the user of not knowing what they were doing. “Actually, I used the word STUPID in capital letters,” he said. While he claims he had meant to remove the code, he forgot – and about a year later an important customer did just what the programmer thought was all but impossible…and got the imbedded error message, which ultimately got the programmer fired.

The other runners up (they’ll each get an iPod) weren’t in technology, however. They were from a furniture mover who got fired after he and a co-worker were caught fencing with some adult sex toys that they found in a customer’s bedroom (and fired by his father, who owned the firm, no less); a warehouse worker engaged in some perverse activities with the prosthetics made by his employer, and a worker who was either hard of hearing (or very stupid), who misunderstood a manager’s instructions to send some sensitive data to microfilm as a directive to forward it to a “Michael Finn” instead.

You can check out the rest of the survey results at