Being the boss didn’t stop him from saying insensitive things, acting utterly clueless and making everyone around him cringe from his lack of social skills.
Here are our favorite real-life Michael Scott-isms that we’ve found on Reddit.
1. Donut worry, be happy
This is a story from my brother. He works at a credit union and one morning around 10:00 a.m. his boss walks out of his office asking if anyone wants the other half of his huge bran muffin.
Everyone said they were fine and the boss went back into his office.
Later, around noon, an employee comes in for her shift with a box full of doughnuts to share with the office. Everyone came up and took one thanking the employee for bringing in the treat.
The boss was visibly mad that everyone went for the doughnuts and no one wanted the other half of the bran muffin.
2. Speeding costs you
I had a boss who was promoted to senior manager.
The very next day he pulled into the parking lot with a BMW 1-Series. No one on my team even knew they made a 1 series (cheapest possible BMW/badge car). He gets out wearing a BMW polo and a white BMW hat.
He offered to take me to lunch in it. He jumps on the highway, adjusts his BMW hat and says to me, "I don't exactly do 60 in this thing!" Does a little triumphant laughter and starts going 80 mph.
There was a cop on the bridge above us. We were immediately pulled over. I will never forget the look of defeat on his face.
3. Have a mice day
We had mice. Boss man was terrified of mice and didn't want to pay for an exterminator.
His big idea (I kid you not!) was to give me cotton to put in my ears and a air horn.
He then opened the back door, closed all other doors in the little shop, and I had to attempt to herd mice out of the store with an air horn, with cotton balls sticking out of my ears.
I tried to explain why it wouldn't work, but he essentially told me not to worry over it, and that was my entire afternoon. Most ridiculous thing I've ever done at a job.
4. They can still hear you
We had a particularly demanding client and a couple of the project managers were having trouble keeping him pleased.
After hearing them complain, Larry (the boss) pulled out his flip phone and said, "Let's call him right now," and put him on speakerphone.
After making a show of being the "tough guy" and putting him in his place, he flipped the phone closed and put it in his shirt pocket.
He proudly told the room, "You see, that's how you handle a jerk." Then, from his pocket, we heard, "I'm still here, sir!"
Larry fumbled for his phone while stammering, hung it up correctly and dismissed us.
5. He didn’t meat their expectations
I had a boss who kept talking about this restaurant. He was going to take us to this amazing place he discovered.
One day he loads us all in his car and drives us about an hour away from the office — to eat at this amazing restaurant.
The whole time he's telling us that he's going to help us order because it's super trendy and we wouldn't understand the menu.
We get to the place — it's Thundercloud. The local equivalent of Subway.
Not only that, but there is a Thundercloud location less than a mile from the office. He was so crestfallen when we weren't totally blown away by his amazing trendy sandwich place.
6. Almost made the home run
We are a medium-sized company in a business that is dominated by two huge companies. We had a meeting where we had to present products to a distributor.
My boss is at that meeting, as is my co-worker who is presenting. This is a big deal for us.
My boss is on his laptop during the meeting. Not a huge deal, but he should be paying attention. Mid-sentence and out of nowhere my boss kinda yells, “Yes!!”
My co-worker stops and immediately asks in a friendly way, “You have something to say?”
My boss replies, “No, sorry, Manny just slid safe into 3rd.”
He was watching the Red Sox game.
7. Peace and ice cream
Mandatory staff appreciation day. We are encouraged to come in on our day off with the promise of getting paid for the party.
They talked up how it was a 1970s theme and it was going to be a lot of fun with games. My boss even convinced me to grow out my sideburns.
For starters, I walk into work and everyone is dressed as hippies. No disco anything.
Then, my boss is there, the two of us the only ones looking remotely disco and he commences with the festivities.
First, we did a powerpoint presentation. Then, he kicked off karaoke for which he had pre-selected the songs and the participants. Finally, we lined up to collect one ice cream sandwich and return to work.
8. Take a seat
At a special meeting designed to teach employees inventory management, the boss made us stand up from our seats. He played the song, “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones, and told us to walk around the table.
When the music stopped we had to sit down in the chair closest to us, just like musical chairs. He played the whole song as we all walked around awkwardly expecting him to randomly stop the song.
To make it cringier there was a class clown type of guy who was walking around the table, except in the opposite direction because he thought it was funny.
And when we all sat down at the end of the song the boss said, “Look under your seats!” And the class clown ended up with the gift card, much to the annoyance of our boss.
9. Not a very brew-tiful gesture
I had a boss who always complained about personal finances and yet would splurge on Starbucks.
There were three of us in the office and we would occasionally take turns getting coffee for each other.
On one notable occasion, she announced that she was going to get coffee from McDonalds and asked what we wanted.
My co-worker and I each asked for a medium Americano, to which the boss replied that she would have to see if she had any coupons to cover the extra cost (approximately 50 cents).
She returned with two non-Americano coffees (because it was too costly for her to cover) and a plastic plant with glitter on it with a $7 price tag.
No awareness whatsoever.
10. Let that sink in
I had the job of installing an 8-camera security system around the warehouse.
My boss was so insistent on finding out who was leaving dirty dishes in the employee sink in the break room, that he had me install a camera over the sink. He had me (of course) scavenge the video after each incident.
He would schedule meetings with the perpetrators and play back the videos with me, so he could make a big deal out of it.
He never fired anyone over it, it was just a time waster when I had a million other things to do.
11. They just needed to chill out
My first job straight out of college was in sales and the branch manager was a very nice guy but just kind of lackluster as a leader.
Every day we would make some calls, go out and do some cold calling, and then come back to the office to make some follow-up calls before heading home.
One day we all get calls to be back at the office on time for a very important announcement. We’re all panicked to an extent because things hadn't been going great, numbers are down, etc.
We get back and he keeps us waiting for like 30 minutes. Then finally shows up and hands out ice cream sandwiches. That was the important announcement.
12. They should taco ‘bout it
I worked for a law firm in LA where we had to stay and work crazy long nights over the period of a few weeks.
To try and make things more bearable, the managing partner decided to assign one person each night the task of ordering food of their ethnicity.
One night, she asked an attorney with an Indian background to order Indian food (he had never been to India or raised culturally Indian).
The next, an attorney with a Chinese background, was asked to order Chinese food (he had come to the U.S. about 6 months prior and knew nothing about the restaurants nearby).
Another night she asked a paralegal with an Italian last name to order pizza.
13. The boss received a ham-some bonus
One Christmas our whole division had been promised Christmas bonuses of $600 each.
Three days before Christmas, the boss came and told us the bad news — the bonus was cancelled. Misery all around.
To lift spirits a little, the boss went out and spent his own money and bought us each (about 30 people) a canned Christmas ham, which everyone was pretty appreciative about.
Two months later the yearly financial report came out. I couldn't help but notice that each division chief received their Christmas bonus, about $40,000 in the case of my boss.
Kind of put the whole canned ham thing in perspective for me.
14. That’s the ticket
My boss had season tickets for our city's NBA team. He was generous with sharing the tickets with employees, but if you got the tickets, you had to go.
He offered me two tickets and I was happy to have them. Toward the end of the day he asked if I was going with anyone. I said either my girlfriend or a friend or my neighbor, whoever got back to me first.
He said, "Actually, I told Joe (a coworker nobody liked) that he can go with you. You guys don't seem to like each other so this will be a good team building event!"
Joe was standing right there so there was no way I could say no.
To say it was an awkward and unpleasant evening would be a gross understatement.
15. Such a ribbeting plan
I had a boss that called a lunch meeting at a restaurant.
He gets everyone’s attention and hands out these little frogs to make an illustration that he wants us to “eat the big frog first” on our projects. It wasn’t until he passed them out that he found out the frogs had a squeaker in them.
He immediately loses all control of the meeting and everyone (maybe six coworkers) start squeaking their frog and not listening to him speak at all.
He got so mad he had to take them back from everyone and decided to hand them back out at the office. When we got them back everyone started squeaking them — it was hilarious. He had this look of total frustration on his face that no one took it seriously at all.
16. They donut think this was a good idea
I worked at an entertainment center. Without consulting anybody working — seriously, not a soul — on the food side of the business, my manager purchased a very expensive donut making machine.
She did not know how to operate it, but had the bright idea that the grill guys were going to learn to make donuts. We were going to sell six of them for $13. You could drive a block to the nearest shop and get a dozen donuts for $7.
I don’t think the machine ever got set up, it just quietly disappeared into a back storage room with the rest of her brilliant projects.
17. Throwing his weight around
I was working out during my lunch break at the company gym. The CEO of my company walks into the gym with three visiting surgeons and challenges them to a competitive javelin toss.
We have (non-weapon) javelins and a target so people can practice for Spartan races. Everyone throws javelins. He beats all of the surgeons, without an ounce of effort, because he has been training for this moment, then proceeds to make fun of them for being worse than him at the javelin toss.
After that, he takes a jab at competing companies, saying that they probably don’t even have javelins on the premises.
18. Time flies
Boss thought I should be getting more work done, so he sends me to a one-day time management course.
Not sure where he found the course, but the speaker got up and said, "The reason you are here is because your boss thinks you should be working more, so this course will show you how to better manage your boss.”
Taught us how to better clarify what work we were doing and justify why certain tasks took a certain amount of time. It ended up being a course with almost nothing about time management and otherwise consisted entirely of teaching us how to stand up to our bosses.
When I returned, I told my boss how helpful the course was. I hope he sends lots of people there.
19. He wanted everyone to know aboat it
We hired a new person and we had a meeting in the conference room. We each had to say a fact about ourselves, so the new person could get to know us.
There was one guy who the boss really liked and thought was very cool. When it was his turn, the boss said, “Tell them about your fishing boat.” Then the boss stood there grinning like an idiot as the guy said he liked to go fishing.
Then it got to the next guy, who he really didn't like, and that guy goes to say how he and his wife are fostering a baby who was born with an addiction and how it is difficult, but rewarding.
My boss was all, “Yeah, but have you got a boat?”
20. She overstayed her welcome
I had just started working for a company two weeks before a big event.
On a Saturday, my boss texts me and says that a project needs to be completed by Monday morning. She said she would be stopping by my home on Sunday mid-day to lead the project.
Although this made me uncomfortable, I was still new, so I didn’t want to piss anyone off. My boss shows up at about 9:00 a.m., but just talks until about 2:00 p.m.
Once we start, the project takes about 90 minutes to complete. My boss ends up staying until 8:00 p.m. exploring my house, watching TV and more small talk.
21. It was his own call to make
One of my jobs used to start the day with a video conference where all the sites would check in and they’d go over all their daily tasks.
One morning one of the sites was experiencing video issues and they told the boss of that site they can’t see them, but can hear them. At the end of the meeting this boss was asked, “Could you get some people to do (whatever it was)?”
He walked up to the camera and started flipping the bird and saying he’d get some one on it, all while motioning to the rest of the team in his room and making crazy faces.
Then that's when the chair of the meeting piped up and said, “The video issue is resolved. We can see you.”
He just silently left the room and didn’t come out his office for a few days.
22. He grilled everyone about their food
Our annual summer work outing was a BBQ at the bosses new house. It was a BYOF and BYOB event. Not a big deal at first, until everyone gets there and our boss was literally taking note of what everyone brought.
So there we are, all 20 of us sharing about 16 burgers and a spoon of potato salad. The boss of course fires up his own grill and serves his family two full racks of ribs.
Then, we just had to stay because his kids wanted to sing and set off fireworks.
The burger and potato salad ration was not accurate, but he would say, “Oh you brought chips? Guess that's all you wanted to eat.”
23. Paper trail
My old boss hated doing paperwork. We had about 10 different folders for each daily task, such as multiple stock checks, delivery dockets and cash forms.
When our store got audited, they discovered an 11th folder on the shelf. It contained every piece of paper we had handed him each day. It was all those stock checks, delivery dockets and cash forms that he was supposed to do, all only half done.
He would start the tasks and when you would walk away from him, he would just stop doing it and hide the evidence in his secret folder.
There was also empty candy wrappers stuck between the files as well. It seems that he would let it all pile up on his desk and when it got too high, he would just hide it all in an empty folder.
24. He started as a fun sucker, but became soul refreshing
My boss intercepted some emails between a couple of coworkers in which they were referring to him as "the fun sucker," (which he totally is).
After that, he was noticeably mopey. Any time he came over to our desks, he'd say something like, "Don't mind me, just the fun sucker coming around to suck the fun from your day."
One day, we get called into the conference room. He's got a scoreboard drawn up on the whiteboard and an old trophy he'd bought from a thrift store.
He'd orchestrated a Harry Potter trivia contest for us, despite his total lack of knowledge on the subject.
It was awesome, save for the fact that any time it became obvious how much we were enjoying it, he'd shout, "I'm really redeeming myself for fun sucking!” which would make things uncomfortable for a few seconds.
25. Crime Scene Investigation
A new push for customer service: the Customer Service Initiative (CSI).
The whole place went from totally sterile to absolutely clustered with posters and props.
There were downright weird sayings like, "Don't flee the crime scene without your proper closing!" or "The criminal always returns to the scene of the crime — as long as they were greeted with a smile."
It was weird. Like, uncomfortable weird.
We had a special grade sheet with a pun-filled checklist measuring customer service effort, like did we "search for clues" that they might need further help? Were you able to "dust for fingerprints" in order to pull up their account?
While the bottom line was understandable, I despised sitting down with my boss and, in a very serious way, discussing whether I had adequately searched for clues.
26. A cheesy reward
One day I got to work a lot earlier than normal and it was my boss' lunch hour. We chatted for a bit, then got on the subject of cheese and how Costco has a "wall o'cheese."
He asked me to go for a quick road trip, I agreed and we got in his truck and he drove to Costco.
He led me to the wall o'cheese and told me, "I want to reward you for working so hard and being top in sales in the chain. Pick any cheese you want." At first I thought he was joking, but he insisted.
I chose a little block of Havarti. He told me to get the big one... so I got a $50 block of Havarti as a reward for working hard.
27. Beware of scammers
My boss spent three hours in a meeting one day, detailing the dangers of email scamming and phishing.
Not even an hour after the meeting, my boss pulls me into her office to show me an email.
It’s an offer from a “Mr. Chan in China." He’s willing to pay a salary and provide a place to live, he just needs the applicant's personal information (including bank account), so he can send the money required to fly to China to start the job ASAP.
She wanted me to apply for it and was 100% serious. I kindly told her this was a scam, just like the ones we just discussed.
She got upset and said, "Well if you really want to throw away an offer as good as that, I guess I can't help you. I thought it would be a dream come true for you," then excused me from her office.
28. He should’ve scanned the situation better
My boss found a few industry articles he liked and wanted to share them with the whole staff via email. Unfortunately, he doesn't quite get how computers or email work.
Instead of just forwarding the emails, he prints them out, stacks them in order, puts it in our scanner and had it scan to email for everyone in the directory.
We all get some "scan from Konica Minolta" message that was like 70 megabytes. He scanned 114 pages and emailed it to the whole office with no subject or title or anything, just an attachment.
All those scans clogged up our email server pretty quickly.
29. Bone appetit
I work at a pet store and we kept noticing that we were always out of this one dog food. Our auto replenishment wasn't working for that item.
Our manager decided to special order like seven bags, just so we can make it through the month.
Then comes our shipment and we have two trucks lined up outside of our store and we were like, “Wow, that seems like a lot.”
When we open the first truck it is entirely full of Purina Pedigree dog food bags. The next truck is about half way full of this food, too.
In the end, we had ~700 50lb bags of dog food filling up our entire receiving room.
30. That noise was really bugging them
My boss raises dart frogs and has a whole room of them in her house. She decided to buy crickets wholesale to save money on food costs for the frogs.
Our office is in Arizona and this is in the middle of summer when she had a box of live crickets delivered to the office. We have open seating, do you have any idea how loud it is when you get a box of 1,000 + crickets delivered?
People complained about the noise, so she needed to sell her surplus crickets because she is no longer allowed to have them in the office.
Multiple times a day she has to go to the parking garage to deal cricket shares to people who have replied to her Craigslist ads.