Top 10 Office Pranks

job interview Popular TV sitcom 'The Office' has spawned a re-emergence of some good, clean old-fashioned workplace pranks. Whether its prank phone calls, whoopee cushions or staplers in Jello molds, the characters on 'The Office' remind the rest of us that working a day job in a cubicle does not have to box you or your creativity in.

Sandwiched between the first official day of spring and Tax Day, April Fool's Day is often overlooked by many who think pranks, hoaxes and practical jokes are only for the young, not the young at heart. But even if you are not a planner or into elaborate, collective pranks, check out our list of top 10 office pranks that have a proven track record of success and are sure to garner some laughs any day of the year.

1. A job with a silver lining

Rob Imbeault felt bad for his friend, Eric Pharand, controller/chief software developer of Ottawa, Canada-based 10 Count Group of Companies, because he never took a vacation. But, once Eric finally did take some time off, Rob rallied the office troops and "took full advantage" of his co-worker's absence by wrapping Eric's entire office, including individual stickie notes, in tin foil.

2. Keys to frustration

Marc Kruskol of MJK Public Relations remembers a time when he worked in an office that had electronic typewriters. One day he happened upon the instruction manual and found you could easily change the keyboard from QWERTY to DVORAK. Marc waited until his co-worker went to lunch and rearranged his keyboard, but didn't move the keys to correspond to the new order. "When he [Marc's co-worker] came back and started typing he totally freaked. Every letter he typed was wrong. He was going nuts and wanted to call a service person."

3. It's in the cards

Steve* found his colleague's box of 1,000 business cards in the top desk drawer and removed about 20 cards. He wrote funny sayings on the back of the cards, such as "I am a loser" and "I don't wear underwear." He then placed the 20 funny cards throughout the box of cards as if they were all the same. About two weeks later, his co-worker handed out a business card at a networking event that said, "I am a dork," and immediately went over and dumped out all his business cards.

4. Rip-roaringly funny

It certainly doesn't get easier than this office prank, says Caroline Williams of Spark Training & Coaching Associates in Toronto. All you need is a piece of fabric, a co-worker to target and something to throw on the floor for pick-up. "Find a target, drop something and hope they bend down to pick it up. When they do, rip the fabric in your hands. They'll wonder what is showing and the look on their face will be priceless.

5. Leaning desk of Pisa

Stephen Smith, of Logos Bible Software Bellingham, Wash., spent six months executing his office prank that was a continal source of laughter for many. "Over a period of time, I slowly lowered my co-worker's desk until one side was six inches shorter than the other. Folks in the office spent months IM'ing the target to see if he would notice the lean on his desk. "Doesn't today just seem off-balance?"

6. Misbehaving mice

At VAK Engineering in Portland Oreg., Karen Monteverdi's boss took office pranks to a whole new level by punking the entire office all at once.

Karen sat down at her desk on April 1 to find that her mouse was not working properly. While checking the connection and the keyboard to find the source of the problem, Karen's screen lit up with calculations -- calculations that she was not typing. "My boss had come in early and switched the keyboards and mice around so each person's typing appeared on a co-workers computer."

7. Bathroom humor

Aaron Rasmussen said that there have been so many memorable pranks at Harcos Laboratories, he wonders "if the staff needs to grow up." One year for April Fool's Day, Eli, one of the company's co-founders, poured 1.5 gallons of Harcos' synthetic blood formula into the communal toilet in the building's bathroom. "He just left it there to horrify neighboring offices and workers."

8. Snacktime shenanigans

Fran Briggs of the University of Phoenix, in Arizona, and two of her fellow academic counselors were the brainchildren behind this breaktime prank. "We had one co-worker, Brian*, who ate a bag of Lays plain potato chips every single day at 3PM. There was no variety," says Briggs. In an effort to increase Brian's horizons, Fran and her colleagues waited for him to head to the break room for his daily Lays fix. "Once he left his desk, we dumped thousands of Doritos, Cheetos, Funyons and BBQ chips all over his desk." Only problem: Brian was less than amused with the April Fool's Day prank -- and dealing with red, sticky, powdered fingers after the cleanup did not help broaden his food choice horizons.

9. Commercial catastrophe

Giovanna Di Bicarri of Briefs Magazine wanted to help coax her five interns out of their shells, so she planned an office prank to help break the ice. The interns' major project was to create a commercial to promote the company's annual golf event. Giovanna had one of the producers "update" the commercial by dubbing all the voices in Spanish and ending the commercial with the actor "mooning" the camera. When the fake final of the commercial was sent to the interns with a note that said: as aired on TV last night, it is safe to say that they were all shaking in their boots. Giovanna says that her interns haven't retaliated yet, but she fully expects some office prank or trick to rear its head soon.

10. A branding bonanza

Veronica Graves, who works at the parent company of Blimpie sub shops, took one April Fool's Day as the perfect opportunity to show one of Blimpie's marketing managers some "branding love" while he was out of town. "We decorated his entire cubicle with Blimpie sandwich wrappers -- from his walls to his desk to his stapler and his floor."

Next: Companies Hiring This Week

Related Stories from Ask Men
* These names have been changed to protect the pranksters.

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Once a month our school department meeting is held in a classroom during lunchtime, with around 40 people attending. Most people bring a brownbag lunch or an apple or cup of coffee. One day a person brought a large, carryout tossed salad with six jumbo shrimp. He sat in the front row and carefully ate it, using two or three differents dressings and toppings along the way. Everyone in the room drooled for an hour watching him. It gave me this idea:
I arrived a few minutes early to get a seat in the front rowm and brought a medium pepperoni pizza from a popular nearby pizzaria. Also, I brought a large brown sack of condiments. I removed the first piece from the box and sprinkled birdseed/red pepper on it before eating, and placed the bottle next to the box on the table. On the next piece I drizzled olive oil from a small bottle, placed beside the birdseed, and ate the piece. The next was sprinkled with Saigon cinnamon and eaten, followed by a piece on which I squeezed a freshcut slice of lemon. Then a piece sprinkled with parmissagn cheese, then a piece drizzled with balsamic vinegarette, a piece sprinkled with ground garlic and pepper from a mill, then a piece with a few drops of Tabasco sauce, all the while placing the condiments in a row beside the pizza box. When the hour-long meeting was over, the pizza was gone and eleven spices and condiments remained on my desktop. I kept my back to the others, avoiding the fierce glare of hungry dogs who brought only meager meals. I then poured the last of my bottled wated into a small plastic cup and dropped a single Alka Seltzer tablet in it for dessert. For the next meeting, I'm thinking maybe a habachi and grilled shrimp.

April 04 2011 at 8:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lesgobucks's comment
Alina Meowkusheva

lame dude

April 24 2014 at 4:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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One mans humor might be anothers scorn. Pranks can go too far sometimes. without going into detail, One prank got a friend into trouble with the law. The friends wife tried to do him one better the next year and they ended up divorced. Not funny at all.

April 04 2011 at 6:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

While in the Coast Guard I had a roomate that snored extremely loud. One night i got a dead cockroach and a carrot slice from the ships galley. I dropped the carrot slice in his mouth while he was snoring, He swallowed it and then his eyes opened to me holding the roach above him asking if he wanted another one.

April 03 2011 at 7:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Not funny at all

April 03 2011 at 6:54 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Most of these aren't funny at all.

April 02 2011 at 2:24 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Years ago, I had a boss that when he came into his office every morning, he would hang up his coat, pick up his watering can, go to the bathroom and fill the can. Then he would come back and water the small ivy plant hanging in the corner of his office. Needless to say, the plant was very drowned and very dead! I got a duplicate key from the janitor. Snuck in early one morning and replaced the dead plant with a small live ivy. "Its a miracle!". Then, about once a week I would sneak in and replace the plant with a slightly larger one. Finally, it almost reached the floor,. The boss was ecstatic! Then I went in and put the dead plant back. The look on his face that morning was priceless!

April 02 2011 at 1:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I have pulled a few pranks myself. My two most favorite ones were: scotch tape on the under side of the spigot in the bathroom. If you get to be a pro at this, you will learn where to put it so the water when turn on to wash hands, sprays right back on them; secondly, tape again.....I put clear plastice on the under side of the toilet seat, this gave thefirmness to put scotch tape face up to adhere to a gals uh rear.

April 02 2011 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Our best fun at the office was after our manager forced all of us to go through a particularly onerous, time-wasting computer class. We drafted a letter with the subject line being "Computer Replication Applicator Program". It looked as if it had come from the corporation CEO's office, and addressed that we would have to use our new training to implement this program immediately. The letter was chock full of 10-letter words, and lenghty sentences, making the whole thing very difficult to read, nearly incomprehensible. We even managed to copy the director's signature on it and date stamped it through the secretary's incoming mail. The manager spent the entire day trying to decipher this letter, and of course was unwilling to call the CEO to ask what it meant. He was totally panicked and it took him two days more to finally realize that it was a hoax, and caught on to what the "Computer Replication Applicator Program" acronym was: C-R-A-P.

April 02 2011 at 1:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Best ever (in my opinion). Take a can of shaving cream and put it in the freezer overnight. In the morning, just before putting it in a co-workers desk drawer, open the bottom with a can opener. What fun!

April 02 2011 at 11:41 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Some office pranksters once glued a fellow co-workers phone handset to the base (this was back when we had big rotary phones on our desks). When his phone rang, he happened to be walking away from his desk. He turned and ran back to his desk, picked the phone up real fast and swung it toward his ear. It hit him in the head so hard that it knocked him out cold.

April 02 2011 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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