At Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch, pranks are an everyday occurrence. Perhaps the top prankster of The Office, Jim Halpert, played by John Krasinski, has dunked staplers in Jello-O and convinced co-workers it was a different day of the week.
For some offices, pranks are part of the corporate culture. They're a way for entrepreneurs to promote a fun, relaxed work environment. In honor of April Fools' Day, we revisited a story we brought you last year by scouring the country for more hilarious office hi-jinks. Read on for inspiration or for a good laugh.
Prank #1: Jello-O Stapler--With a Twist
Pranksters: Sharon Howell, senior account executive, along with other colleagues who helped with logistics
Victim: Bryan Pope, account manager
Scene of the Crime: LEWIS Public Relations, San Francisco
The Mission: Howell decided to test out the Jello-O prank Jim pulled on Dwight from The Office. While he was gone, Howell and several colleagues nabbed his Statue of Liberty figurine from his desk and turned it into a green Jello-O mold. The souvenir was special to Pope since he had relocated to San Francisco after living in New York his whole life.
Howell carefully placed her digital camera on his desk to capture his reaction upon finding his beloved statue morphed into Jello-O. After returning, Pope laughed as he sat down at his desk and said, "This is awesome! Now it's even more valuable." According to Howell, Pope thought it was so funny, that he refuses to wash off the Jello-O.
Prank #2: Read Between the Lines
Prankster: Jenn Galdes, on behalf of her client, Chef Grant Achatz of Alinea restaurant
Scene of the Crime: Grapevine Public Relations Inc., Chicago
The Mission: Jenn Galdes shook up the food world last year by concocting a fake press release on behalf of her client, Chef Grant Achatz, and his restaurant, Alinea. Her idea was to pretend Achatz decided to shut down the restaurant on its two-year anniversary to pursue a career in acting. Galdes says the goal of her prank, aside from some publicity, was to show the chef's playful side.
At the end of the press release, Galdes included one line to tip off recipients. It read: For media requests or more information, or to discuss the meaning of today's date, please call Jenn Galdes at Grapevine PR. The prank generated plenty of buzz for the restaurant.
Prank #3: "I Can't Hear You!"
Pranksters: Allison Yochim, Travis Coggin, Gil Jenkins, all account coordinators; Chris Iafolla, senior account executive
Victim: John Fitzpatrick, account coordinator
Scene of the Crime: SHIFT Communications, Brighton, Massachusetts
The Mission: It all started when Coggin decided to pull a prank on Fitzpatrick, an Irish native who already received plenty of grief for his thick accent and occasional misunderstanding of American customs. Coggin altered Fitzpatrick's office phone by covering the mouthpiece with tape that was the exact same color as the phone. When Fitzpatrick left his desk, Coggin would add another piece of tape to the phone. It soon became a team prank--Yochim and Jenkins kept an eye out for Fitzpatrick and found reasons to convince him to get out of his seat.
While this was happening, Fitzpatrick started noticing people couldn't hear him as well, so he turned the volume up and asked people to try calling him on other lines. The group then recruited John's manager, Iafolla, to call Fitzpatrick more frequently. By day two of the mission, Fitzpatrick began inspecting his phone and eventually found the tape. "It was fun while it lasted," Yochim says.
Prank #4:Yppah Sloof Lirpa
Prankster: Jeff Rice, former chief communications officer
The Victim: Recipients of the company's corporate newsletter
Scene of the Crime: CROSSMARK, Plano, Texas
The Mission: In 2005, Rice decided to spice up a corporate newsletter by publishing a false story that generated plenty of buzz. At the time, he worked for CROSSMARK, a business services company within the consumer goods industry. In the article, Rice wrote about a new transportation aid developed by Sloof Lirpa, a Scandinavian high-tech startup. He mentioned their patent-pending Electronic Signal Altering Device, promising to change traffic lights to green in advance through radio frequency signaling and modification. He went on to describe the impact the device could have on a company's vehicle fleet by ramping up speed and efficiency, ultimately saving time and money.
When the story broke, Rice says management was hounded by thousands of incoming calls and e-mails. Responses ranged from accolades to investment inquiries. Finally, Rice broke down and admitted that the article was all part of an April Fools' hoax. If Sloof Lirpa looks funny to you, that's because it's actually April Fools, spelled backward.
Rice says the company's CEO had a keen sense of humor, and actually offered him praise for his creativity--right before sending him back to his keyboard to send out an explanation and apology to all newsletter recipients.
Prank #5: Dude, Where's my Scooter?
Pranksters: Bage Anderson, Greg Kemp, Darrell McKinnon and Todd Bynum
The Victim: John Claybrook
Scene of the Crime: KTXS-TV, Abilene, Texas
The Mission: This prank went down over 20 years ago--but its perpetrators are still laughing about it. After Claybrook rode up to the TV station on his new scooter, he bragged to his fellow colleagues about the money he saved on the purchase price and on gas. From that point on, Anderson, Kemp, McKinnon and Bynum made it their mission to wipe the smug look off Claybrook's face and put him in his place.
So when Claybrook was busy working one day, the cohorts picked up the scooter from the parking lot and added a bow, and placed a box and a pad of paper next to it, along with a sign saying, "Register here to win." The team of pranksters even wrote a script for a prize giveaway sponsored by the station, and gave it to Claybrook to produce. Of course, he had no idea the scooter the station was giving away was his own ride.
After his shift, Claybrook left the building, realized his scooter was missing and canvassed the entire station searching for it--even walking through the lobby and passing the scooter twice without noticing it. Eventually the crew fessed up and returned the scooter to a livid Claybrook. In the days following the prank, Claybrook brought his ride into the station, leaving it near his office to prevent it from being nabbed again.
Prank with Caution
If you're thinking of pulling your own office prank, check out last year's office pranks article for expert advice on how to successfully pull the perfect spoof without pushing any boundaries.