‘The Office’: How Costly Were Jim’s Pranks on Dwight?

Jim Halpert insisted that he didn’t want to make a career out of his job at Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. To avoid turning his day-job into a career track, he spent as much of his time as possible distracting himself from the task at hand, selling paper supplies. His favorite pastime was pranking Dwight. While most of his pranks were hilarious, they didn’t all come cheap. One Redditor claims that the cost of Jim’s pranks throughout The Office would total over $5,000. Buzzfeed disputes the figure, putting the cost of his jokes closer to $10,000. Is either source right? let’s take a look at the most elaborate pranks and tally up the prices.

The gift-wrapped desk

Jim decides to spend his free-time gift wrapping Dwight’s desk in Season 5. It seems like a pretty lame prank, but he didn’t just cover his desk, he replaced the entire desk with a gift-wrapped version. He also replaced his office chair with a paper replica.

While the industrious Redditor believed it would have taken about 4 average rolls of wrapping paper to get the job done, it likely took a whole lot more. The average roll of paper is 30 inches wide by eight feet long. Assuming Dwight’s desk was five feet long, it would have likely taken about 10 rolls of paper to cover the cardboard replacement, along with everything on the desk and the chair. A half a ream of wrapping paper can be had for around $100. Add in tape, and other necessities and the entire prank would have cost around $120.

Jim replaced Dwight’s suit with a tearaway version

Jim managed to swap Dwight’s suit with a tearaway version at the dry cleaners. Once Dwight donned the suit, Jim tore it away in the parking lot, leaving the hapless Dwight standing in his underwear in front of all of his coworkers. While Buzzfeed claims the suit would cost around $700, custom suits can go for much more than that.

According to CNBC, a custom suit can cost upwards of $2,000, and it’s likely that the Velcro request was a costly add on. It can be assumed the suit, with its custom Velcro option would cost at least $1,000. The prank was pretty costly for a few moments, but it was far from the most expensive prank he pulled.

Dwight’s desk is replaced with a Lego version

Anyone with a child knows just how expensive Legos have gotten. The staple toy of everyone’s childhood isn’t exactly the most affordable thing in the world, with some kits going for as much as $400. This prank is relatively easy to figure out because someone actually built a Lego desk. According to Gizmodo, a desk built entirely out of Legos would take around 35,000 bricks to complete.

Dwight Schrute
Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute | Byron Cohen/NBC/NBU Photo Bank

You can purchase 790 classic bricks for $48 at Target. It would take about 44 brick sets to get roughly 35,000 building pieces, which makes the cost of the desk $2,126.  Even a more primitive design would have required about 20,000 bricks. If you add in lost productivity, the prank would have cost between $1500 and $3,000.  

Who is right, Buzzfeed, or Reddit?

All told It is almost impossible to estimate just how much Jim’s pranks cost over the course of the entire series. If you were to factor in lost productivity for both Dwight and Jim, the number is astronomical, likely topping the $20,000 mark.

Even if you leave the unknowns out of the equations, the pranks would have put a massive dent in Jim’s wallet. Thankfully, Jim was living pretty comfortably on his salary, so he could surely afford a prank or two or fifty. In the end, it doesn’t matter how much they cost Jim, they were hilarious and brought him plenty of joy.