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What Was Meredith's True Job Title In The Office?

In one episode of "The Office," the warehouse crew suggests the danger associated with their work far surpasses the danger faced by the office crew. After all, the warehouse has heavy machinery, including a baler that could easily crush bones, whereas the office workers merely contend with, as the warehouse's Lonny put it, "fat butt disease" from sitting too long. While Lonny and his coworkers have a strong argument, they clearly did not take Meredith Palmer into consideration.

Over the course of nine seasons, Meredith (Kate Flannery) experiences one calamity after another. She is bitten by a bat and contracts rabies in Season 3, run over by Michael and his car in Season 4 (resulting in a broken hip), set aflame at the office Christmas party in Season 5, and infected with lice in Season 9 — all while raising a delinquent son, earning a doctorate, and battling alcoholism. That's quite a remarkable list of accidents and achievements for one of the Scranton branch's accountants — or was she the branch's supplier relations liaison? Well, the answer depends on which episode you're watching.

Meredith was an accountant in Season 1

In Season 1, Episode 4, "The Alliance," the office gang is preparing to celebrate Meredith's 46th birthday. In typical office tradition, everyone signs a card for the birthday girl and includes a little note or joke. Michael, of course, wants to have the best joke, but he ends up killing the upbeat atmosphere by mentioning the looming threat of downsizing. Jim's note, however, strikes the right comedic tone by suggesting that Meredith could just "fudge the numbers" of her age since she's an accountant.

Now, if Meredith is an accountant, one would expect that her desk would be among the accounting cluster of Angela, Oscar, and Kevin. Although Meredith's desk is near the accounting group, her desk is actually opposite the desk of Creed Bratton, the branch's quality assurance representative (though he may not be totally aware of that). While it does seem odd that a branch with just four salespeople would have four accountants, we know Dunder Mifflin isn't the most efficiently run enterprise.

Meredith had some ethical issues as a supplier relations rep

Jumping to Season 5, Episode 3, "Business Ethics," we find Meredith with a very different job title. During a presentation by human resources rep Holly Flax regarding ethics in the workplace, Michael encourages everyone (with the false promise of "immunity") to share a time when they made unethical decisions. Oscar admits to taking long lunches, and Kelly confesses to illegally downloading music on her work computer, but Meredith's confession takes the cake. For six years, she's been sleeping with a paper representative in exchange for order discounts and gift certificates to Outback Steakhouse. While this seems totally in line with Meredith's personality, such indiscretions are a big no-no for a supplier relations rep. Thankfully, the Dunder Mifflin higher-ups, who preferred discounts over ethics, pulled rank and prevented Holly from firing Meredith.

Given that Meredith is only mentioned as an accountant in a passing line in the first season, but she has an entire storyline surrounding her work as the supplier relations rep in Season 5, it's the latter title that seems the most accurate. The inconsistency in Meredith's professional title is likely due to an oversight made by the series' creative team. "The Office" is not the first show to make such a small error, nor is a mistake in characters' backgrounds uncommon to the show. Based on Meredith's unethical and typically inebriated behavior, Dunder Mifflin should be very happy that she was nowhere near the branch's financial books.