I loved making prank phone calls when I was a pre-teen. When my mother would leave the house, I’d frantically call Linda and tell her to come over. “Come over and play Kooky Calls”, I’d say. She’d do the same for me, of course. We had hours of fun at the expense of teachers, schoolmates and random strangers.
What with caller ID and well, being somewhat of a mature adult, I don’t have the opportunity for Kooky Calls any longer. The only outlet I have for my phone creativity is to mess with solicitors. I didn’t answer calls from unknown numbers for a long time, but they will call and call forever. Maybe I should waste their time for a while and they will leave me alone, I think.
Unfortunately for my pranking instincts, most of the harassing calls I get are robocalls. They’ve perfected the art of annoyance by hiring actors to record a reasonable facsimile of an actual call. There are spots for you, the victim, to respond and even leave a credit card number.
“Hi, this is Steve from the customer service department! Can you hear me okay?”
I say nothing.
“That’s great!, RoboSteve continues, breathless, like he can’t wait to give me some wonderful news. “I wanted to let you know about an incredible deal you’re qualified for. FREE airfare, all food and drink covered, hotel, FREE tickets to DisneyWorld and other attractions. First, we need to get a couple of things from you.”
Of course. I say nothing.
“You need to be over 18 to receive your FREE trip”, — here he gives a knowing chuckle — “and we’ll need to get a valid credit or debit card number from you to secure your place.”
“Are you over 18?”
Now’s the time for me to enter the game. “I’m twelve”, I say.
“Now we’ll need that credit or debit card number”.
I’m tempted to give RoboSteve the number of a gift card that has $2.53 on it, but decide I’d rather use it for a cup of Caribou Coffee.
Instead, “Can I give it to you after I get my allowance?”, I wonder.
“Well, thanks for your time. Sorry to bother you!” Click.
Getting the bum’s rush from a thief. Kooky Calls aren’t as much fun as they used to be.