Prank Calling the entire Roseville Galleria Mall
Not long ago, I was invited onstage to the Retrocrush Comedy Variety Show with Rob Berry to talk about how awesome I am, and I came armed with an audience-ready prank call.
My plan was to prank call every store in a mall, simultaneously. I had a vision of hundreds of phone calls coming in at the same time, minutes before mall closing, creating a concert of telephone rings echoing throughout the emptying mall.
While prank calls can be underwhelming when executed individually, today's ubiquitus cell phones meant that for the first time in history, a room full of ordinary people could flood the mall with calls, all at once.
What prank call script would work best, en masse? I had three ideas which would work for most locations at the mall, ordered from least to most cruel:
1) "When, exactly, will you have more Angry Birds merchandise in stock?"
2) "Hi, this is Sarah's dad, she is really sick and she absolutely will not be there tomorrow morning to open the store."
3) "I visited your store, saw that the cashier was vigorously scratching his scalp, and now goddammit I have lice."
I wasn't sure the audience would be willing to perform the crueller of the prank calls, so the Angry Bird merchandise question was my safety backup.
The next step in preparation was to collect and print out tear sheets for all of the stores in the mall. There was a somewhat arduous technique to find the phone numbers for individual stores. To solve this problem, I created a simple list of phone numbers for the stores in the Roseville Mall.
At the comedy show, I was ready. The Comedy Spot in Sacramento holds about 130 people, it wasn't full on this night, but the audience was willing to help, and they were willing to make the cruelest call. They voted by applause to use the "I got lice" prank call script. We distributed the phone numbers on paper strips and asked the audience members to use their cell phones to call simultaneously, on the count of three.
One. Two. Three! Everyone dialed at once!
Not everyone's call was answered at the same time, which was a blessing, because our callers were sitting just inches away from one another. I hadn't anticipated that our conversations would overlap! It's bad enough when you get a ring from a call center and you can hear 4 other people pitching auto warrantees in the background, but when they are feeding you a bullshit line about catching lice, it's even worse. In other words, it isn't very convincing.
But it was fun! My own call was short, I called Pottery Barn and let the gal that answered know that I had been checking out their rug section and that I scratched my head all the way home and that when I got a close look, I had lice. I stayed on the phone long enough for her to say "OH NO!" before hanging up.
Sorry innocent Pottery Barn worker! Sorry other stores in the mall! It was a prank call with a quantity multiplier. The experiment was mostly a success, but if you ever try this yourself, I recommend filling a theatre or auditorium with a matrix of soundproof phone booths.
Please Read about the Time Machine at Roseville Galleria Prank >