Spam calls can be annoying, especially when you have no way to stop them. They will interrupt the day and cause annoyance from the constant ringing. This person found a way to get back at the business for causing all of the spam calls.
The main character of the story, who we will call “Matthew,” moved in with his girlfriend at the time. They got the cable, internet, and phone set up. Then, Immediately after moving in, they started receiving phone calls from people who were looking to reach a custom framing and art business, let’s call it “Expo for Art.” They had caller ID, so they knew when it was friends or people they knew calling, and when it was phone calls from a number they did not recognize. Matthew feuded with the owner of Expo for Art, who will be referred to as “Fred” over spam calls. But, only time will tell how long these two last without going crazy.
This Is Not Expo For Art
The people who called would ask if their order has been completed if their frame was done, the business hours, or any other questions someone may ask a business over the phone. The typical conversation was Matthew telling the person on the other line that the number they are calling was no longer in use by the business and this is his home phone number. He would tell them he did not know their new number, and they would ask him to look it up as if it was his responsibility. Moreover, this occurred over 15 years ago, so people still used phonebooks at the time. The people calling had access to the same information as Matthew did; they did not want to look the number up themselves.
He changed his answering machine to say, “This is not, I repeat not, Expo for Art. If you are trying to reach Expo for Art, please hang up, look up their number, and try that, because we aren’t them.”
Then, Matthew received one of these phone calls and finally decided to ask the person on the other line where they were getting his number from. The person told him the number was printed on their receipt and said they will go ahead and call this “other number.” After thousands of calls, Matthew was done dealing with this nonsense and decided it was time to do something about this. It was time for Matthew to make a phone call.
Matthew called Expo for Art. They answered with the typical “Hello, Expo for Art”.
Then, Matthew went on to tell the person who answered they are still giving out his home phone number on their receipts. Their response was not understanding and a bit rude almost. They kind of just brushed it off like it was nothing. Matthew was not having it. Furthermore, He asked the person on the phone to at least cross the number off on the receipt. The person on the other end of the line told Matthew it was a pain and he was not going to make his employees go through the process.
Matthew came to the realization the person on the other end may be an employee with some amount of authority based on the response received. He asked if the guy was the manager, to which he replied he is the owner, Fred. Matthew clarifies with Fred exactly what was going on here.
Then, he said, “You, Fred, have decided that it’s too inconvenient to cross my home phone number off of your receipts, so you’re just going to keep giving it out?”
Fred replied by saying yes and did not seem too concerned. All he said in reply was asking if he (Matthew) was going to sue him. Matthew became annoyed by Fred’s responses to him. He decided to take it to the next level.
Fred Was M.I.A
Matthew went to Expo of Art and asked for Fred. The person at the store said Fred was not there and was usually not there anyway. Matthew asked if he could see one of the receipts. The employee picked up a receipt book and showed it to Matthew. It had his phone number at the top of it.
Furthermore, Matthew told her, “I thought so. I couldn’t get you at the other number, some guy yelled at me, and I didn’t have my old receipt, so I had to come down here.”
She said it had been happening a lot recently, and Fred decided they did not need two phone lines. Then, the worker also said Fred was too cheap to buy more receipt paper until they all run out. She said she would hate to be the guy receiving all of these phone calls. Little did she know, the guy who was receiving all of these phone calls was standing right in front of her. Matthew decided it was time for a plan ‘B’ and went home.
The New Fred
Matthew planned to answer every phone call he received from unknown numbers as “Expo for Art.” A phone call came through and it was Matthew’s time to put operation “Mess with Expo for Art” into action. He answered the phone. Moreover, the person calling told Matthew she dropped something off last week to be framed and asked if it was ready.
Matthew tells her they (Expo for Art) finished it that morning and mentioned they decided to upgrade the matting and they won’t be charging her for it. Matthew told her she could come to pick it up today and told her the price of the item. She said it was cheap, but Matthew told her not to worry. He also told her if anyone gives her any issues with it to tell them she talked to Fred on the phone. He was not only responding as the company owner but also making upgrades and promises the company did not even know about. How long was it until they found out Matthew’s devious ways?
The Fred Promise
This went on for weeks. He kept giving out random information to everyone who called. People kept asking how much it was to get it custom-made and Matthew would pretend to be Fred. No matter what it was, Matthew made sure he made up something ridiculous but believed by the customer at the same time. The best part is that they would be so excited to hear how good of a deal they were getting, and could not wait to get to the store to pick up their items. Once they arrived, they were probably very displeased to find out the price of their items was higher than promised by “Fred.” His plan was going well for a while; until one day, someone unintentionally spoiled Matthew’s plan completely.
Suddenly, Matthew received another phone call.
He answered the call with, “Hello, thank you for calling Expo for Art, this is Fred.”
Then, the person responded in a very angry tone and said, “You’re not Fred because I’m Fred! Are you trying to put me out of business?”
Now, Matthew was messing with Fred. He was sarcastically saying he had no idea what he was talking about. Then, Fred told Matthew someone had been giving incorrect prices to his customers and telling them their orders were in when they wouldn’t be in for weeks. Matthew knew this already. It was humorous for him to hear how annoyed Fred was, given his unapologetic actions in their previous interaction.
Matthew asked Fred who called these customers and told them the false information. Then, Fred responds by saying the employees were not the ones who called (obviously); the customers called in search of information. Matthew asked Fred what the problem was. He said if someone called the business to get pricing information, it would be Fred’s problem.
Fred said, “They didn’t call me. They called you.”
Matthew responded to him sarcastically and said, “Well, how would that happen?”
We all know exactly how it happened. Fred told Matthew his phone number was on his receipts. Matthews offered up a revolutionary solution to solve everyone’s problems. He told Fred to take his phone number off of the receipts and business cards. As a result, Fred did not like this solution, of course.
Now, Fred was more concerned about the price of the promotional materials than stopping a massive inconvenience for both the customers and Matthew. He asked Fred if the cost of the promotional materials was more than the cost of doing the jobs the customers are asking for and the quoted prices. He also asked if it costs him more than how much losing valuable customers would cost him. Fred was getting more and more frustrated with Matthew.
Moreover, He claimed Matthew’s actions were “extortion.” Matthew told Fred he could call it whatever he wanted to, but the choices made and consequences are all up to him. Then, the interaction between the two of them ended.
After, A week later, Matthew received a phone call.
Matthew answered the phone and said, “Hello, Expo for Art, this is Fred.”
The real Fred was on the other end of the line and told Matthew he ordered new receipt books and cards. Finally, he also asked Matthew if he could stop with the nonsense. In conclusion, Matthew got what he was wanting all along. Fred gave in and purchased new promotional materials. Matthew agreed to stop and the two of them said their goodbyes.