Random Callers Are The Best

Over the past week I have been getting phone calls on my cell phone, no big deal since it is the only way you are going to talk to me unless we are face to face. Not only is it my “home phone” number but it is also my work contact phone number. Needless to say, I get allot of phone calls from numbers I don’t know personally, and since it is used for work I usually answer all calls. In the rare occasion I choose to ignore your call then it is for one of two reasons, either I’m busy or you have an out of state number. Typically I’m not hiding from phone calls, you know, like bill collectors, in that regard I seem to have lucked out. Anyway, usually, unless you are my employer, and you don’t leave me a voicemail, I’m not going to return your call. You called me, leave a fucking message about what you were calling for or I consider it not too damn important. I’m just saying. 99% of the time people call, don’t leave a message, but then text me, which is even better. So, this Houston number keeps calling, so finally last night answered it, my gift since in the 11 times they called me they left no message, well I say no message, they would let it go to voicemail just long enough for them to hang up after silence, giving me a voicemail icon to go check only to hear NOTHING. When I answered the call I also recorded the call, the following is a transcribed text version of what was said.

Me: Hello

Caller: (crickets)

Me: Hello

Caller: (more crickets)

Me: HELLO MOTHERFUCKERS HELLO!

Caller: Excuse me?

Me: Look motherfucker, you keep calling me, what’s on your mind?

Caller: Please wait…….. (places me on hold)

Me: Really? Call me, put me on hold, and make me listen to Kenny G? You fucking suck balls!

Me: (2 minutes into it) Hello?

Caller: (after I was on hold 6 minute) Is this Mr. Scorpion? (used my real name)

Me: Yes. Why?

Caller: Can you verify your mailing address?

Me: No. Why?

Caller: We need to verify who you are. Address please?

Me: No, I need to verify who you are. What company are you calling from?

Caller: Sir, before we can continue this conversation we need to verify your identity. Can we proceed with your address, street number first?

Me: No, we cannot. You tell me who you are and what you want or you can go fuck yourself.

Caller: Sir, we are trying to identify you are the person we have in our records.

Me: Well, what do your records say? If you get it right I will tell you, deal?

Caller: Sir, it doesn’t work this way. Address?

Me: Well, ok, thanks for calling, we’re fucking done here.

Caller: Please hold……..

Me: What the fuck! (I ended the call)

Within 30 seconds my phone is ringing once again, same number.

Me: What in the fuck do you want?

Caller: My name is Ann, I understand we are having problems identifying you so we can move forward.

Me: What in the fuck are you talking about? Who are you Ann?

Ann: I’m the manager here, you were speaking with Rebecca earlier, she mentioned there is a problem with you cooperating with the identification protocol and I have taken over to assist in the process.

Me: Why in the fuck are you calling me, repeatedly all week, twice a day, every day, never leaving a message? Can you tell me, is this part of your fucked up protocol?

Ann: Sir, look, we are a company hired by Ford Motor Company to gather information about the individuals purchasing experience.

Me: I didn’t buy anything from Ford.

Ann: Our records show you recently purchased a 2014 Ford Mustang, is that information correct?

Me: Yes, but I bought it from a Kia dealership, it is a used Mustang.

Ann: Yes sir, we understand that you didn’t purchase it directly from a Ford dealership, however your purchase records are forwarded to Ford for many purposes like factory warranty and statistical reasons.

Me: Ok, why all the cloak and dagger bullshit, why not identify yourselves first, then ask me questions?

Ann: If you would so kind to verify your address for me sir? We show you live at the following address (she tells it to me). Is this information correct?

Me: Yes, it is correct.

Ann: Your phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx?

Me: Isn’t that the number y’all keep dialing?

Ann: Yes sir. (followed by a dramatic pause)

Me: Are we done?

Ann: No sir, we have been trying to talk with you to see how you are liking your new car.

Me: I like it fine. Anything else?

Ann: Is this your first Ford purchase?

Me: No

Ann: (after a long pause) If you don’t mind, would you like to share what other Fords you have purchased in the past?

Me: Look, I’m in the middle of cooking dinner for my family and myself, is this really necessary? Yes, guilty, I like Ford, Ford is great, if I was a woman then this Ford Mustang would make my pussy all dripping wet.

Ann: Sir?

Me: Ann?

Ann: Sir, you caught me a little off guard with your last comment. You are aware we record these conversations for training purposes, correct?

Me: Yes

Ann: If I told you that in our appreciation for speaking with us that I have a paid trip to offer to you, would you be pleased to here about it? All I need to finalize this package is to ask you a few more questions. Can we continue?

Me: So, Ann, the entire purpose to this phone call was to politely tell me that my information was given or sold to your marketing company for other purposes than to see if Ford makes me weak at the knees?

Ann: Sir, I assure you that we received your information legally.

Me: Buuuuuullllllllllllllshit Ann.

Ann: I would like to tell you about your complimentary trip now if that’s ok?

Me: Sure, why not, hurry up, dinner is almost done, you got about 7 minutes.

Ann: Las Vegas or Atlantic City?

Me: Vegas

Ann: I have two first class round trip airline tickets, a rental car voucher for the 7 days you and your spouse will be in Las Vegas, it is good for up to $150.00 per day. Included is a preloaded Visa with $1500.00 for gas and other expenses. You will be staying at the MGM Grand with two free meals for two each day of your stay. You and your spouse will each receive $200.00 in house chips for use in the casino. Any questions?

Me: Yes, I don’t fly.

Ann: Meaning?

Me: I’m not going to fly to Las Vegas. Period. I don’t fly.

Ann: I’m not following you.

Me: Skip the flight, I’ll drive. a rental will be cheaper on y’all any way.

Ann: Please hold…………

Me: Noooooo…….. Fuck……… Bitch……..

Ann: I have checked with the booking agency, those arrangements can be made for you to accommodate your needs. You’ll need to visit our office to pick up your package, the changes can be made at that time. When would you like to pick up your package so I can schedule your appointment?

Me: Saturday is fine.

Ann: Perfect, I will put you down for 8 am, will that work for you?

Me: Sure

Ann: Please be sure to bring two forms of ID for you and your wife to the appointment.

Me: Does my wife need to be present?

Ann: Yes sir.

Me: Can I get the address?

Ann: Actually, we are not allowed to give that information over the phone. Please provide me with your email address. I will send you the information described above, please print to bring with you, and the address to claim address will be included.

Me: Anything else I need to know?

Ann: No sir, we hope you enjoy your new Mustang and your trip to Las Vegas.

Me: So….. we’re done?

Ann: Yes sir, enjoy your dinner. (Call ended)

So, I did get the email as she discussed. But, and its a big fucking but, the address is at the corner of an open field and an abandoned business. First I googled it so I knew where I was going. Unsettled by what shows in google maps, I sent my future son-in-law there this morning on his way to work, he confirmed that there is nothing there except the building being torn down. When I called the number that had been calling me I got no answer, just rings and rings. I have called several times, nobody’s home. Hmmm, seems like the pile of bullshit just keeps getting deeper and deeper. The email came from donotreply@mailmixmail.net and when I emailed it back it just bounced with a server reply that the email is not valid. No shit Sherlock! I also contacted my cell service provider to put in a complaint of the number and I was told it isn’t even a valid number. Fuck it, block it anyway.

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What have we learned? Well, after wasting 18 minutes of my life that I will never get back, I have found this is another reason I dislike giving out my phone number or email address to anyone for any reason. Trust me, your information is being sold, traded, or given away whether you consent to it or not. Personally I don’t think it was the Kia dealership doing it on “purpose”, but records of the purchase with my personal information were only given at the dealership at the time of purchase. Who really knows any more, really. I can’t wait until these gigafucks call me back to inform me I missed my fucking “appointment” or to follow up with me. Then it will be time to have fun. I will assume they will not call, but that’s just my opinion. Any of y’all have any good phishing stories? I have a special place in my heart, which is black and cold, for telemarketers and professional phishers. Y’all suck you bunch of troubled fucks! Get a real job, like a third party bill collector or something respectable. With that, I’m done, think I’ll put up a sign “Gone Phishing” and take the weekend off.

Just Playing With My Pachinko Balls

pachinko

Say it, pachinko, say it real slow so it just rolls off your tongue, pachinko. Now your asking, what’s pachinko (パチンコ) and why am I saying it? The overly simple description pachinko is that it’s a Japanese vertical pinball game. The rules are simple, shiny silver balls are fired from the top before cascading down through series of pins tumbling downward, most balls would disappear while a few may got into special holes that activates slot machines. The goal of the game is to gain more balls which can be exchanged for prizes. The operation of the game is actually really mechanical leaving the player with very little to do except defining the speed and rate the balls are fired upwards into play. It truly is a game of luck.

What does any of this have to do with me personally? Good question. I’m very glad you asked. Before I lived in Japan I had never seen a pachinko machine or pachinko parlor. Unless you count the pachinko game they would play on occasion on The Price Is Right way back when. However, the exterior of the pachinko parlors around where I lived reminded me of times I had visited Reno and Las Vegas which meant one of two things, casino or strip club. I had driven by a few pachinko parlors for the first year or so of living in northern Japan and never had an interest in finding out what was really going on inside these always packed 24/7 buildings. Biggest reason was money, we were poor and didn’t have spare money to go and gamble away.

One day that all changed, I had been out walking around an area called Green Pole Road which was basically an array of small shops, restaurants, and open farmers market. It had a mix of many things depending on what mood you were in. It was also host to most of the festivals and parades that came through Misawa. Anyway, I heard the noise of the pachinko parlor around the corner ahead of where I was walking. So, I decided to poke my head in and check out what pachinko was. The very first thing that alarms one’s senses is that it is freaking unbelievably loud. I can’t even dream up a way to describe how loud it was, just very loud, trust me I listen to heavy metal cranked up to the max, I know loud. No time to stand in the door tho, I was brushed ahead and seated immediately, seems I was blocking traffic while I was looking for the 4 seconds I stopped.

pachinko-balls

I had some Yen so I decided what could it hurt. I was shown how to play and away we went. I was sitting only a matter of 10 minutes when lights, bells, whistles, and a cascade of balls made a noise so deafening that it made my whole body vibrate. Immediately an attendant came by with small plastic tray to be used to fill up with the balls. This went on for a few minutes and then as fast as it began it was over, except I had over 70 plastic trays packed full with shiny chrome balls. Now what? Exactly what I was thinking. Soon enough another attendant pushed through and began stacking the trays of balls into a flatbed dolly. He pulls my arm and was telling me something I couldn’t even hear. So, I just followed him to the cashier. The dumped all of my winnings into a counter, not unlike a machine that will count/sort change, and when it was all done it spit out a ticket with the quantity of balls. How many was it, don’t know exactly, but is was an assload of them for sure.

Then one guy, resembling the way an auctioneer would move his hands fast and talk fast, started showing me everything I could trade my winnings for. Start with a cheap plastic lighter and work your way up to some high dollar houses with every appliance, car, food, drink, tobacco product, known to man up for grabs. I guess I had a look on my face that I was interested in any of the exchange prizes so I was handed my ticket and walked out the front door. Before I could even begin to wonder what just happened another man leads me to the building next door. The reality of it is we went down the alley and stopped at a very nondescript door where we waited for a few moments before the small window opened. The receipt was taken from my hand and handed to someone I could not see, then the window closed. After a few minutes the window opened and the hand shoved out a plastic bag in my direction. The guy outside takes the bag and shoves it inside my jacket and points for me to go.

When I looked in the bag I saw it was full of money, allot of money. How much? Well, when I went to the credit union and did the currency exchange I was given just shy of $6500.00. Oddly enough I had only spent under $25.00 playing the game. After some checking I found out while there was all the cloak and dagger secrecy, gambling for cash is illegal in Japan. But, gambling for prizes is not, nor is selling your receipt (for a cut I found out). That would the first and last time I went to a pachinko parlor to gamble. However, when my parents came over for their visit I did take my dad, he won as well, but only a couple of hundred dollars. Oddly enough I don’t like gambling, I can think of a zillion different things I “should” be doing with my money, like paying bills. So, there you go, a little deeper into my life in Japan. I have many tales to tell about Japan, it was a very fascinating place to live, work, and raise a family.

pachinko-slot-machine