Memories and fraudsters

My last blog posts have been, necessarily rather serious.  However, life is not all doom and gloom at Chez Titflasher. I was talking to M about the halcyon but hectic pet shop days a little while ago. We were laughing about all the lovely and silly things that we got up to or encountered, some of which are already on this blog, under the Wild Thing postings.

Some, I had half-forgotten or she had half-remembered and we were able to fill in each other’s gaps in memory.

I have also been getting a heavy amount of fishing emails for advance fee fraud … you know the type … badly spelled and grammatically incorrect pleadings full of reference to God and requests to help the writer release stupendous amounts of money and get paid a wodge for doing them the illegal favour.  One would think that as these scams have been going on for over 15 years, the perpetuators would have targeted all the gullible people in the world by now but clearly this is still a successful enterprise. Initially started via fax, it migrated naturally to email when the internet came along.

I have been idly collecting the ones that made me smile (although advanced fee fraud is nothing to smile about) and would love it if readers shared theirs too …

Mr Pope Innocent (this one is probably my fave)

Mr Ban Ki-Moon from the “United Nations”

Mr Yash Papers (allegedly looking for an admin assistant – no experience necessary, just send him some money for the application form)

The (Un)Honorary Patrick Okapa aka Phonic, who is worth mentioning for his eye catching title – “Strictly Investment Fund, I Want To Partnership With You” – clearly cleverly using on-trend marketing by referencing an English show but then blowing it with his poor use of uh … English

These are just my top four. I started replying to them but it was quite uninteresting as they just ignored my abusive rants … I was hoping at least one of them would reply and deny it. I also toyed with the idea of being a string-along (see and but got bored with that :-).

Although I was very tempted to see what would happen if I replied to this one …

Greeting, We offer all kinds of loan to every interested individuals and firms 

around the world at a low interest rate of 2%.If interested contact us, we are r

eady to serve you all to your desire and i want you all to be aware that your lo

an in this very company is 100% assured and secured by this

very company.

They didn’t mention which company and I am pretty sure that if I did apply, I would be hit by requests for “admin“ and “release” fees along with my bank details in case they wanted to defraud me again later :-DD.  How do people fall for this stuff?  I can understand someone desperate falling for the loan one, but the others??

Anyhow … back to the petshop … they were good days indeed and I made some excellent friends there.  Difficult customers always seemed to come in twos and threes and a stream of them could be predicted by the first.

There were several customers who were simply lonely, who had no-one with whom to talk or share their lives and for whom the shop became a sanctuary.  Customers who were considered special were allowed to go to the back room, where the kettle seemed to be permanently on, a rivulet of ciggie smoke wafting through to the front of the shop and kittens, Lucky the rabbit and every now and again a dog or two competed for space with people, nattering away.

It was the kind of place where we all laughed together, cried together and just got on with things, something very rare indeed and we didn’t realise quite how special it was until we no longer had it.  But the memories and the friendships continue to this day.

We ran a great deal on gut instinct … in later years, H was M’s assistant and he was very proper.  I rarely heard him swear.  One afternoon, a group of twenty-something guys came in, rather robustly and a bit giggly and asked if we had any guinea pigs.  I told them in no uncertain terms to Just Foxtrot Oscar.  H turned to me, horrified, his mouth open, searching for words as they stood there. He had never heard me speak like that before.  I repeated my instruction in the same terminology, this time with arm references and they exited quickly, laughing.  Hugh had just found his voice and had blushed to the roots of his hair by this point.  I then explained that the day before, some teenagers had purchased a guinea pig from a petshop and put it in a firework rocket and lit it, with obvious consequences for the poor guinea pig.  He asked me how I knew that these guys were going to repeat the experiment and I couldn’t tell him because truthfully I had no idea – I just knew from the moment they set foot in the shop they were up to no good.

At that point, I was vegetarian and it was almost guaranteed that the person I served would want pig’s ears.  M was not keen on them either but people asked for them for their dogs and she sold loads.  Everyone thought this was VERY funny and I spent hours donning carrier bags as gloves, hands as far as I could get them away from my body whilst trying not to look disgusted  and not looking at what I was selling as everyone else went “not again!” and collapsed into paroxysms of giggles behind me.

Then there was the gentleman who came in for a collar for his dog.  We sold a range of collars in different colours, plain, bejewelled, studded and decorated leather.  He wanted a plain, black, studded collar for his pooch, who was not in attendance. When M asked what size, he looked round nervously, checked that everyone was occupied, measured his neck with his hands and said “this size”. Without batting an eyelid, M found him a collar, wrapped it up and he went happily on his way.  She burst into the back room, past the customers and went into the loo, tears pouring down her face with laughter.  We had loads of customers who had pooches with corresponding neck sizes after that, all wanting studded collars :-).

They were very good times and I miss them still, 3 and a bit years later.

About titflasher

Writer, blogger, animal activist, people activist, dream-catcher maker, mommy to 9 cats and a roving band of foxes ... Blog name comes from my father's suggestion for the title of my autobiography ... after my mother's and my awful habit of flashing whenever the security police took our photo in the dark old days of apartheid South Africa. I love nature, including creepy crawlies and people, find life fascinating and frustrating and have two terrible weaknesses - nictotine and animals in distress ... can't abide the latter situation and can't give up the former. I'm Pagan but not anti-Christian, funny but quite serious, light-hearted but can be annoying. I am warm-hearted until someone p*sses on me too much, then I get soggy and even. Feel free to link me but all the words on these pages is copyrighted, so copy it and take the credit and I will find you and slap you upside the head, hard. The blog is probably best read via category as there is loads on here already, and I just got started :-)
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4 Responses to Memories and fraudsters

  1. Phil Groom says:

    Ha. I’d’ve been one of those dog collar customers if I hadn’t acquired mine secondhand from a friend’s Staffs bull terrier. No joke: seriously; an old lady in Tipton has a photo of me wearing it, which she loves to show people to prove that these punks aren’t all the nasty pieces of work they think we are … or were; it was a few years ago now…

    • titflasher says:

      Love it! The market we were unofficially catering for were not punks however, but the S&M fetishists. They were a lovely bunch of guys, some of the nicest customers we had 🙂

  2. warriet says:

    Strange but true “Buy Clergy Collars – – Great Value Clerical Collars Free UK Delivery On All Collars” appeared as the one line add at the top of the Google mail that notified me of this post, guess Google is too coy to offer me bondage gear….

    As well as is a good place to report phishing trips but I fear that any kind of response is a waste of keystrokes and bandwidth. Any competent phisher will only read the replies where their automation indicates that the bait has been taken, hook, line and sinker. Also, any reply you make will indicate that there is a real person on the end of the line: these people or rather their computers dictionary-generate zillions of e-mail addresses in the mathematical certainty of reaching a live inbox.

    Love the tales from the petshop and well done you for saving a guinea pig from its awful fate!

    • titflasher says:

      I got that as well! Phil – your ads are following you about the internet :-))). Yes I agree – 419 baiter is an excellent site but I think the fraudsters are getting a bit wiser. It does seem to take some time though so I am sure there will be plenty more opportunities for windup in the future. The pet shop was a truly remarkable place – M created something very special for both humans and animals and I guess it is springing to mind more at the moment as the “200 People” campaign starts. The shop and the campaign shared a lot of the same motives.

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