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 http://www.419baiter.com/ and http://www.419eater.com/html/links.htm) 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.