Phone Losers of America
The Phone Losers consist of RBCP and whoever else he can get to go along with his ridiculous schemes. They've been making prank calls since the early 1990's. They are known for impersonating businesses in order to anger customers. Originally they did this by hijacking the telephone lines of a business, having it forwarded to a pay phone or other line that they could answer. These days they keep things slightly more legal by tricking businesses out of their customer phone numbers and then calling the customers at home.
Phone Losers of America Shows
Here are a list of shows that PLA has done over the years.
- In 1993, RBCP used a university pay phone in Indiana to call a movie theater in Highland, Illinois and trick them into forwarding their movie announcement line to the pay phone next to him. He called the phone company the day before and ordered call forwarding on their phone line. He told the theater manager that he was with the phone company and that he needed to dial a number on the recording line to run a test. The manager obliged, unwittingly forwarding the phone line to a pay phone. RBCP spent the rest of the evening sitting at that pay phone, answering calls from customers and giving them crazy answers to their questions. The was RBCP's very first call forwarding prank. He did several others throughout 1993, all to movie theaters.
- In 1998, RBCP and his wife Colleen Card tricked a large midwestern ISP into forwarding their calls to his home telephone. They spent 4 hours taking calls from customers and giving them horrible technical support. Around the end of the day, RBCP called the ISP and yelled at them for forwarding their calls to him, hoping to make them think that HE was the victim of the prank, having his phone ring nonstop all day. It apparently worked because he wasn't arrested.
- On Black Friday in 2008, RBCP walked around several Wal-Marts with a recording device in his ear. Whenever he heard a department paged to pick up a phone line, he would walk to one of the store phones and pick up the waiting phone call before the actual department did. He pissed off a record number of customers this day. Two years later, all of the Wal-Marts in his area removed the telephones from around the store, preventing him from repeating this prank. Listen to these calls
- In 2009, RBCP began tracking down the phone numbers of people who complain about companies on Twitter. When someone would make a tweet such as, "OMFG, American Airlines is the worst company ever!" RBCP would track down their phone number and pretend to be with American Airlines and would let the customer vent at him. Then he'd start saying horrible things, making them hate their company even more. As an extra bonus, he got to watch their Twitter account after the prank, where they would often post a bunch of new tweets about the call they received.
- In 2010, RBCP was inspired by pleaserobme.com to start contacting people who check into businesses using Foursquare. He would search for people who just checked into a bar/restaurant/whatever, and then would call that business and ask an employee to page them, using their real name since that was usually listed either on their Foursquare or Twitter accounts. The confused customer would come to the phone and RBCP would do his best to weird them out, sometimes claiming to be a time traveler and saying that he was them from the future or sometimes just telling them he's an internet stalker.
- In 2010, The Phone Show came up with the brilliant idea of calling the Walgreens photo department and tricking an employee into reading the names and phone numbers from the packets of photos waiting to be picked up by customers. They would call the customers where accusations and anger would quickly ensue.
- On Black Friday in 2011, RBCP and his friend Evie purchased a cordless phone from Target, which just happened to be the same cordless phone that most Target stores use for their employees. They registered their new cordless handset on Target's phone network by going to the photo department and convincing the employee there to set their cordless handset into the photo department's cordless base - this caused their handset to be registered as "Handset #3" and they were able to take the phone outside and use their phone as if they were picking up one of the red phones in the store. They used their new phone to answer calls from customers. Listen to these calls
- In 2011, The Phone Show came up with the idea of having listeners put notes on peoples' cars reading, "Sorry I dinged your car. Please call me at 425-xxx-xxxx." The phone number was a Google Voice number belonging to the PLA. RBCP and friends would call back these people and say wacky things to them. Sometimes they would return the calls live on The Phone Show. Many of the car owners would inspect their cars, finding existing damage and think that they'd caused it, expecting them to pay for the damages. Police from various cities called the number and RBCP would usually call them back and explain the prank to them. RBCP put an end to this prank in December 2012, telling YouTube viewers that he was receiving more fake callbacks from fans of the prank than he was real car ding victims, and it was just too overwhelming to keep up with the volume of calls he was receiving.
- It was either the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012 when The Phone Show began calling Dominos Pizza and tricking employees into reading off a bunch of customer phone numbers from their computers. They would then call the customers, pretending to be Dominos and saying outrageous things. They quickly found out that www.dominos.com has a "tracker" on it where you can input the customer's phone number and not only see exactly what they ordered, but you can see the name of the employee who cooked the pizza and the name of the employee who delivers the pizza. This extra information was used to add realism to their prank calls, making the customers have no doubt that they were talking to a Dominos employee. Dominos eventually began catching on and memos were issued to managers, but this had little effect on the PLA's ability to get phone numbers from employees. The PLA's YouTube has many collections of these pizza prank calls.
- Since the success of the Dominos pizza pranks, PLA has done the same thing to countless other businesses, including Blockbuster Video, Wal-Mart's photo department, K-Mart's layaway department and car dealerships. RBCP will often get lists of numbers for Carlito to use on Madhouse Radio.
A "Cactus" has become the PLA's mascot, sexual pleasure device, and a catchphrase. The origin of the word dates back to an old prank call by RBCP, where he would say nothing but the word "cactus," over and over. In common usage, It can be stated with a question mark "Cactus?" or as an exclamation "Cactus!" Similar "Cactus" themed prank calls are often made by PLA members. (PLA issue #35, 1995)
Roy Gerbil RBCP has been calling himself Roy Gerbil in prank calls since 1994. "Roy" was a name chosen at random while him and Zak (the founder of PLA) made prank calls. Roy was originally a very perverted character, making sexual advances at prank call victims and constantly offering to babysit children free of charge. At the time, the Richard Gere story involving a gerbil was a well-known thing, so RBCP used Gerbil as Roy's last name. These days, the last name is often given a foreign pronunciation, sounding more like "Sherbeel." In 1995, Roy was a regular caller to a Corpus Christi, Texas DJ known as Crazy Corey, on the radio station KRAD, often calling in to be weird and perverted live on the air.
The Corporate Office PLA pranksters often call businesses and impersonate the corporate office of that business in order to get victims to do whatever they say. Most employees are afraid to question anything the corporate office has to say to them.
Stacy Stack Stacy is the name that r0xy often uses in her prank calls. She almost always used it during her prank show, known as The Fun Show.
Mildred Monday Mildred was first contacted by RBCP in 1993, from a pay phone at the Lafayette Square movie theater in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he worked. Her number was picked at random from the telephone book because RBCP found the name amusing. The call was placed using a tone dialer red box to avoid charges for the call. RBCP pretended to be with AT&T, trying to put a call through to Mildred from herself. RBCP transferred her to his "supervisor," who finished the call. The supervisor was played by a kid named Jon Spencer, who was a coworker at the movie theater.
Throughout the 1990's, RBCP and various friends continued to make phone calls to Mildred, but only averaging maybe one call per year to her. In a 1996 call, RBCP tried to confirm an appointment to put new shingles on her home. In 1997, RBCP and Colleen Card called her about the black siding for her home. The 1997 was the last call made to Mildred until around 2009, when RBCP called her to let her know that service people would be arriving in the morning to pave her front lawn with asphalt.
In 1997, RBCP wrote a parody song about Mildred, to the tune of the 80's song Manic Monday by The Bangles. In 2008, RBCP recorded the song and included it on his PLA Radio podcast. You can listen to the song here
On February 17th, 2010, Mildred Monday died, presumably of old age since she was about 140-years-old. Here is her memorial page on phonelosers.org Gnnr, a listener of The Phone Show was so moved by the news of Mildred's passing that he wrote a parody song about her in late 2010, to the tune of Yesterday by The Beatles. Listen to gnnr's song here
Grouchy Old Man
Pizza Sound Check (Dominos)