April Fool's Prank

The Spark Group is built up of back-end web developers, front-end web designers, interactive designers, photographers, social media producers, copywriters, photographers, digital analysts, paid search and display certified individuals, brand ambassadors, content creators, photoshop retouchers, designers, creative directors, and blah blah blah. The most important thing right now is that we are all certified professional pranksters.

So do you think we would ever pass up the chance to pull off a good prank come April Fools? No way!

We had to make this believable, so in keeping true to The Spark Group’s knowledge and love of branding (from digital marketing to interior design), we “decided” to sell an aqua filing cabinet that didn’t exactly seem to fit in line with our black, orange, white, and grey branding. But we had no actual intention of actually letting the filing cabinet go. We’re kind of fond of it actually (and is a nice accent color if we do say so ourselves).

But enough about that. Let’s get down to business.

The Victim:
Pamela, Executive Assistant

The Set-Up (March 31, 2015):
1) Tell Pamela that we had decided to sell our aqua filing cabinet, because it simply didn’t match and we had found an orange one that would fit in perfectly.

2) Have Pamela place an ad on Craigslist for the 3-month old cabinet for $250 (original price: $159)

3) Ensure Pamela had placed the ad. Which of course she had, with a photo of the cabinet as could be found on CB2’s website. Note: They don’t sell the aqua cabinet any more, so she placed a link to a mint colored one.

3) Create a persona who would contact (and then semi-harass) Pamela to purchase the cabinet.

4) Make this persona 100% believable. We decided this guy’s name was Harvey. But Harvey what? Using LinkedIn, we found a Harvey who worked in NYC and created an email address for him. His email address also consisted of all of the information we could gather from his LinkedIn profile: Full Name, Photo, Company Name, Full Title, Company Phone Number (Fake Extension, just in case), and Fake NYC Cell Number.

The Prank:

From Harvey to Pamela:
Hello,
I am interested in the filing cabinet you have listed on Craigslist. I am hoping to get this filing cabinet as soon as possible. Do you have photos of the actual cabinet you have? I want to ensure its condition.

Kind regards,
Harvey

Pamela To Harvey:
Hello Harvey,
The filing cabinet it’s s available to pick up immediately. Please find attached actual photos of the cabinet. Let me know if you have any other questions.

The Cabinet

cabinet3

 

april fools prank

[At this point, Pamela was receiving plenty of emails asking to purchase the cabinet, but all very confused as to why the cabinet was so overpriced.]

Harvey To Pamela:
Thank you Pamela. Can you please send over a photo of yourself with the cabinet so I can ensure that you have it?

Pamela To Harvey:
Sure, no problem!

Pamela By The Cabinet

Harvey to Pamela:
Thank you. Can you send more photos of the cabinet? I want to ensure there is no damage.

 [At this point, Harvey’s particularity and excessiveness was starting to get to Pamela.]

Pamela To Harvey:
This cabinet is in perfect condition, as I said when I listed it on craigslist. The photos that I previously sent should be enough to ensure that, but if you need to see more photos I’ll send them over.

Harvey To Pamela:
I am sorry to take up your time, but I was hoping for more photographs. Would you send photos of every side of the cabinet and of the drawer insides? I want to make sure it is in excellent condition.

Pamela to Harvey:
Here are the photos of the drawer insides. I have already sent you the sides of the cabinet in my previous emails. I’m sorry but my phone takes too long to send these photos, which is why I’m not sending them over again. Also, you can pass by my office if you want to ensure that the cabinet is in perfect condition.

The Drawers of the Cabinet

[Wow. Pamela is putting up with this.]

Another Drawer of the Cabinet

 

Harvey To Pamela:
Thank you again for your time. This cabinet looks great! I’m curious as to why the price listed for the filing cabinet is more than the price of the cabinet itself is listed as on the CB2 website, which lists the price as $159. The price you are asking for is $250. This is $91 over the price of a new filing cabinet. Can you please elaborate on why this is so overpriced?

[Quick on her feet, Pamela, came up with an inventive response: This cabinet was a one of a kind!]

Pamela To Harvey:
Sorry for the delay. CB2 does not have this color in their inventory. This color was a limited edition and that’s why the price is higher than the store’s price.

Harvey to Pamela:
I understand. I am quite fond of this aqua color and do think it is much more beautiful than the ones currently being sold at CB2. The mint color is so ugly!!! And the other colors are just very boring. Yuk. Do you agree?

 Also, do you mind me asking why you are so anxious to get rid of it? Is there something wrong with it I cannot see in the photographs? Do the wheels not work properly or do the drawers not slide in and out with ease? Because this is beautiful and I do not understand your need to sell it unless there is a serious malfunction with it.

Pamela To Harvey:
Yes, I do agree with you. That color is very ugly!

There is no problem with this cabinet. We decided to sell it because we have chaged our office furniture and and we no longer use that color as part of our decore. Also, we bought new filling cabinets and are in no longer need of it.

[Seems rational enough. But Harvey, so it seems, has had some trust issues with Craigslist.]

Harvey To Pamela:
Interesting, that makes complete sense. Can you promise that I can take your word for it? A filing cabinet with wheels that do not work and drawers that do not slide are not worth my time at all. Please tell me that I can trust you. I have been scammed by too many people on this website and do not want to take this chance again.

Pamela to Harvey:

Definitely! If you buy it I can guarantee that it will not be a mistake. 

[Pamela gave her word that this is, in fact, a perfectly sound cabinet, but Harvey had more to reveal.]

Harvey To Pamela:
I trust you. You seem much more honest than most people on Craigslist. Can you believe I once bought a kitten from here and was sent pictures of an entirely different cat? The cat in the pictures was a beautiful black kitten with white paws and blue eyes. He would have looked great with my apartment furniture. Anyway, the cat that I received was missing an eye and didn’t have a left back leg, which made it very difficult for it to walk. Whenever it would try to walk, he would fall over on his left side. He would meow in pain and wouldn’t stop until I fed him warm milk (which I had to warm up in a pot, he wouldn’t drink microwaved milk) from a bottle. Because he also had issues with his sight, sometimes he wouldn’t recognize me and he would get so scared he would try to run away as fast as he could but of course, he would fall over immediately. Then he would refuse his milk because of his fright and he wouldn’t be able to stop meowing hysterically. He would also scratch me all over as I tried to calm him. I had scratches all over my arms and face. He even scratched my eye and had to go to the hospital to get it looked at and I had to wear an eye patch for 2 weeks. It was horrible when he didn’t recognize me. It was so sad. He would cry for hours and I lost hours of sleep over it. Sometimes I couldn’t even make it to work because I was so tired. I almost got let go. Of course I didn’t have to take the kitten when I went to pick it up in Red Hook, but I couldn’t leave the kitten behind. I felt that I could help him so much because when I saw the state of the apartment he was living in, I was in so much pain. There was trash everywhere, beer cans all over the floor, and guns throughout the apartment. I even saw a .50 caliber Barrett M82 with a silencer attached. I thought he might kill this kitten if I didn’t take it. He probably would have. Now that I think of it, he might have been responsible for the missing eye and lost leg. That is so so sad.

 There have been several other incidents that have made me cautious of Craigslist posts, but the deals can be so good!!!! Anyway, I hope you understand that I am sharing this with you so that you would understand that I cannot go through this again. I cannot bear to be betrayed again, so please, all I ask is that you let me know if there is anything wrong with the cabinet before I pick it up. What time would I be able to pick it up?

 And as for the kitten, Bruno, I was forced to put him to sleep 5 weeks and 3 days ago. We couldn’t take it any more. I was living in pain and so was he. So much pain. But of course, this has nothing to do with this. I just wanted to let you know that I am OK and that I have had sufficient time to mourn and get over my loss through anger management therapy.

 Thank you and please let me know. I appreciate your professional courtesy and honesty here.

 [At this point, Pamela was extremely scared, and called our team over to read over the email she had received. She also mentioned that she had looked Harvey up on LinkedIn and found that he was, in fact, a real person. We all told Pamela about the horror cases that had taken place on Craigslist and that Harvey was probably just hesitant. We didn’t care how creepy he sounded. We needed that cabinet sold, and he was the only person emailing that was not concerned about the $91 price increase for an old filing cabinet.]

[Pamela’s day at The Spark Group was almost over, and she had yet to respond to Harvey’s last email. She mentioned she had other work to get to before heading out and would email him after she left. Later we found out she would email him while out of the office because she was scared of what would happen if such a man was to show up. To hurry things up, we decided to send another email from Harvey. Note: The day before, we had had clients from Aflac come to our office. Clients who had met with Pamela and who had commented on the beautiful design of the conference room (RIGHT where the cabinet was located.)]

Harvey To Pamela:
UPDATE: I have circulated the photos you provided me to a group of my closest friends, in an attempt to catch any potential photoshop mischief on your part. A friend of mine who works at Aflac recognized your conference room and the aqua cabinet. She has assured me that it did in fact look like it was in working order.

 I apologize for doubting you, but as you now know, I have been fooled in the past. Now that I trust you and know your exact location, I do not need any further email reassurance.

 I will arrive to 1133 Broadway, Suite 1328 at 5pm as I am leaving my office now.

Frightened, Pamela left early for the day. And as quickly as possible. She had “CPA Exams” to take. We were sure that the Aflac reference would give the whole prank away. But NOPE. We just frightened Pamela away.]

The Reveal (April 2, 2015):

April Fools Prank

Acknowledgments: John Lindsay from DontEvenReply.com for the prank inspiration, The Spark Group team for not LOLing the whole day long as Pamela dealt with Harvey, for offices with glass windows that allowed us to see Pamela’s reactions all day long, and of course, to Pamela for putting up with us.

Disclaimer: No kittens were harmed during this process and no filing cabinets were sold.

Apologies: To everyone who contacted Pamela through Craigslist to buy a cabinet that wasn’t actually being sold. Sorry for wasting a few minutes of your time and taking your dream away of being the lucky owner of such a beautiful (limited edition!) cabinet.