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Classified Ad Practical Joke

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by Smidge Boyter on October 5, 2010


This practical joke is a laugh-generating machine for you and anyone you share it with. However, this evil joke may ruin your friendship with the person you play the gag on and if they find out you were responsible they may return the favor 10 fold. In many areas of the US, there are free or very cheap publications that one can place ads in to sell almost anything you can think of, from used tires to baby clothes. These publications exist to allow sellers to find buyers who will extend the life on the belongings that may have otherwise been placed in the trash. What if you were to place a fake ad, for one of your friends, in one of these papers? What if the ad was very titillating price wise? If the readership for the paper is large, they will be flooded with phone calls from people looking for a great deal.

When the video game console Nintendo first came out, the arcade toy was fairly expensive and every boy from the age of 11 to 17 wanted to get their hands on one. The problem was that the Nintendo was out of the price reach for most of these youngsters. I decided to place an ad in our local trade publication, The Peddler’s Post, for a friend of mine. At the time, a Nintendo cost around $80 and each game ran about $30. The ad that I placed, for my friend Tom, read:

Barely used Nintendo with 4 games, $45. Must sell. Call early mornings and late evenings 555-5555.

Anyone reading the ad would call right away as this posting sounded almost too good to be true (and upon calling they would find out that it was). “What? Sorry, we don’t have any Nintendo for sale.” Their phone started ringing off the hook. They thought, “what a terrible mistake for someone to have placed the wrong number in the ad paper.” After a few days, they had to stop answering the phone and let their voice mail pick up with a message that said the Nintendo was no longer for sale.

I told Tom that the ad mishap was no mistake and that another mutual friend, Chuck, had played the joke on Tom and his family. For this, Tom exacted wrongful revenge upon Chuck by placing a similar ad with Chuck’s phone number. The ad that he placed drew an even higher volume of calls as every kid and baseball card collector in a 3 county radius just about went nuts at seeing:

Pre-1960′s baseball cards, good to mint condition. Very cheep or free to a good owner. 555-5555

Chuck’s family received so many calls they had to unplug the phone for a week. This was even better than my original joke as I didn’t have to do any of the dirty work. I killed two birds with one ad so to speak.

The potential for these wrongful ad placements is almost limitless. To make this an even better prank, list something the victim actually does own but in no way wants to part with, such as the car they recently purchased or leased. Place the ad to sound like a great deal but not one that is too far fetched to seem true. This way you will get more people calling about the ad. Also odd items like “fill dirt” or socially deviant items will get a good laugh, such as:

Porn collection: Boxes of Playboy magazines 1982-1998, mint condition.

Hopefully grandma doesn’t pick up the call while she is over for her weekly visit!

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