Anonymous jerk costs Idaho pizzerias hundreds with prank orders

Illustration for article titled Anonymous jerk costs Idaho pizzerias hundreds with prank orders
Photo: nortonrsx (iStock)

Prank calls to pizzerias happen. We know this. It’s one of the oldest setups in the book: you call under a fake name, order a bunch of food, and send it to a friend’s (or enemy’s) house. But even in the case of such irritating pranks, at least the food’s typically covered, even if the recipient ends up on the hook for an unexpected delivery tip. It doesn’t typically end in hundreds of dollars in losses for the restaurant in question.

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Such has unfortunately been the case for several northern Idaho restaurants in recent weeks, all of which have had to contend with a prank caller running up hundreds of dollars in orders, and then cutting off contact when asked for payment. The Idaho Statesman reports that the caller, who has yet to be identified, reached out to several restaurants about orders as large as 25 pizzas before refusing payment or pickup. In multiple cases, the phone number used had a California area code

One owner “... told the caller she could make 16 pizzas, [and] the man placed a $375 order for pickup at 9 p.m., just before the restaurant closed for the evening.” After he failed to pick up his food, “... she attempted to call and text message the man about the food order, to which he responded, ‘You’ve been dunked.’”

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The hoaxes took place at several other restaurants, through the same phone number. Another owner identified a pattern: “He ordered our largest pizzas and gluten-free stuff that cost more money as well.” Most of the owners acknowledge that they weren’t in the habit of requiring upfront payment from their customers, as these are being smaller, family-operated businesses.

While donations have helped some of the restaurants to recoup their losses, the search continues for the man, given that his “jokes” fall under the legal definition of theft of services. One can only hope for swift justice, not only because of the profound obnoxiousness of his pranks, but because anybody who’d taunt a stranger they just technically robbed with a “you’ve been dunked” is the worst kind of dickhead.

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DISCUSSION

tsuyoikuma

I don’t want to victim blame, but I would think that “smaller, family-operated businesses” would be the exact businesses that would want to request payment ahead of time for large, expensive orders because they would be the very businesses that would be less able to take the loss if something falls through. It’s been a long time since I’ve dealt with a small, family operated business in a non-urban center - is this really a common thing that they’ll be happy to prepare a multi-hundred dollar order with nothing more to vouch for it than an anonymous stranger’s word over the phone???