Or just, messing with me today? Because I have, like, NOTHNG ELSE to do.
Here's a new one for you guys:
Today my phone rings and it's this woman, who sounds very..normal. No foreign accent, articulate, friendly, personable, slightly chatty, etc. She tells me she's calling me from Africa (eyebrow up), and that they are going to be moving home soon to a local mansion that they have bought. They are "renewing their vows" (at this point I'm still with her) before flying off to Hawaii and Disneyland (in that order, other eyebrow starting to go up).
She asks if I can do a pillow cake with a crown on it, I say sure. She says, "Because my husband's, ACTUALLY a prince." I'm thinking, "Okay, your husband's great." But she's trying to say he's actual royalty, and she mentions it several more times. I'm unimpressed (sorry). But yes, i can do a crown on a pillow.
Her next request is that she wants a four-foot-tall Faberge design cake, and can I do this? I say that I can but first I need to know her date, and she says, "Oh..you know..soon." We talk about design for a minute, she's obviously on my website, compliments me on cakes etc. But in small talk she also keeps mentioning that her husband "works at the embassy," they are "financially comfortable," (starting to lose me here, why does this matter?). She also needs to tell me that her husband, who's a prince, remember, is half-Australian and half-South African, but that her daughter is: White (me: "Huh? So?"). both eyebrows starting to be annoyed.
She asks about tastings and flavors, and we have a somewhat normal conversation about that--what he likes, what she likes etc. She sounds pretty sane. I tell them they can come in if they want (when they're in the states, that is). She tells me again, "That would be nice, but my husband's...black. But he USED to be white." At this point, I'm like, WTF??
I told her to send me an order online and I would check my calender and see if I'm available (I'm booked thru June heavily, so that's true.). She says she only wants to work with me.
I figure I'm not going to hear from her. Ten minutes later I get an online order with her info (her name as Princess *insert name*) and that she will take whatever date I want and give me directions "when they're in the states". The order has no capitalization (even for the name of the mansion) and the design info is..odd (like those nigerian scam orders) and random.
I looked up her # (duh, Poynt, people), and it's a LEWISTON, IDAHO phone number. Ok. So she took her idaho cel phone to Africa to live? And the name of the "mansion" they're "buying" to live in, in two weeks, is a major venue I deal with in Spokane, so I called them and said "Hey, this is Stef--are you guys for sale?" Of course we had a bit of a laugh about it, because of course they're not. But really. What's the POINT of all this???
I emailed her and said I'd gotten to my desk and see that I don't, in fact, have any dates open in June and best luck in future etc. If it's a scam, beware, I guess. If it's real, I don't have time anyway, and I was polite and professional. But seriously? Too many red flags on that one.
Of course if she offers to prepay by overpayment and asks me to send her back whatever extra $, I'll know my hunch is right.
What a weirdo I think you did the right thing, but part of me wishes you'd go along with her story like you believe her, and then report back to us
It wasn't red flags, it was a bunch of blatant lies. They are moving into a venue? HA!
I would call the cops actually and make a report. I had someone from Idaho (cell phone number) call me and claim to be from T-mobile and that my payment was past due and they were about to shut my phone off and I needed to give them my card number to avoid disconnection. I KNEW I wasn't past due as I had just made a payment, and I asked how much my bill was and he told me it was like $50 - but my monthly charges are actually over $200. I told him I would call back and make the payment directly with T-mobile and I called them and sure enough, it wasn't them and my bill was current.
I called the Idaho cops and gave them the number the call came from - don't know what ever came of it, but at least maybe they can trace the con artist.
I would have loved to be sitting in your office watching your face as this lunatic goes on about princes and race changes and going to disneyland. Priceless. Certainly a scam...but a laughable one at that.
I tell them they can come in if they want (when they're in the states, that is). She tells me again, "That would be nice, but my husband's...black. But he USED to be white." At this point, I'm like, WTF??
I'm a little confused. Did she actually say her husband used to be white, but now he is black? Regardless, after this sentence I would've said I was booked. There's some strange people in this world, wow! lol!
Scam artist for sure and not a very good one.
More than 95% sure it is a scam. BUt like Dayti, I sorta wish that you would have gone along with it and told us about it later.
Now What I would have done is this. I would have found a date even if it was 3 or 4 months down the road and told her that was the first date I had open. If she is still interested here is what she will have to do before I will save the date for her(them). She is to get me 75% of the money up front in a money order or a cashiers check( ask your bank which one would be better-which one won't cause your account any problems if it is not good. If it is good then you let her know that you have saved that date and here is what you need. Anyway you send her a list of things you need from her before you can start proceedings and that you will need all the time you can get because you are also busy with other people's cakes. My bet is that this is really when you will see how serious she is. If she really is serious then ok, she might be weird, but so far you have not really lost anything. Because what you did is that you actually figured what you wanted to make out of the whole deal as the 75% that you told her you would need up front. In truth, you told her to pay the whole 100% up front, but she thinks it is only 75%. I hope this is clear. You don't want her to think that you don't beleive her. Because who knows she may really be weird, but totally real.
she is not intending to pick up the cake you haven't lost a thing. More than likely not.
What a loon.
Guess she was using her free weekly phone call at the asylum?
What a loon.
Guess she was using her free weekly phone call at the asylum?
HAHA that made laugh out loud and my kids looked at me like I was crazy! =) Funny story! Thank you for sharing! I don't understand at all why a scammer would add in the stuff about race??? WTH? Did she think that made her sound more real and serious? OMGosh!
sounds like maybe she was pranking you if it wasn't a scam
I'm sorry she wasted your time, but thank you for sharing... this made me laugh out loud while I'm wasting my time on the internet! I read it to my husband and even he laughed out loud!
karateka, LOL!! I just figure that unless someone really offends me I have no reason to offend them back by letting them know that I don't believe them. Of course she could say, whoa, hang on there. You are giving me too much information and here is what I need before I can save a date for you and you proceed to give her a bunch of things that she needs to do and a time limit in which to do them. More than likely she will not do what you have requested of her because she is just toying with you.
More than likely she is the loon that you have described her to be.
OMG you guys are hilarious! Thanks.
OK here's the next thing. I got a TEXT from her with an incredible photo of a Faberge egg vase filled with gorgeous flowers. This would be the inspiration for the 4' tall cake she's wanting. With a CB# of her idaho cel#.
She did sound very rational, but yes, she did keep bringing up his color, and yes, I swear she said he's black,...but he *used* to be white... I let that one go. But I did say I don't care what color he is; bring him in.
Tomorrow I may call her and tell her I don't see any June dates open, (I really don't have time for a 4' cake this month unless I work 24-hour shift), and see where it goes. But NO sending me extra money.
She also asked for a caterer's # for a reference, and I gave her one before I started wondering about the whole thing, so I then called THEM and left a msg that if an African princess calls for a party, to let me know please.
Also I'd love to know what time is it at the S African embassy, when it's 2 pm PST here? Just a thought...
Will keep ya posted. Should be an interested weekend.
Assuming I'm willing to go along with the fact that, ok, yes, they're royalty and they don't know their next address, then (possibly) I could be looking at a very expensive cake. Am I supposed to call her Your Majesty next time? What's the protocol for visiting royalty by phone in Idaho? The whole conversation was very pleasant and chatty, albeit *surreal* and with way too much odd personal info from her (did I mention we're rich? WHO announces that??), and I was driving in heavy traffic, which makes me a little ADD anyway. But maybe she's an eccentric princess who really just loves red velvet and wants a 4' Faberge egg in cake.
Assuming all that--she also still reminded me very much of a woman we knew when I was a kid, who actually lived with us in the 1970s, who was very schizophrenic and on heavy meds, and when she would go off her meds, she would call me from Seattle when I was 13 and be like "Hiiii Stef...I'm having a tea party. Do you want to come to my tea party?" And I'd be on the phone looking at my mom, like "Isn't Diane still in SEATTLE?!? Seven hours away??" Then, "Sure, Diane, I'd love that. Yeah, ok, well, here's my mom." She was very odd when off meds, but in a sweet believable way.
So. Tomorrow I will get this straightened out. Meantime, enjoy. I posted that original post from the shop right after it happened, and I'm still laughing, hours later. You guys are a great reality check.
Little more research on the name she gives that would be her prince husband's name...her last name is Mark. He'd be Prince Mark, right? Her full name doesn't google. His name doesn't, either, except:
There is a Prince Mark Hotel in, guess? --Australia and South Africa.
And the mansion she named, that they're "moving into" (not) is an off-version name for the venue I know, so when you google her named version, it comes up as this other main mansion venue (but it isn't known as that now). A foreigner googling this area could conceivably come up with that alternate unknown name and think it would suffice. duh
Seriously? Why take it this far?
Maybe I'll just see if she calls me back to see if I got the photo. At this point I'm inclined to think it's just a kook who's planning a party that will never be. Makes me feel strange that she's got my phone #, email, website, and fb page now, though...
Sounds like a scam!
However I will say I did get a wedding order one time from a lady who was working overseas at an embassy who was going to get married here in the Philly area. She was actually in Nigeria HAHAHA at the embassy there. I pretty much wrote her off but then she finally called me saying she was serious, and totally wanted a cake....gave me her stateside address and also told me where the wedding was going to be. Kinda freaked me out....
But it did go through! I didn't allow any wired money, I think I requested a money order or Paypal, can't remember...but she paid exactly what I charged, none of this "I'm sending you extra to ship" stuff, and it was a real wedding.
However I will say that is NOT normal...most of them are scams. And she didn't claim to be a princess, haha...she just worked overseas.
I'm pretty ruse. I've never received a call like this, but I receive the emails all the time. My answer to each and every one:
Please put me on your "do not scam" list. Thank you.
yep, I think I'm done with it. If she contacts me again, I'll just say I'm booked. I don't see what the scam would be (except the extra money thing), or why put so much believable effort into it, but people are getting better at working angles these days.
I'm always polite (you never know; maybe they'll adopt me as the royal chef and you guys could address me as Such), but I'm also not very gullible.
Have a great weekend, and of course, I'll follow up if any thing new develops. If it turns into a scam, I will turn the info in.
No doubt about it...total, complete, utter cake scam.
What's the protocol for visiting royalty by phone in Idaho?
This is the best sentence I've read all day.
This is different.
Stef, I saw that you said you weren't going to get extra money from her. The only reason that I suggested that was if you were to go ahead and do the cake and at least you would have money for your efforts if you did get stuck with the cake because it was a scam.
If I was the one doing it, I would get all my money up front, but she would not know that was the case. If it ended up that she saw the deal through I would just tell her thank you for the opportunity to do a unique cake and that she was good(she didn't owe me any more money.) If she wondered why I would just tell her that because a cake that big would be expensive to make and hard to get rid of if she had not come through, and yes to be truthful you had some question about that. So now that she has and you do not have a cake to get rid of she doesn't owe you any more. She may be unhappy that you didn't trust her story, but she also may be happy that she doesn't owe you any more and forgive you. she may be so happy with the cake that she would give references to others. I guess that no matter how lunatic the situation is, it may be straight up, but I would have the money to reimburse myself for all my work should it really be the scam it sounds. I guess if I made a huge cake like that and it was a scam and I still had the money, I would just throw a huge party for my friends and have them help me eat the cake. LOL>>!!! YOu also would not be at a total loss that you had taken her order and not someone else's.
You might want to consider going into your facebook account and blocking her.
Her name should be Princess Nutjob. I don't think it's a scam, I think it's just a wacko playing a fun game of make-believe. I guess that would qualify as a scam, but she sounds like she went off her meds adn she's making things up.
I think that's it. I havent heard back n dont have time to check in on her today
do people realy think that we are that dum to believe all that?
sad thing is some people realy DO believe them
You tell a great story, Chef Stef! Very entertaining! I was laughing so hard about the schizo, I starting coughing and choking!
It sounds like a scam. There's so many wholes in her story it stinks like swiss cheese!
I've been working in home improvement warehouses for several years, and there has been a long standing scam kinda similar to this. Somebody would call into the store and say they needed to order a lot of floor tile (like several pallets) and needed it shipped to somewhere in Africa. I got one of these calls once (in Colorado, almost as far away from Africa as you can get and no where near a port to ship them to Africa from) and they guy said he ran an orphanage. The person then would say they would pay with a credit card over the phone (which were stolen credit cards). If they got somebody to fall for it, they would call a day or two later to cancel the order, and say the credit card was stolen from them or account was closed or whatever so it couldn't be returned to the card, so to just send them a check for the refund. If this woman wasn't just pulling a prank, she may have been trying the same thing. I would bet if you accepted some sort of payment from her, she would have called with some excuse a couple of days later. They work fast with the stolen credit cards to try to get away with as much as they can before people realize their card has been stolen. They are targeting small businesses more and more since larger business have more resources to identify and fight these types of things.
That is fine if the cancel the order. You haven't lost anything if you waited until they came up with the deposit money in cash before you started. I would not even accept a credit card from anyone I did not personally know(or have known for a while) as a deposit. I don't save the date, or start buying anything before I get the money(good).
Interesting point, with the "stolen card, please refund" deal.
I didn't contact her highness (?) And I haven't heard from her, so I'm going to assume she either, a) got back on her meds or b) found an easier mark.
If she *does* try to contact me again, I'll just say I'm not available. Ever. .
Thanks for being a great place to tell these things to and get some perspective on things like this.