The April Fool's Day Phony Bargain Prank
The Boston Globe Price Cut.
Readers of the Boston Morning Globe could have purchased their papers for half the cost on April Fool's Day, if they had been alert. The price listed on the front page had been lowered from "Two Cents Per Copy" to "One Cent." But almost 60,000 copies of the paper were sold before anyone noticed the unannounced price change. When the management of the Globe found out about the change, they were just as surprised as everyone else. The new price turned out to be the responsibility of a mischievous production worker who had surreptitiously inserted the lower value at the last minute as the paper went to print.
The Guardian announced that under a new incentive plan, each of its readers would be eligible to receive a "Guardian Gourmet Card," allowing them to gain a 15% discount at participating restaurants. The card would also allow holders to be eligible for 850,000 pounds in prize money. Each card would display a ten digit number broken into a sequence of three-four-three. Each week top chefs would be asked to select their favorite three course dinner. A menu would be randomly selected from among these choices, and then the total calories in each course would be determined. These calorie amounts would become the prize-winning number, to be matched against the numbers on a card.
In a separate article, the Guardian admitted there was some similarity between their Gourmet bingo game and a bingo-style scheme launched by their competitor, the Standard, to earn reductions on restaurant meals (a scheme which the Guardian had derided as tawdry and commercial). But the Guardian's editor noted: "I cannot of course deny that there is pounds 850,000 at stake here... Nevertheless the whole tone and refined taste of the competition, redolent of wild strawberries rather than the sweaty armpits of the
The Sunday East African Standard in Kenya printed an advertisement and a back-page story profiling a new mobile phone service provider called Kencom Limited. The new mobile phones would come with built-in scratch cards, internet service, videocams, and TV screens. What's more, service would cost a low rate of only four shillings per minute. To make the service even more attractive, a coupon was offered with the enticement that the first 3,000 people to submit the coupon would receive free phones. By noon, over 5,000 entry forms had already been submitted to the East African Standard Town Office in Nairobi. Among the hopefuls dropping off coupons were said to be top military personnel, politicians, and businessmen.
Free internet access through digital radio.
Australia's Courier Mail reported that the roll-out of digital radio in Queensland had the unintended side effect of making high-speed internet access freely available through old radio receivers. The paper interviewed the University of Queensland's head of frequency physics Prof Sayd al Lio who said, "the technicians had tapped into something that had eluded researchers for decades." To access the free internet, readers were instructed to place a radio on a surface outdoors in a direct line towards the Mt. Coot-tha radio towers:
"Tune in to any AM station with a moderate volume, not so loud it annoys the neighbours. Place your laptop behind the radio receiver, again in a direct line with the towers, and open your favourite internet browser. Experts say that today, April 1, otherwise known as April Fool's Day, should produce the strongest signal."
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.