The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Business/Finance
Bob Pagano Wins $365M Powerball Lottery — Status: Hoax Alan Abel has struck again, this time with the help of a regular here at the Museum of Hoaxes, Bob Pagani (aka Cranky Media Guy). Bob pretended to be the winner of the $365M Powerball lottery. (The real winners were a bunch of meat packers.) Apparently Abel helped behind the scenes. The action took place on Monday, but I didn't hear about it until today when I got an email from a reporter at the Des Moines Register asking me if I had heard about the Powerball Prank, and…
Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006.   Comments (17)

Narnia Walks Out of WTO Meeting — Status: Hoax In a dramatic move, the representatives of the state of Narnia have walked out of the WTO meeting in Hong Kong. AFX News issued this news release: AFX News Limited WTO MEETING - Narnia walks out of talks; says tired of EU, US 'bullying' 12.18.2005, 07:16 AM HONG KONG (AFX) - The independent state of Narnia has walked out of trade negotiations here, citing pressure from the European Union and the US to enforce liberalization of its garment-related sector. Narnian…
Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2005.   Comments (6)

Breath Capture — Status: Real (but possibly a publicity stunt) Breath Capture is a company that's selling air. Or more specifically, they're selling tubes. The customers themselves are supposed to provide the air by breathing into the tubes. They promote these tubes as a way to "Capture the breath of a loved one or friend and keep them close. Forever." So it's a gimmick, kind of like pet rocks, or buying land on the Moon. But what gets me is this claim the company makes on it site: Breath Capture is a…
Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2005.   Comments (7)

Chinese Company Bids $450bn for Exxon — Status: Hoax I find this very strange. A Chinese company, King Win Laurel, has filed paperwork with the SEC indicating that it's planning to make a bid to buy oil giant Exxon for $450bn. But analysts are dismissing the bid as a prank, since King Win Laurel doesn't have the kind of money necessary to make good on such an offer. Apparently King Win Laurel has a history of making hoax bids. Last year, for instance, it made a fake bid to buy Telstra. It also tried to buy a New Zealand firm…
Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2005.   Comments (5)


Gillette’s 5-Blade Razor — Here's a great example of satirical prophecy (defined as a joke becoming a reality). Back in February 2004 The Onion lampooned the razor industry with a spoof article, supposedly written by the CEO of Gillette, declaring that his company was going to one-up the competition by inventing a five-blade razor with two lubricating strips: Stop. I just had a stroke of genius. Are you ready? Open your mouth, baby birds, cause Mama's about to drop you one sweet, fat nightcrawler. Here she…
Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2005.   Comments (26)

Outsourcing Blogging — I always feel guilty when I don't update my weblog regularly. Like when I was finishing my book and didn't have time to post, or this past week when I got the stomach flu and didn't feel like sitting at the computer. The guys at Blogoriented have an ingenious solution to this problem. They're outsourcing blogging: We are outsourcing blogs to China. Our general business model is a two tiered effort to hire Chinese citizens to write blogs en masse for us at a valued wage... These blogs…
Posted: Fri Aug 19, 2005.   Comments (13)

Rent My Son — For all those occasions when a kid would come in handy (I can't think of any), RentMySon.com offers the solution. Just call them up and they'll send a kid over. They rent out kids for proms, birthday parties, father/son events, etc. And if you'd like to make a little bit of extra money by hiring out your kid, they'll arrange that too. (Yes, the site is a hoax).
Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2005.   Comments (21)

Upgrade My Wife — What is it with this thing about begging for money to pay for plastic surgery? It's become the new online phenomenon, as if the most deserving people in the world are those who need a tummy tuck or boob job. As it happens the guy who created Upgrade My Wife is hoping to get both those surgeries for his wife. And he wants internet surfers to pay for them. He writes: I created this web site because my wife has been considering a tummy tuck and breast augmentation for quite a few years,…
Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2005.   Comments (14)

Man Arrested For Paying With Two-Dollar Bill — The Baltimore Sun reports on the case of Mike Bolesta, who was recently arrested for the crime of paying a bill with $2 bills. This seems to be an example of an urban legend come to life--the urban legend being the one about a clerk in a store who doesn't realize that $2 bills are legal money and reports a customer who uses them to the police. In the case of Mike Bolesta, he did use A LOT of $2 bills, 57 of them in all, to pay a bill at Best Buy. But still, there doesn't appear to have…
Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2005.   Comments (30)

The Nike Swoosh — Was the Nike Swoosh (which is perhaps one of the most famous corporate logos in the world, second only to McDonald's golden arches) really designed by a graphic design student who got paid only $35 for it? It sounds like an urban legend playing off of Nike's use of cheap Asian sweatshop labor. But apparently the story is true. At least, the Nike website confirms it. The swoosh was designed in 1971 by design student Carolyn Davidson, and she did only receive $35 for it. However, in 1983…
Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2005.   Comments (7)

Sonic Stain Remover — Would this thing actually work? It's described as an ultrasonic stain remover that "will remove virtually any clothing stain, no matter how stubborn." The fact that the ad copy keeps repeating the phrase 'utilizes ultrasonic technology' without actually explaining how or why it's supposed to work makes me skeptical. I guess the ultrasonic sound waves are somehow supposed to break up stain particles? If it did work as advertised, it would be useful. (via Red Ferret)
Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2005.   Comments (28)

Credit Card Prank, Parts I and II — Zug's Credit Card Prank was widely linked to a few years ago. This is the prank as he describes it: Every time you make a credit card purchase, they're supposed to match your signature against the one on the back of your card. Nobody seems to check anymore, so I tried to see how far I could push it with wacky signatures like "Mariah Carey" and "Zeus". Now Zug has posted a sequel to the Credit Card Prank in which he makes his signatures even wackier and tries to discover what he can get…
Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2005.   Comments (16)

Social Security for Sale — 'Billionaires for Bush' placed the American Social Security System up for sale on eBay. Apparently it was quickly pulled, but Billionaires for Bush has archived the auction on their own site: Due to the surprising failure of carefully staged "conversations" across America to convince the American Public that Privatizing Social Security is a good thing, we have decided to take matters into our own hands. As a favor to President Bush and offered exclusively here to the winning bidder…
Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2005.   Comments (3)

Is McDonalds Outsourcing their Drive-Thru Windows? — The rumor I heard was that McDonalds would be outsourcing the job of taking orders at the drive-thru window to some company in North Dakota, because the minimum wage in North Dakota is only $5.15, whereas it's higher in other states, so they figure they can save some money. In other words, you could be going through a drive-thru in San Diego and giving your order to some guy in North Dakota. This struck me as very odd. But it appears that the story is basically true, except that
Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2005.   Comments (81)

The Money Blog Experiment — The Blog Experimenter, as he calls himself, is a "30-something guy living in the midwest United States." His experiment is to create a blog, put Google Ads on it, and see how much money he can make off the venture. Except he's really created two blogs. The first one is 'the money blog', which is the blog that is the subject of the experiment. The second is the 'blog money experiment', on which he chronicles his efforts to make money with the google-ad-driven 'money blog'. He doesn't…
Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2005.   Comments (26)

An Interview with Hiroshi Yamauchi — An interview with Hiroshi Yamauchi, former president of Nintendo, has been doing the rounds. It's supposedly published in the February issue of Wired. The interview is quite colorful, to say the least. For instance, at one point Yamauchi claims that during a meeting with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer he said to him, 'hey, Ballmer, why don't you suck my tiny yellow balls.' This was his response to Microsoft's offer to buy Nintendo. The quotation is offered up in bold letters in the sidebar,…
Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2005.   Comments (4)

Salvation Army Gold Coin Mystery — A coin dropped into a Salvation Army kettle last week in Naperville has made headlines. It was a $400 gold coin wrapped in a $1 million bill (the $1 million bill was fake). This brings up the mystery of just who's behind this tradition of dropping gold coins into Salvation Army kettles. Apparently the tradition dates back to 1982, when a gold coin was dropped into a kettle in a Chicago suburb. Gold coins have shown up in kettles in many states ever since then. Some think the coins are…
Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2004.   Comments (33)

Overpriced Amazon Items — How much would you pay for a one-page pdf file discussing the delayed launch of Sony's PlayStation Portable in North America? What about $750. That's the price it's going for on Amazon. But maybe it's worth it, because it has received quite a few five-star reviews. For instance, D.C. McKinney says that it's "Definately a good read and well worth the price of admission! This gem of a find is a must for anyone with even the slightest bit of interest in delays in the world of Sony…
Posted: Tue Dec 14, 2004.   Comments (10)

End of World Causes Bank Failure — Numerous bad loans to a polygamist sect that believes the end of the world is nigh has caused the 99-year-old Bank of Ephraim in Utah to go under. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a small Mormon sect a small splinter sect of the Mormon church, unaffiliated with the main church) was spending money like the end of the world was around the corner... because they thought the end of the world actually was around the corner. And happily funding this spending…
Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2004.   Comments (5)

ATM Dispenses Fake Cash — When customers of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce tried to withdraw cash from the bank's ATM, instead of money they received "colorful bills used as incentives at Canadian Tire Corp. hardware stores." So what do you do if an ATM gives you funny money instead of real bills? An article in the Charlotte Observer (requires obnoxious registration) gives this advice: "Don't walk or drive away from the teller window without checking the money first... Once you leave the teller, fake…
Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2004.   Comments (16)

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