Saturday, 5 December 2015

Freephone?


                               Résultat de recherche d'images pour "old police phone box"

I'm not 100% sure if this is a true story, but I think it is.

In a nearby village there was a 'telecom engineer's' phone box (not unlike the above) built into a wall outside the Mayor's office. It was made of cast iron, and was built like a safe, and was for the exclusive use of engineers who were repairing local land lines.

One day, after an engineer had been using it, a villager noticed that the key had been carelessly left in the keyhole, and very sensibly he took it home for 'safe keeping'. He had several copies made of the key, and gave them to all his friends and family.

From then on if villagers had a long distance call to make, they always used the box. Free long duration calls were being made to all corners of the earth. Rumours abounded that after dark queues would form outside the box; everyone wished to take advantage of this heaven-sent miracle. The scam lasted for several years.

Eventually the Telecoms Company realised that something was amiss, and the phone box was removed. The villagers were not happy and complained. Their complaints fell upon deaf ears!

People Power!



36 comments:

  1. That's a good one. We all like to put one over the telecom companies.

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  2. Ahh, life in French village. I love it

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  3. If that's true it sounds like theft to me

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    Replies
    1. All theft is evil, but some thefts are more evil than others.

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  4. OMW What a way to catch the telephone company!

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    Replies
    1. Don't ever leave a key in the door.

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  5. Well you sort of have to admire them don't you.

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  6. I was chatting to some old teenage friends ( we are all 70 now, so getting old!) the other day, and D reminded us of how you could somehow tap out a telephone number in a phone box and get through without putting any money in. ( his father was a telephone engineer) I never tried it so can't remember exactly what was " tapped" possibly the silver buttons that the handset rested on.

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    Replies
    1. I always heard that too Frances, but never found anyone who'd managed to make it work.

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    2. The secret is tap tap pause tap tap pause with rhythm and vigour each tap representing the number you are dialing, and it takes a lot of concentration when you have nines and zeros - zero being 10 taps. But it does work.

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    3. I made many long-distance phone calls in the 70s by putting my finger up the refund hole of the change dispenser in phone boxes, and you only had to tap it once to get another ten minutes or so. The scam ended within about a year, when they modified the hole with a blocker.

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  7. 'The scam lasted for several years'. Sharp as a rapier, these telecom companies.

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    Replies
    1. One can only imagine that they never sent themselves a bill.

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    2. Perhaps they threatened to cut themselves off , but the letter was difficult to deliver.

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    3. Like everything else, it is not so much to do with the cost of running the infrastructure than the loss of revenue from the people who are supposed to be the users.

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  8. "Edith, 'urry up, Monsieur Leclerc is 'ere and wants to use his phone, oh for goodness sake she's worse than'er mother....... EDITH".

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    Replies
    1. Listen, I shall say this only once !
      I shall comment on your blog later today.

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    2. Not another bloody comment to reply to... I shall have to get Helga to help me... HELGA,, I am supposed to be very busy today......

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    3. Is that Helga Hattattattatt?

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  9. Just amazing how the cost of technology has changed. I made calls back from Canada and the States at no additional cost to my contract.

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    Replies
    1. Once the infrastructure is in place, there's no reason why it should be expensive.

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  10. It sounds like a movie. Townspeople are giddy making free phone calls all over the world, then one day someone mistakenly calls a Russian spy and hears the word "Fruitcake." He's followed home that night and the next day no one knows where he's gone. War ensues. America gets involved. Add a song by Adele and a 'ghost' cameo by James Stewart and you got a new blockbuster!

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    Replies
    1. Get writing Amy.... you may be onto something.

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  11. I like the look of the little green phone house. It reminds me of something Joseph Cornell might have created.

    Way back when, a New York friend used the tap method for free calls very successfully. I had not thought of that in a long time.

    Best wishes.

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  12. Naughty villagers !!!!!
    It reminds me of the ' Dr Who ' police phone boxes ....... all gone now. XXXX

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  13. Something for nothing. Always a great attraction.

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  14. If it ISN'T a true story, it SHOULD be! Love it.

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  15. It sounds entirely plausible to me.

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