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TUCoPS :: Phreaking General Information :: deptfone.txt

Department store Phones




Department Store Phones

by RedBoxChiliPepper & originally printed in the System Failure 'zine.

Department Store Phones. They're everywhere. Well, okay, not everywhere
but they're in department stores like K-Mart, Target, Venture, Wal-Mart,
Fred Meyers and they're even popping up in grocery stores now. These
phones can provide an individual with hours upon hours of good clean-cut
entertainment and the only draw back is that in the end it usually ends
up making alot of other people extremely miserable. This shouldn't
concern you, though.

Choosing Your Phone

The phone you choose should be in the most secluded place in the store
you can possibly find. Preferably in an isle that very few store
employees go to and a phone that doesn't have a security dome on the
ceiling staring down at you.

In some stores, such as Target, they encourage their guests to use the
courtesy phones so you don't even have to hide yourself so well. Alot of
employees that see some kid using one of their phones will think nothing
of it but other employees like to pretend that they're important and
will ask you what the hell you're doing to which you should reply with a
swift kick in thier groin.

Free Calls

Of course you can almost always get free phone calls from these phones.
In most cases you merely have to punch "9" to get an outside dial tone
and from there you can place local calls and 800 toll-free calls.
Sometimes you have to dial "0" and ask the store's operator to give you
an outside line or dial an outside number. If they ask who you are, just
say you're the new guy.

At most stores, the operators will connect you with their store in
another state if you have a need to talk to them. Let's say you want to
call the DefCon Voice Bridge in Utah. All you have to do is ask the
store operator to connect you to a ficticious city in Utah.

You: Yes, I need to be connected to the Wal-Mart in ChiliPepper, Utah.
Her: Okay, and who am I speaking with?
You: My name's Chris. The employee here in sporting goods said I could
     have you call this store because I need to talk to them about
     delivering an item to that store for my parent's birthday.
Her: Okay...Hmmm, I don't see a ChiliPepper, Utah listed here in my
     directory. Are you sure we have a store there?
You: Yeah, positive, I used to work there. Actually, I know the phone
     number there. Want it?
Her: Sure.
You: Okay, it's 801-855-3326.
Her: I'll go ahead and write that in here. Hold on and I'll connect you.

The protection against long distance calls on these phones suck. The
store owners try to instruct their phones to disallow all customer
accessable phones from dialing anything that will cost, but
unfortuantely for the store owners, they don't read underground
publications.

Most of your average store owners have never heard of an AT&T Alliance
Teleconference. When you get an outside dialtone, just dial
0-700-456-1002, enter in the size of your "conference" and then dial the
first number you'd like to have on your conference. Then hit "#" a
couple times to talk to whoever you just called. You can dial any number
in the world through Alliance. If you want to be really brave, start an
actual teleconference from the store and stay on for a few hours.

You can also sometimes dial long distance by dialing "9" then "0" and
asking the Bell operator to give you AT&T and ask AT&T to call the
Netherlands for you. Also, on some phones, the LD protection is actually
in the phone you're using, meaning you can bypass it just by using a
Radio Shack tone dialer.

Employee Pagers

In some stores, the employees will carry a beeper or a walkie talkie
around with them. I've seen them wearing beepers at both Target and Fred
Meyers and at Target, you can use any of the red store phones to talk to
an employee on one of these beepers. The employee will hear a beeping
noise, then your voice will come out of the beeper very loudly.

At Target, all you had to dial was "4" and then the three digit beeper
number. After that, you'd hear a steady tone, then silence where you'd
leave your 10 second message to them. To find out the employee's beeper
number, you can either ask the employee or ask the operator OR try to
look at the employee's beeper. With a little imagination, you can have
alot of fun sending obscene messages to everyones' beepers to the horror
of nearby customers.

All-Store Paging

In most stores, the "all store page" button is marked clearly on the
phone because store managers know that nobody in their right mind would
pick up a store phone and say anything rude for the whole store to hear.
Or would they? This is actually a useful thing to know because if you're
with a friend and you get separated, you just pick up a store phone, hit
"PAGE" and say, "Attention K-Mart Shoppers, would Chris Tomkinson please
return to infants."

Anyway, here's a few announcements you might wanna make once you've
figured out how to get on the intercom. You shouldn't do more than a few
each day because after awhile, they're going to come looking for you.
Always be as rude and obnoxious as possible when doing this and try to
offend as many people as you can.

"Attention K-Mart shoppers! HA! I always wanted to say that!"

"Customer service to anal lubrications..." (repeat a few times...)

"Pop quiz asshole...A local Wal-Mart with approximately 85 shoppers and
21 employees has armed the building. If the amount of people in the
building drops below 100, the building will go off. What do you do?
What. Do. You. DO?"

"Attention K-Mart shoppers - we have a blue light special in the women's
clothing. Everything in women's clothing is 95% off!"

"(hushed voice) Just listen to me, Joel, when you turn on the store's
music, you turn on this subliminal advertising machine that will trick
all the shoppers into buying into our rip-off sales. Now I'm the manager
and you need to- shit! You left the goddamned intercom on again!
...(click)"

All-Store Paging From Home

Some systems will allow you to phone the store from your home and ask
the operator or an employee to transfer you to the all-store page or
just an extension that is the all-store page and they don't realize what
they've done until it's too late. This used to be most common at Fred
Meyer but for some reason they've began closing that little loophole.
But see if you can figure out a way to be transferred to the all-store
paging from your home. It's been done many times before...

Answering Calls

This is one of the funnest and least-riskiest pranks to pull on a store.
Find a phone and look at the display. If it's a modern store phone,
you'll see a row of about five buttons, each numbered and each having a
light over it. These are the store's separate lines. If the light is on,
that line is in use and if the light is steadily blinking, that line is
on hold. If the light blinks rapidly for 2 seconds at a time, that line
is ringing.

Pick up the phone and press a button of either a call on hold or a line
that's ringing. If you've picked up a ringing line, answer with the
store's greeting such as "Thank you for calling Fred Meyer, how can I
help you? .... You want the hardware department? Well, this is
hardware..." And if you've picked up a line on hold, just say, "Who are
you holding for? Oh toys? This is toys..."

If the phone doesn't have any fancy modern lights & buttons on it,
you'll have to learn how to answer a line. At Target, you'd pick up the
phone and dial either "35" or "36." At other stores, you'd simply dial
"1" or "2" and at other stores, you have to dial a three or four digit
code. If all else fails, call up the store operator and ask how to pick
up a line. You can also listen to the overhead paging. When you hear the
store operator say, "Housewares, you have a call on 173..." run over to
a phone and dial 173. Here are a few examples of some of the fun we've
had answering calls in the past few years:

Me: Who are you holding for?
XX: Electronics.
Me: Oh, that's me. What do you need?
XX: I just need to see if my film is ready. The last name is-
Me: Uh, listen, I'm really swamped back here right now so you're just
    going to have to wait. Can I put you on hold for about 20 minutes?
XX: Welllll, I could just call back I suppose.
Me: (acting pissed) Well, you don't have to be a fucking smartass about
    it. All I said was that I'm in the middle of playing Super Mario
    Kart and I don't have time to walk across the fucking counter and
    check on your film so just deal with it, you stupid bitch. Okay?
    (slam down the phone.)

An interesting phenomenon here is that as soon as you hang up, about two
seconds later another line will light up... Weird. So you pick up the
phone.

Me: (in a different voice) K-Mart, this is Big Bob.
XX: (very irritated) Yes, I just called Electronics at your store there
    and the boy who answered the phone was extrememly rude to me and I'd
    like to talk to the manager there.
Me: Well, I'm Bob the assistant manager. The real manager is asleep
    right now. Would you like me to go to his office and wake him up?
XX: Well, I think somebody needs to talk to the person in electronics. I
    asked if my film was there and he started screaming at me and using
    foul language.
Me: Ma'am, that's just the way our employees are. In order to cut down
    on stress in the workplace, we encourage them to relieve their
    frustrations on the customers. If you don't like it, you can take
    your fucking film somewhere else. (slam)

The trick is never to let them have the last word. You'd probably have a
good laugh now by going to the Service Desk or operator's desk (aka
fitting rooms) and listening to her call back and yell at the operator
for a bit.

Me: Thanks for calling Wal-Mart, how can I help you?
XX: I need the toy department.
Me: Hold on... (different voice) ...Toys.
XX: Do you guys carry the new Christmas Barbie?
Me: Which one? There's two of them. One of them she's got a Christmas
    wreath stuck up her butt and the other one she's holding a penis in
    one hand and a whip in the other hand. Anyway, yeah, we got 'em both
    but they're going quick. They're both $17.99 apiece.
XX: Uhhhh...
Me: Would you like me to hold one for you? I can take your name and hold
    it for 24 hours.
XX: (click)
Me: How rude...

Me: Hardware, how can I help you?
XX: I need the housewares department.
Me: Well, you got hardware. So how can I help you?
XX: Well, I doubt that you can help me because I asked for housewares.
Me: WELL, obviously the lady at the service desk is hard of hearing
    because you've been transferred to the hardware department so how
    can I help you?
XX: ...Okay. I need to know if you have any of those blenders left that
    were advertised in Sunday's paper.
Me: How the hell should I know anything about blenders. You've got hardware here.
XX: Could you please transfer me to housewares?
Me: No, I can't. Maybe instead of a blender you'd like to buy a nice
    circular saw or some acrylic paint.

Me: Garden Center.
XX: Yes, do you have any of tho-
Me: No, we don't.
XX: You didn't let me fini-
Me: (click)

Secret Departments:

If you have the time, you can sit at a store's phone and manually scan
for other "departments" that aren't listed on the phone or even known to
most employees and managers. In the past, I've found the extensions to
different phones in store rooms and offices around the store, I've been
magically transferred to other offices in different states (speed dial?)
and I've gotten lots of weird sounding noises and computer carriers and
fax tones. I've also been thrown out of alot of stores.

Figure out what the extensions are for most of the departments in the
store. Most stores have them written on the phone or next to the phone.
If not, just call the operator and ask for the extensions. Using all the
extensions you've gathered as sort of a template, start making up
similar extensions and see what you can find. Then start dialing totally
random numbers and see what you get. Continue to do this until you see
an angry store manager standing behind you.

In some stores, the operator will notice that the phone you're using
keeps going on and off. This will either make her suspicious or drive
her crazy and in both cases, she'll send someone over to investigate.
Really, though, the worst thing that could happen is that you'll get
kicked out of the store. Oh darn. But even that's pretty unlikely. Just
tell them you were trying to figure out how to get some help in that
department, then ask if they have any Tickle Me Elmo dolls left.

LRT Guns:

Okay, so this is totally unrelated to courtesy phones, but this is still
a cool way to spend an evening in a store after you've been kicked off
all of the phones. Sometimes you'll see employees running around with
little lazer guns with a 5x20 display and a keyboard. Usually they'll
set these down while they go to help a customer which is when you snatch
it up and run off to a different department with it. The employees use
these guns to:

    * Scan UPC bar codes which gives them a product description and price
    * Inventory items on the shelves and maintain a list of items to be
      taken out from the storeroom
    * Print price labels to stick on the shelves
    * Do credit checks on instant credit applications (only the service
      desk usually knows how to do this)

At Target, they have a "gift list" program where you come into the store
and take one of these LRT guns around the store and scan the bar codes
of things you want for your wedding or baby shower. When you're doing
this, the LRT is on a different mode, but it can be reset to normal mode
by resetting the gun. This is usually done by holding down the
"FUNCTION" key while pressing ENTER." When you take one of these guns,
they want you to leave a driver's license as collateral. You could
easily give them someone else's driver's license and walk out of the
store with their LRT. It probably wouldn't work too far from the store,
though, since it's controlled by the store's computer.

If you borrow an LRT from an employee, just get far away from them, then
either take the gun into the bathroom and play with it, or set it on a
shelf by alot of other stuff so you can type on it without looking too
conspicuous. If a little kid stands next to you to see what you're
doing, growl at them.

While in normal operation mode, you can actually get a DOS prompt on
these things by pressing CONTROL-C. I've only been able to play around
on the D: drive, making directories, deleting directories and stashing
dumb text files all over for them to find. Even though it seems to
accept all normal DOS commands, I never could figure out where the ":"
key was. Since the keyboard is compact, each key has several different
characters on it, depending whether you press a "control" or "function"
or "shift" along with it. I tried every possible combination and
couldn't find the : key which is what I needed to get to the C: drive.
You cannot surf the web on these terminals. Oh darn.

If you just want to feel cool and go around scanning bar codes, from the
> prompt type "UPC" and ENTER. While in this mode, if an employee
approaches you and says, "Hey, give me back my thingie." you can point
the lazer at them and blind them for life. (Well, not really but it sure
pisses them off.) The only other command I can think of is "DPCI" which
isn't very interesting. A bit of playing around with their menu should
yeild some interesting results.

K-Mart is the store who used one of these guns to do an instant credit
check on me. She entered in all the information from my application into
the gun which took about 3 hours at her speedy 13 WPM. The result is not
an entire credit report flashing across the screen, but simply a
"approved" or "denied" answer. (In my case, "denied.")

Do You Work Here?

Ever walk into a K-Mart and accidentally wear a pinstripe shirt and a
red vest with ivory pants and light colored shoes only to find every
other customer asking, "Do you work here?" Well, uh, neither have I. I
would never wear my red vest with my ivory pants. That's tackey. But it
can be alot of fun to dress very similar to employees and go around
answering dumb questions for the customers. You can even slap on your
McDonald's name badge and the customer will never notice the difference.

It's best to do this on a really busy day because the understaffed
employees won't even notice an imposter running around, misdirecting
their customers. If you're not afraid of getting punched in the mouth by
some customers, you can be just as rude as you were to them on the
phone. But if you're a wimp like me, just lie to them alot, point them
in the totally wrong direction, make up information about how great a
product is and send all the customers to Lane Seven for whatever they're
looking for. Whoever is working at Lane Seven will get very irritated.


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