Hey, iPhone Scammer, You’re Awful

Let me start by saying that this is a true story: A businessman in California decided it’d be a good idea to corral a bunch of homeless men and promise them some food and money in exchange for their time and patience to claim new golden iPhones with “vouchers” outside the Pasadena Apple store this week. The man failed with this promise. While the men, who were brought in from Los Angeles, waited overnight – and many received the vouchers – they didn’t get anything in return. It turns out that the store expected cash for the phone once they entered the store (which makes perfect sense), and the man – who did manage to purchase a few iPhones for himself – fled, leaving the men angry and stranded in Los Angeles.

So in short, Veruca Salt completely exists. And you should feel a bit angry over all of this.

In case the business man happens to be scanning the internet on his WiFi made of unicorns and rainbows while these men are still out on the street, displaced in a different city, with their dreams of a hot meal dashed – here’s an open letter to him. (This will sadly be a bit more angry than the fantastic open letters of Annie Stamell.)

Dear Rich Business Man,

When people think of iPhones, they think of a few things: Exciting technological advances, crowded Apple stores with employees who always look shockingly happy, the slowdown of work productivity when new products are announced between 9 AM and 5 PM, the vast arrangement of emojis that one can decorate a text message with, and the ability to ask Siri where the best hardshell crabs are in town and have her adorably give you the number to a Domino’s Pizza 15 miles away. (It’s okay, Siri. We all make mistakes sometimes.)

We typically don’t associate iPhones with total monsters, but now we might. You promised over fifty homeless men in California forty dollars, plus pizza, soda and cigarettes, to wait in line for a considerably long time to get vouchers for the new golden iPhone. Obviously this is a jerk maneuver based on your attempt to sabotage the system and gain all of the local iPhones for yourself (probably to sell at a higher value for profit, right?) but you made it even worse. These men faced the disappointment of receiving absolutely nothing in exchange for work – and these are probably the last people in the world who deserve to work for free. They don’t have much to be happy about, but you gave them hope and then threw it away. What did you possibly gain from this?

Now Rich Business Man, i’m guessing you might not know how it feels to be unemployed. It’s a shattering feeling. You honestly feel absolutely worthless, and your creativity gets zapped when all you can think about is whether or not you worded your cover letter correctly for a company who probably won’t even read it. It’s a shame anyone has to go through this, but on top of that anguish, these people don’t even have a shower to cry in at the end of the day. Some probably don’t have a strong family support. For gosh sakes, a slice of pizza was enough to lure them into doing your dirty work for you.

Enclosed, please find a video of one of your victims. He tried to blame miscommunication on the matter, yet admitted that you might be a scam artist. Not only is he extremely well spoken, but it’s obvious that all he’s really looking for is an opportunity. He even tries to give you the benefit of the doubt! I wasn’t even there, but my words would be quite less eloquent if a camera was shoved in my face after a night of disappointment.


Homeless people aren’t around for you to manipulate. Nobody knows how they ended up on the streets. It could have been a few bad mistakes in life, or they could have been laid off without a plan to survive. I don’t think any of them are happy with their current situation, but even by taking on this opportunity, they were merely trying to make their day a little brighter. Taking advantage of their willingness to help you was, by far, one of the cruelest things you could have done.

You’re going to need a lot of karma points to make up for this one, buddy. Maybe if you actually tried to volunteer, or thought of ways to make a difference in the world before making a profit, your heart would grow three sizes. Hopefully you still have a heart.


Karen Belz

Image Credit: Anton Oparin/Shutterstock (featured)