Hello? I’d like to order a pizza and some toilet paper February 2, 2021 — by Carolyn Wang Photo by Carolyn Wang How a group of 7th graders caused slight panic among hotel staff on a cultural exchange trip by speaking gibberish in a foreign language. Everyone — or at least every middle schooler I know — loves prank calls. They’re fun, easy to pull off and only a dial away. Sure, prank calling your friends or your local pizza store from an unknown number is one thing, but singing the Duck Song and the Harry Potter Puppet Pals song to people who don’t even understand English? That becomes a whole other level of pranking. Here’s how one memorable prank happened. In the summer of 7th grade, I went on an exchange trip sponsored by the Chinese government with my friends to the Shanxi province in China for two weeks. Having complete freedom from our parents meant that our group couldn’t help but cause a bit of trouble, including having a feud with the German exchange students (sadly, we couldn’t badmouth them because they understood English, Chinese and German), accidentally spilling Coca Cola all over our lunch table and, the best of all of our antics, prank calling our well-intentioned hotel staff. On a sunny day in the Shanxi summer, eight girls in our group were huddled together on a hotel bed playing murder mystery video games and scheming about how to knock on the boys’ room next door without getting caught. After some detailed plans failed during the mission’s execution (we were caught by the boys and told to leave) and our character’s ear was chopped off in the murder mystery game, we thought of a new way to have fun. One of my friends pointed at a dusty, peach phone in the corner. In a split instant, we had overtaken the phone like a swarm of bees, deep in discussion as to what the best way was to prank the hotel staff was. It took an intense debate, but we finally agreed to start off with a classic line. “Hello, ma’am? I’d like to order a large pepperoni pizza please?” Silence. The fact that the staff did not understand English only served to egg us on even more. “Hi there again! Make that two pizzas, a salad, and some toilet paper. Right, and I’d prefer some cheesy goop too, if that’s available?” Pretty soon, we began taking turns, going just a tiny bit overboard. “Chandragupta Maurya. Bob the builder. Chicken dumplings and confuzzled gummy bears. A duck walked up to a lemonade stand and he said to the man, running the stand, hey, bamp bamp bamp, got any grapes? ¿Hablas español? Snape, snape, severus snape, DUMBLEDORE.” Once we all finished our little rants, we listened to the hotel staff’s reaction. Through the phone, we could hear slightly panicked voices in hurried Chinese. “Do you understand what they’re saying? No, I don’t, do you? No, I don’t either! They’re Americans? The students. Oh! Uh oh, what do we do then?” “Bye bye!” we answered in Chinese, and then hung up in a fit of giggles. Thinking that was the end of it, we resumed our murder mystery video game. A few minutes later, we heard knocking on the door. Upon hearing the sound, we thought we were caught and trampled over each other in panic, trying to hide behind the bed. The hotel employee who came up was patient, knocking again a few minutes later. Out of sheer desperation to break the suspense, I stepped out from our hiding place and opened the door. “Hello!” he said nicely in Chinese. “Did you guys need something?” “Ummmm … hi, I mean ni hao! We were just playing? Heh heh…” He looked at the group of us in confusion. “Oops, sorry. What I meant was, we don’t need anything. Thanks very much though,” I said. He nodded, wished us a good day, and left scratching his head. After he closed the door, our room erupted into chaos, my friends yelling “Aaaw, you should’ve told him we need toilet paper or something!” and “Eeek, that was scary!” The thought of having another employee knock on our door stopped us from pursuing any more prank calls to hotel employees. Our next prank call was directed at the boys next door, but it turned out to be fruitless when they stopped picking up after the first time. Without anything else to do for the time being, we ended our day by mimicking the commercials on the hotel television until we were told to go to bed. Of course, we could’ve continued pursuing our prank call journey by phoning the German girls, but by then, we were too tired to ignite World War III. 1 view this weekAbout the contributorsCarolyn WangCarolyn Wang, Class of ‘23, is an Editor-in-Chief of the Saratoga Falcon for the 2022-23 school year. Previously, she was the School Scope Editor between 2021-22 and an Assistant Graphics Editor, Layout Artist and Reporter between 2020-21. Over her three years on staff, she has covered stories ranging from inflation's effects on senior citizens to the current state of the journalism industry, anti-vaccine protests, the history of Saratoga's principals, Cross Country and Track & Field beats, and other local and schoolwide news. She's been recognized for her journalism work by the Journalism Education Association of Northern California and Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Outside of the J-Room, Carolyn enjoys all-things music, running and Disney-related.