The epic fake Hooters gig

I am a voiceover actor, and have a profile on the site Voice123.com.

On 11/29/09 10:26 AM, I received this e-mail from “Bailey Aims” through the Voice123 contact form:

Dear Alwin,
My name is Bailey Aims. I am a franchisee for Hooters and am opening a new store in the coming months in San Diego. There may also be some on-site promotion involved on opening day with a couple of radio guys. I want to have a major marketing campaign via radio (AM and FM); essentially, I will be saturating the radio market with ads for the new store. I need someone to read scripts I have come up with for three different ads. Will you be willing to do this? I want to pay you a flat $250 for each 30-second ad, but this is negotiable.
Thanks,
Bailey

So, innocent enough, radio ads, maybe on-site promotion… the latter not my bailiwick, but hey, it’s only a maybe, right?

I reply:

Hello,
You’re in luck, $250/ad is my local radio rate. I take $50/ad of that up front.

Mind sending me the scripts so I can check them out before we commit? [my email]

On-site promotion would be new for me. Maybe the radio station would have someone experienced?

Sincerely,
Alwin Roe

From Bailey Aims, 11/29/09 12:46 PM:

A firm commitment to M.C.’ing the grand opening on a (as yet undetermined) local station is really a must (travel stipend and food would be included). Basically, you would be interviewing the new girls, the regional manager, and giving away prizes on air. I could even throw some extra cash to you for this — maybe in the way of $300-350 for four or five hours of promotion. This really goes with the ads — less of a headache hiring just one person — so let me know if you are up to it.

Cheers,
Bailey

Alright, now they need a firm commitment to emceeing, but with an indeterminate radio station. Funny how things develop in a couple hours!

I reply:

Sorry, that’s far beyond my ability. I wish you the best of luck.

Alwin

From Bailey Aims, 11/29/09 1:36 PM:

Terrible news. We really need a San Diego local. Let me know if you change your mind, Mr. Roe. After speaking with upper management this afternoon about your unwillingness, we may be able to up your pay to $350 per ad, with only 4 hours of service at the Hooters.

Best,
Bailey

It is at this point that I started asking friends in the entertainment industry if they wanted the gig. None did, so I didn’t reply any further, considering the negotiation closed.

How mistaken I was, for the long con was on, like Donkey Kong.

From Bailey Aims, 12/27/09 11:37 AM:

Dear Mr. Roe:

The grand opening for our Hooters San Diego location is now imminent, and we are still without an M.C./ad guy. Our situation is dire, hence my contacting you once again. We are prepared to cut you $500 for each of two 30-second radio ads we want to do.

Furthermore, for your services on our grand opening day, we have a princely offer to make. Your obligations would be: a.) Draw names out of a hat on air for gift certificates and other prizes; b.) interview the GM, the district manager, the manager, and a minimum of 8 “Hooter girls”; c.) tell some jokes/engage in light on-air banter. Maybe take some photos with people that show up. In return, we can cut you $1500 for five hours of work (some of which will be taken up by music, commercials, etc., etc.), plus an additional $200 gift certificate to the restaurant or store of your choice.

Let me know if this offer works for you. On a side note, I have many contacts in the industry, and I think this would be a great entry point for you to do more (equally rewarding) work.

All the best.
BA

So, in about a month, they couldn’t find someone (when a search for voice talent in San Diego brings up plenty of people with both live event and radio experience), and the offer skyrockets. At this dollar figure, it’s time to call in the big guns.

My reply:

Hi, I’ve been asking my local friends if they would be interested, to no avail. Though, after I got your email this morning, I forwarded it to David H. Lawrence and asked if he was interested. He has many years of VO and radio experience (how I discovered him), and was a recurring guest star on Heroes – The Puppetmaster, Eric Doyle. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0492712/
I’ve omitted David’s reply (which I forwarded) from this blog for privacy, but he was in for the live event, while union rules would have made doing the radio ads difficult. Nevertheless, I passed along his numbers, and his suggestion that I take the radio ads.

Now, I don’t think I am brown-nosing here, but you’d have to be a colossal frakking idiot to not hire David as your emcee. Even if he doesn’t do the radio spots, the radio spots can advertise his being at the opening, and you’d draw a bigger crowd than if you had a practically unknown and inexperienced townie do both.

From Bailey Aims, 12/27/09 10:23 PM:

Thank you for going out of your way to find someone else, Alwin, but as previously mentioned, we need one person to do both sets of tasks. In this case, we would have to contract someone else to do the radio ads.

Therefore, we return again to the proposition this morning.

When I reported to my boss over dinner that you were still ambivalent about doing the ads/promotion, he angrily slammed his hand on his table and threw a ceramic coffee mug across the restaurant — we were physically escorted out before food arrived. He asked for me to ask you to name your (ballpark) price during this critical endgame. The idea is to get an informal agreement with someone by the end of this week.

Again, thanks for your efforts, Alwin, and do consider anew this stint.

Man the lifeboats, the bullshit meter is going critical! I’m supposed to believe there was a public violent outburst over this? Gimme a break. If you want to hire someone, don’t make them fear for their life.

So, I searched Google, Alcoholic Beverage Control, San Diego City Treasurer, and the Hooters websites, and there seem to be no new franchises opening in San Diego County. I emailed Hooters Corporate to be sure (pending reply); and have e-mailed the Voice123 support team a link to this blog. Update 12/29/09 9:15 AM: They concurred, and banned “Bailey Aims”.

At this point, I let David know that it looks like it was a scam all along, with the evidence I gathered.

No more replies from me to “Bailey Aims”, but he/she/it persisted, 12/27/09 11:28 PM:

Alwin,

After some hard-fought, 11th hour negotiations tonight, we have agreed to terms with someone else. Thank you for your assistance and patience. Do come out to our grand opening January 10th — when we had you (tentatively) sketched in as the M.C., your photo attracted the notice of some of the trainee waitresses!

Best of luck,
Bailey Aims

1) Where? Do I need to get my crystal ball out? 2) And a little late for feigned flattery, isn’t it? I’m not horrific to look at, but certainly no Patrick Dempsey, and my headshot was a self-portrait.

And finally (for now, at least) “Bailey Aims” at 12:33 PM, 12/28/09:

Alwin,
I apologize for contacting you yet again, but I feel I owe you an explanation of the events that have occurred over the morning.

I met with my boss and the franchisee of the restaurant at 8:30. The franchisee was fine with the new guy we hired. My boss, however, exploded. What transpired was unprofessional, to say the least. He demanded to know why your demands were not met, in a curious, screeching voice. This, coupled with the stress of the impending deadline, resulted in an ugly, unhinged scene. He picked up one of the many swivel chairs in our conference room, raised it over his head, turned to throw it at me, then wheeled and threw it through our fourth story office window, shattering the glass entirely.

As I and the franchisee stood in shock, he began yelling to the effect: “We needed Alwin! Your only job was to nail him down! You didn’t close the deal! You’re fired!”

At this point, the rest of the office had gathered outside the door, understandably worried. My boss ripped off his jacket and necktie and threw it down, then proceeded to make a series of husky noises with a wild look in his eye. As might be expected, I was fearing for my safety by this point.

He then proceeded to tear out of the room in a hunched, ape-like gait. On the way out, he yanked one of the land phones out of its socket, brandished the receiver threateningly toward his co-workers, and bolted out of the office with it in hand. After a brief, 2 hour tear around the city, he has been dispatched to a local hospital.

The opening of Hooters is now postponed indefinitely. Alwin, I tell you this not to make you feel bad, i.e., that you could have somehow spared this man from the loss of his job and “temper”. I tell you this because he has needed help for a long time and you, in a indirect fashion, have helped him on this day. For that, you have lent a greater service than your voice ever could have.

Again, thanks for your patient handling of these negotiations. All the best.

Bailey Aims

I’m a hero and a sex magnet, baby.

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