Too late to change | Teen Ink

Too late to change

October 29, 2021
By Mlisiecki06, Theresa, Wisconsin
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Mlisiecki06, Theresa, Wisconsin
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The Big Apple, a place where dreams come true and dreams are crushed. A place where wealthy people flock to get rich, or shrivel up and lay on the stone-cold sidewalks where they call their home. The paychecks that flooded the hands of businessmen made Evan jealous. For 3 years he had been living in the city of New York, and is still only watching as the suited men came in the building with nothing and left with a full years salary in only a matter of weeks. 

As he sat on his scruffed up couch, Evan flipped through the crinkling pages of the New York Times once again skimming through and looking for anything that said Help Wanted Will Pay Well, or other text such the same. In these frigid winter months, most of the job applications had been closed. But as always, Evan picked up the phone and dialed a series of numbers from the newspaper. He knew this wouldn't last long, and this was one of his last attempts to strike it big.

“Hello this is Jason from the Marketplace, how may I help you today?”

“Hi Jason, this is Evan Higgins residing in New York, I saw you're accepting applications for a telemarketing job. Is that correct?” Evan started.

“Yes, I can send you the details over text, I will just need your number and you can fill it out whenever you want,” phrased Jason.

Evan provided his phone number and finished the call where he opened the application. As Evan read it, he saw the average amount of pay for starters was only around $9 per hour, which is barely enough to pay rent alone. But he knew he needed anything he could to get by. After filling out all the information he realized he needed schooling in the marketing field, as well as to have experience with telemarketing previously. 

“Oh crap,” whispered Evan as he thought of ideas on how to overcome this. Evan had barely even had a high school education let alone a college education in business and marketing. At the moment, Evan was living off of the money his father left for him when he passed. 

But one thing Evan knew really well was getting past the system. Evan grabbed for his silver laptop, as he brainstormed ways to cheat the system. After a while of looking he figured it out.

First, Evan would say that he attended the University of Southern California because it was a great option for ambitious students wishing for a business degree. He then would edit a fake diploma and send it to the telemarketing company. 

That was the first of many hurdles for Evan. There was still the possibility of finding out and reporting him to the police if it was to ever be discovered. Although all of that was scary, Evan still wondered how he would get past $9 an hour.

He tapped his fingers in rhythm as he sat down in his sleek wooden chair. He then looked around at his current residence. The musty residue of the mold growing on the ceiling. The half ripped wallpaper strung from ceiling to floor, the cracked window in the fourier refracted the sunlight into thousands of tiny pieces across the apartment, while the door leading in was chipped and frail like someone took the steel end of a hatchet right to it. The air conditioning was inconsistent as well, turning off and on randomly frosting the whole floor.

Evan realized that this job couldn't 100 percent get him into a real house all alone. He knew what he had to do in order to live up to the expectations that his father had set for him.

When Evan’s father eventually passed away only a handful of years before, Evan was devastated. His father only wanted the best for him, and Evan has never been able to put himself up to the bar his father set.

So as Evan thought of his dad he came up with a marvelous plan. This plan could get him out of the rugged apartment or even get him a real house like he had always dreamed of having. But there was one problem with Evan’s plan. All the telemarketing calls were always recorded as company policy.

But if Evan knew one thing, it was how to get past obstacles with flying colors. So despite these setbacks, Evan had a plan that would suffice for the job ahead.

By the next week, Evan heard back from the telemarketing company regarding his application. He was accepted despite leading evidence he did not go to the colleges and experiences he had. The first part of his plan had worked flawlessly, but now was the difficult part; the execution.

In order to do this, he had to make the call from his own wifi, where he would record the conversation onto his phone whilst editing the bits out he didn't want in the final product, then hacking into the files of the company and replacing the real call with the fake one.

The time was here at last, Evan’s palms were sweaty and his mouth was dry when he picked up the phone.

“Hello is this the right phone number for Frank’s Fabulous Fishing Founders?” Said the woman on the other end of the telephone.

“Yes ma’am you've reached the right phone number! How may I help you?” asked Evan happily.

“I was wondering if I could purchase some fishing gear today, but I don't know what to get,” explained the woman.

“Well, it says here that the best selling fishing rod is only two hundred dollars, but if you want it with a protection plan that will make it 300 dollars,” noted Evan.

This is where Evan’s plan had come into place. Evan would sell real products that he was trying to sell, but the catch was that he would add on fake fees for extra money, where he would get hundreds or thousands of dollars in kickback from it. It was a sly way of cheating customers out of their money.

“That's a lot of money for me to look to be spending, but I guess if it has a protection plan I might be sold on that offer. I just need a minute to think about it.”

“Take all the time you need,” cited Evan nervously shivering as if he had to get the money right then and there.

After a while, the woman came to the conclusion that she was willing to purchase the item with the protection plan for 2 years.

“Thank you so much for shopping with Frank’s Fabolous Fishing Founders, where fishing every day can ‘hook’ you in!” scripted Evan as the money rolled in.

When the call ended Evan scrambled to the phone where he recorded the entire conversation. He uploaded it to his laptop and removed the parts where he cheated for the customers' money.

When he finished he thought to himself “Wow, I can't believe it worked on the first try!” as he replaced the file of the recording with the original in the company files.

Once Evan got the money he sent the 200 original dollars to the fishing company as he geared up for the next caller. Even though the taste in Evan’s mouth was sour after scamming the customer, he was so caught up in the money that he couldn't stop.

Eventually over the weeks he worked at the company he had sold tens of thousands of dollars to wanting customers as well as made thousands of dollars based on his scam scheme. He knew on the inside that he was acting as if he were a snake slithering through the grass catching his prey off guard and reaping rewards.

He had marketed for many different companies as well, some of which sold products for smaller amounts, but it was the big bucks where Evan struck it huge, gaining over three thousand dollars in just a small amount of time.

“Holy crap I can buy a house with this amount of pay!” Evan glammered over as he practically pulled his hair from his head comprehending his earnings. 

Evan’s regular paycheck is around $360 a week if he works for 9 hours a day, but with this it comes up to almost 5 times that amount while sitting at home doing close to nothing.

Just as Evan was celebrating he got a call from his boss at the marketing department. Without thinking Evan grabbed the phone and put the upper end to his ear.

He thought out of the other line he would hear his boss congratulating him on his first week on the phone marketing, or maybe on how he did a fascinating job selling products.

Instead what he heard made his heart drop through the floor like a 2 ton weight being dropped off the tallest mountain in the world. The one kryptonite of his plan was how he would handle it if he ever got caught. As he listened to the final words of the message to him he sprinted out of his chair and threw the phone out of his hands.

“How could he have found out?” Evan wondered out loud as he scrambled through his apartment.

“Sending the police to arrest you for scamming customers out of their money?” All of the words his boss said almost didn't make sense as Evan grabbed what was left of his stash of money from beneath the couch and he set out the door.

But just as he was reaching for the door, he heard tires screeching out on the pavement as the blue and red lights blinded him.

It was at that point that Evan knew he messed up big time. Even though he regretted it as everyone does when they have bad experiences, he still deep down knew that all of this was preventable. He should have listened to his fathers advice and worked hard instead of cheating.

But as the officer in the blue uniform stepped out of his car and stopped Evan, he knew it was too late to change.

The officer ran up to Evan and promptly arrested him before escorting him to his car. As the sirens blared away, Evan’s mind started to race. 

How am I going to recover from this? 

How is this going to affect any other job that I get in the future?

But instead of pulling up to the police station, they continued down the road until they got to the very building where his employer worked. Evan was very confused getting out of the car, even asking the officer, “Why are we here?” before being brought inside.

There for the first time, Evan got to see his boss for real. He was no special man, and even looked raggedy as Evan did a couple of weeks prior.

“Evan, right?” asked the man.

“Um, yes my name is Evan. You must be Jason, correct?” replied an unsure Evan.

“I know what you did to those poor customers over the phone, and you're not the first person to try and do so, but I also know your financial state,” Jason said as he pulled out documents of Evans current residence and income.

“You need money badly and I realize that is why you picked this job, so I am willing to still give you a spot at our company as long as you do not scam any more customers. Do we have a deal?” Jason asked.

“Uh, yes of course. I would be delighted to,” replied Evan excitedly. 

As Evan stood there in shock he realized that those people carrying briefcases full of money weren't there to hurt him, but they too came from struggle and understood what it is like to be in his shoes. The only thing left for Evan to do was to show his father what he really was capable of doing.

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