April Fools’ Day is usually a pretty interesting day around Mercantile Headquarters. Robin is our chief prankster, and she’s gotten some of us pretty good over the years. There was the time she told me Jorge Bouche called from 202-456-1111 and asked that I call him back. Turns out that’s the White House phone number, and you can guess what they said when I asked for “Jorge Bouche.” She also got Ken, our receptionist, when she had him call “Harry Lyons” at 407-323-4450 (the Central Florida Zoo).
She’s also been known to rearrange offices, tamper with phones and keyboards, and even turn pictures upside down in frames. But the most memorable one was when she made Dirt Cake — cream cheese, cool whip, crushed Oreos, etc. — for the whole office. Instead of the cream cheese and whipped topping, she used mayonnaise and vinegar. More than a few of us had a mouthful of the junk before we realized what she’d done. Funny in retrospect…I guess.
Luckily, Robin now works from home. In Ohio. Hopefully April Fools’ Day will be a nice quiet day around our offices (in Orlando). In truth, we all like a good prank, and we’ve pulled a few corporate ones, too. Here are the last three major April Fools’ Day announcements we’ve done:
2011: Elephant Soccer
Two years ago, we issued a press release announcing our involvement in bringing elephant soccer to the United States in the form of the Elephant Football League (the EFL). Believe it or not, elephant soccer really happens…just not in Central Florida. Yet.
In 2010, we announced that we found a loophole in the SBA lending manual allowing us to fund eligible international projects with SBA 504 loans. The first commercial loan issued under this international provision helped renovate and modernize the Reykjavik National Fish Cannery and Holistic Health Spa, according to our press release. You have to see it to believe it.
2009: A New Name
We changed our company name at the end of March in 2009 from Mercantile Commercial Capital to Mercantile Capital Corporation (all those t-shirts, hats, and umbrellas with our old branding became instant collectors’ items). When we wrote the press release about our name-change, we also mentioned that we had negotiated a major deal with government officials (behind closed doors, of course) that granted us naming rights for the SBA 504 loan program among other things. We even included a quote from Treasury spokesman, Dr. Lopo Flairs (an anagram for April Fools) — something I was particularly proud of.
So, will we do something this year? Probably not. I’ve been out of the office most of the week, and we’re closed on Friday for a three-day weekend. I just don’t think we’ll have time to put something together. Besides, these things usually rub somebody the wrong way and we end up having to issue a follow-up announcement/apology.
Are you a prankster, or have you been the victim of April Fools’ Day shenanigans? Share your best April Fools’ story with me by leaving a comment below or emailing me at ChrisHurn@MercantileCC.com. The best story gets a prize. Seriously.
Happy Early April Fools’ Day…and Happy Easter and Passover (chag sameach), too!
P.S. We didn’t get a 2012 April Fools’ prank done in time because I was busy testifying before Congress in Washington, D.C. Leave it to the government to put a damper on all the fun, right?
P.P.S. One thing we never joke about: providing smarter financing for small business commercial real estate projects better than anyone else. If you or someone you know is looking to purchase, construct, or renovate commercial property, call me at 1-866-622-4504 or email me at ChrisHurn@MercantileCC.com.
P.P.P.S. Go here to read about the April Fools’ Day history mystery.
Tags: April Fool's Day, Central Florida, commercial real estate, Elephant Football League, Lopo Flairs, Mercantile Capital Corporation, Mercantile Commercial Capital, Practical jokes, Reykjavik National Fish Cannery, SBA 504, SBA Loan, Small business