Jersey Jack – July 2024


Emails, Calls & Texts…Oh My!

by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball &

How many emails do you delete each day without opening them? How many social media friend requests do you ignore? How many phone calls do you reject or let go to voicemail?

When it comes to email, I delete about 50 unopened messages a day. One might be letting me know I supposedly missed the delivery of a package…or that I have four deferred incoming messages requiring I take action to get them…or that there’s some invoice that needs to be paid for something I never ordered or received. All want me to click on a link to resolve the issue and are phishing or ploys to gain my data through a virus.

They’re pretty convincing, too, copying the branding of legitimate and well-known businesses. Usually, they’re easy for me to ignore since they’re from banks or credit card companies I don’t have a relationship with. Another clue that it’s phishing is found by clicking on the sender’s email which is usually gobbledygook. Sadly, I’m sure plenty of people have been duped into clicking through.

I especially love emails telling me that my password has been compromised and I must click their link to reset it. (By the way, Apple is launching a new password app to make logging into software and websites easier.)

Thankfully, my iPhone email setting lets me preview the first five lines so I can see what it’s about without opening it. For example, I got an email with the subject line “Green Tea,” but the visible body of the email offered me arcade games from China.

It may seem that I delete almost everything, but some emails (like the almost-daily jokes I used to get from the late Al Kress) are welcome, like special offers from Amazon and Montblanc and, of course, RePlay’s Instant RePlay newsletter.

When it comes to phone calls, I’ve had the same cell number since 1997 and receive many calls daily. Because of worldwide customers and friends, these come in at all hours – early morning, very late evening, you name it. If you’ve called me, you know I answer 99% of the time and sometimes while in the strangest places.

A new iPhone feature lets you direct incoming calls to voicemail where you can see a text version of the message the caller is leaving. It also gives you the option of picking up the call just like old-school answering machines. I also assign specific ringtones to key contacts so I can know who’s calling without even needing to look at the phone.

I often answer unfamiliar numbers since it might be a new customer who wants to say hello or ask questions. I even take “No Caller ID” calls because in the past, those turned out to be from a celebrity or sports star who wanted to talk about my pinball games. When it comes to calls labeled “Spam Risk,” who would answer those?! Interestingly, foreign numbers with a +44 U.K. prefix end up being spam. (Just a short time after emailing this column to RePlay, I got one of those spam U.K. calls.) But sometimes, my call-screening vigilance keeps me from communicating with people I need to connect with. A known contact called me once to tell me I was rejecting an associate they recommended.

LinkedIn is another source of spam with connection requests I must reject almost daily. Most are people outside the U.S. that I don’t know. To be honest, I’ve even rejected some industry people. Look, if we haven’t spoken in the last 10 years, and you see me at a show and you don’t give me a nod when we make eye contact, why should we be friends on social media? Just asking for a friend.

WhatsApp seems to be trying. Recently, I received a text from them (I think it was them, at least) that said, “New: More ways to identify unknown numbers. WhatsApp is committed to helping you stay protected from unwanted contacts. Now, when an unfamiliar number messages you, you’ll see their full phone number, that they’re not a contact, and any shared groups. If you choose to block them, you can do it with just a tap.” They recognize that there’s a big problem and I’m glad someone is trying to do something. We’re more connected than ever today, but the spammers get in the way of the real connections we want and need to make.

Anyway, if I try to call, email or friend you on social media and I’m rejected, at least now I’ll know why.


Jack Guarnieri started servicing electromechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999,, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011, he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at [email protected].


Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.