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Swarm 5: Arizona State University Surplus Property, Tempe, Arizona.

Sunday October 30th through Saturday November 5th.

Picture of payphone

Monday, October 31st, 2005.

Called at 10:05pm PST. No answer. Rat bastards.


Called at 10:40 am on Monday, Oct. 31st. No answer for 9 rings. I plan to begin gathering as much information as possible as soon as someone answers the phone. For example, what is that white supercurb thing on the right?


I believe that is a strangely-shaped bench. I would like to know what is available in the nearby store. Rusty answers:

Surplus property, duh. They have old desks, tons of computers, monitors, abandoned ASU bicycles, vehicles and what else? Old dishes, refrigerators, and other random items. It's got pretty cool stuff. There are pigs within viewing distance of the phone. That strange supercurb is a bench, a very uncomfortable bench.

Thank you, Rusty.

dialed the asu surplus communications grotto at 14:53 EST -- and got an answer! i said "hello?" twice and heard my own echo, some outdoor ambience, and then was hung-up upon. phoneswarm's toughest audience yet.


Called @ 12:14 Pacific time, and in honor of the holiday let it ring thirteen times with no answer.

Will call again later.

My sister goes to ASU and I might tell her about it, but is that cheating?


No, I encourage that. Actually Rusty is at the phone right now (1:12pm Pacific). Everyone set their clocks back?

I called about 12:30 PST, after a few rings I got a questioning "Hello?" from a man, I asked how the weather was, "It's pretty nice, about 80 degrees or so!" "Ok" I said, "have a nice day!", and we hung up.

This is good. The earlier report about the hang-up worried me -- I called one payphone in New Mexico and if someone answered, they'd hang up almost immediately ... I figured it was some sort of defective phone, because the hang-up would occur in the middle of the other person answering and there were strange tones coming over the phone. So I was thinking that maybe this phone was also defective. It's Qwest, right? Who could blame me?

Here is the website to view the surplus property/merchandise.


Corey from Massachusetts

Just called and got an answer from a very polite woman and her baby. Apparently there are pigs outside the site. Perhaps this is some sort of pig storage facility?

I think there is just a farm of some sort across the street. Or perhaps it's ASU's livestock area.

i called + asked him if "tempe" is pronounced "tem-pee" or "temp"

lame, i know.
it is all that i could think of.

I checked. It's an Animal Care Facility. Folks wear blue scrubs and have keys and a badge around their neck. The Man's way of keeping them down.

- Rusty

Here is my update.
2 pm: A West Virginian named Megan (Meaghan? Mehgahn?) phoned. We chatted for about 10 minutes. She was on her way to a Halloween Haunted House costumed as a Zombie.
2:30 pm: No calls.
2:40 pm: A balding man in his forties leaves the building carrying a big plastic Rolodex. He is seen reading cards in the Rolodex. He drives away in his Illinois plated Civic.
2:44 pm: The pig at the Animal Care Facility is pissed off. He is pushing around an empty food bucket with its snout. Around in circles it goes.
2:45 pm: A pickup truck marked "ASU Theatre Department" pulls up and loads some crappy office chairs.
2:55 pm: Bored, I call my Mom to 'firm up' trick or treating plans.
2:58 pm: Reading. Need butt pad for cement bench.
3:11 pm: Run out of Halloween candy.
3:12 pm: A black Expedition pulls up and a man with a prosthetic leg gets out.
3:13 pm: An elderly man comments on the loud birds in the tree above my head. He is the only to speak to me the entire time I am there. There is a lot of foot traffic near the phone, but the phone does not ring.
3:19 pm: Baby wakes from her nap. I leave the phone.

Weird. I called at 3:22PM and got a rap song.

Billy from San Jose

Better that than Elton John, I suppose.

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005.

Called at 11:56 AM CST. No answer. I think the tree wanted to reach over and answer, but the wind was blowing in the wrong direction, and the leaves didn't have enough muscle to fight off the breeze.

spoke with my seester this morning and she said she would drop by the phone and hang out a little today at around 6:20 local time (after classes). She reminded me that her old apartment was right around the corner from this phone. Pointed her to the website to check it out. I would be calling now, except I'm stuck on a conference call @ work so...

I called at 12:40pm pacific time today, unfortunately, no answer.

I know this building. I drive past it everyday to work. The surplus building is almost under the AZ 101 North bound lane. Called at 2:58 pm today. No answer.

no answer at 6:05. thats okay, It's dinner time. only telemarketers are calling the phone at this time I'm sure.

As it turns out, those hours listed on the sign also apply to the phone, since the entire area is gated and locked after-hours. Every week, a new twist! It's like a soap opera ... but with payphones.

8:32 Iowa time ... ring ring ring ... no answer ... damn

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005.

called at 4:30pm Eastern time...rang about 8 times...no answer

i tried calling this phone about 6 times throughout the day, no answer every time... seems like a dud!

Oh, but it has already given. Do you remember Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Payphone"?

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005.

5:30pm CST. I let it ring until it disconnected me. No answer, obviously.

Manda from Texas

Called at 3:35pm Pacific time...no answer. Tried 3 times...maybe later tonight.

Called the number at 6:35 PM Pacific Daylight Time, it rang a dozen times and a Qwest recording told me the party that I was calling was not answering then promptly disconnected me. I was going to ask someone to feed the pig, maybe if they had an Altoid or something, but no go.

Gary- Seattle

I called about 8:20 PM PST. Rang 10 times and the call was cut off.

Vincent - Reno

Friday, November 4th, 2005.

12:10 PM Tempe time. I called and Steve answered! He didn't say hello when he answered, he said, "Pay phone." He was there with his two kids "looking for something to buy." He said that the weather was gravy. (Love that expression, by the way. Totally going to steal it.) I told him about this website and told him to come take a look.

Manda From Houston, Texas