DUNGANNON, VA. -- An audit investigator in southwest Virginia who knows more about banking than basting is receiving phone calls from people who have mistaken his phone number for a turkey cooking hot line.
Patrick W. Moore, 24, said he has decided to offer turkey advice anyway.
At first, Moore thought someone in his office at Investors Savings Bank was playing a practical joke. But he soon realized the people calling with turkey problems were trying to reach an advice hot line set up by Butterball of Swift Eckrich Inc.
The Butterball line is a 1-800 number for those with questions on how to cook a holiday bird. Without the 1-800, the number matched Moore's phone number at Investors.
Moore, who graduated from Virginia Tech a year and a half ago with a degree in architecture, plans to go to law school and practice architectural law. In the meantime, he is moonlighting as a turkey consultant.
He even called the hot line and asked for the cookbook so he can offer better tips. Until then, he said he is suggesting a stuffing made of onion, celery, cornbread and uncooked popcorn.
"You'll know when it's done," he said.
One call, Moore said, "was from an older woman who said, 'Are you the person who claims you can tell me how to cook a turkey?' It was like she was challenging me. She said she'd had the turkey in her freezer for four years and wondered if it would still be good."
Moore said that although he often is traveling as an audit investigator, he is scheduled to be in his office through Thanksgiving.
"Normally, all my calls are from branches concerning home mortgage regulations and real estate laws. This adds a little spice to an auditing job," he said.
At the actual Butterball Turkey Talk-Line headquarters in Oakbrook, Ill., supervisor Jean Schnelle said this is not the first time a local number has been mistaken for the talk line.
"One year we had an older couple getting calls," Schnelle said. "At first they enjoyed talking to the callers, but finally the daughter called to say they were getting too tired to keep coming to the phone. Fortunately, the holidays were almost over by then."
The Talk-Line will have taken about 120,000 calls between Nov. 1 and Christmas, according to Schnelle. During the day, 45 home economists are on duty answering calls.
Moore said he is not quite sure of his own Thanksgiving plans. He said his girlfriend may be visiting her parents, which might leave him cooking his own Thanksgiving bird.