Monsey supermarket prank and false rumor gets some Haredi media riled up

Prankster Mo Gelber entered an obscenity at a self-checkout kiosk at Monsey’s Evergreen supermarket. Not everyone found it funny

Monsey’s Evergreen supermarket. Credit: Shtetl

Mar 10, 2024 1:00 PM


Let’s just say some pranks are evergreen.

Haredi media went into something of a tizzy last week after a man using a self-checkout kiosk at the popular Evergreen supermarket in Monsey pulled a prank that not everyone found amusing.

The Monsey Scoop called it “shocking” and said the shopper, whom it called “a man up to no good,” caused the Haredi supermarket management “unnecessary pain and heartache.” 

VIN News called the shopper “deranged,” and claimed the shopper “spread lies” to defame the supermarket.

The reality is a little less dramatic.

Shtetl has identified the shopper as Mo Gelber, who, after a routine shopping visit on Wednesday, entered an obscenity when the self-checkout kiosk asked for his name. The kiosk dutifully used his entry after the purchase: “Thank You Moth******er.” 

Gelber took a photo of the screen and uploaded it to a Facebook group he is part of for giggles. The image was quickly shared from there, and circulated widely via WhatsApp groups and other social media, along with a false claim that the shopper had malicious intentions.

The offending image of the Evergreen self-checkout prank. Courtesy of Mo Gelber

“Everyone knows me as a clown and a harmless prankster who just wants to cheer people up and make them laugh,” Gelber told Shtetl. “It’s never my intention to cause anyone harm on purpose or even by accident.” While he was taken aback by the rumors that he tried to defame the store, he said, “I find the overreaction to someone using a dirty word very funny.”

But Gelber said he meant no harm to Evergreen. “I shop there often and they have always been nice to me.” 

True to form, Gelber added, “Whoever spread the false details of the story is guilty of loshon harah in the 3rd degree and guilty of 2nd degree rechila which is a felony according to the mishnah berurah 😄” (emoji his).

Some Haredi media outlets have reported that Evergreen has since installed a filtering system to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.

On a more serious note, Gelber said, “Anyone with a brain understands that a store would never purposely write dirty words to their customers.” He added, “It should have been obvious that I did it because I’m a prankster with a weird sense of humor and that Evergreen did nothing wrong.”

Still, he said, “I do understand that the false rumors that someone spread caused them distress,” and for that, he said, he was sorry. “I hope the next time I’m in Monsey, I’ll get a chance to go back into Evergreen and personally apologize.”

The prankster apparently couldn’t help one last wry remark, saying his prank may indeed have a lasting negative effect: “Now that they installed a profanity filter in their system, anyone with the last name Lipshits won’t be able to use the computer.”