We have been having an exceedingly odd Winter here in Alabama. In a state where we’re lucky if we get snow once a decade, we have had half a dozen snow predictions in the past three months.

And it was because of these unheard of winter conditions that Uncle Joe’s Tot Locker found it’s way into my obsessive-need-to-know mind.UncleJoesTotLocker

Photo courtesy of Michael Nix.

When it snowed last month, I blogged about the odd fact that Uncle Joe’s Tot Locker was being scrolled across our local news in the closings. I pondered as to whether it was a prank or if someone had actually named a day care something that invoked visions of a dirty high school football locker room with little kids peering out the slats of each locker.

The night I wrote about it, there was another threat of snow, and so Uncle Joe’s was closed again (apparently lockers become very hazardous at the threat of any bad weather), which led to literally hundreds of hits on my blog from people googling Uncle Joe’s Tot Locker with the same burning questions that I had.

Was it real?

Was it not?

Who would send their kids there?

Chris, Lianne, Marie and I had fun making up potential business Spin-Offs for Uncle Joe, including:

  • Aunt Jolene’s Preschooler Prison
  • Germy Jeremy’s House O’Slobber
  • Sister Sara’s Senior Storage
  • Farmer Phil’s Baby Barnyard

After still no luck in discovering the answer to this mystery, I decided that it must have been a prank and moved on.

Until Monday night, when we had yet another snow threat – one that hardly anyone was taking seriously.

Except for Uncle Joe, of course.

As Uncle Joe’s Tot Locker scrolled endlessly at the bottom of the screen for the THIRD time, my assuredness that it was a prank started to wane (“SURELY someone couldn’t get away with it THAT many times if it weren’t real”), and the onslaught of google hits on my blog started again.

At that moment, I decided that I would serve the obvious needs in my state and I would not rest until I got to the bottom of the Uncle Joe Mystery.

First step: I found the Alabama DHR Day Care Directory System. Searches could only be done one county at a time, so I laboriously searched in all 67 counties for a day care with the word “Uncle” in the title.

No Luck. Which meant that if Uncle Joe WAS real, he wasn’t licensed. Somehow, that didn’t really surprise me.

Of course, I’d already searched online and paper White and Yellow Pages with no success, and search engines only led me back to my blog.

Next, I searched Alabama Incorporation Records. Nothing. So Uncle Joe is a tax evader too. Again, not a shocker.

I decided the only option I had left was to contact the television stations and see if they’d give me any information. They answered, but had no information as to how to contact the now-famous Day Care.

And then, I got an email.

From someone named Joseph.

A very short email. It read:

“Maybe you should try a facebook search under kids and families.

Could it be?? Was this Uncle Joe himself?

I was always afraid he’d find me. Because frankly, I pictured a huge beast of a man – a bouncer with an evil glare, a pointy gotee, and crossed, hugely muscular arms – just WAITING for someone to diss his child care abilities.

barely able to contain my excitement (and a bit of fear) in this lead, I went to Facebook and typed in “Uncle Joe’s Tot Locker” in the search bar.

One Facebook group – Uncle Joe’s Tot Locker – came up.

[Note: the Facebook group has since been shut down.]

The description was: “You supply the Tots, we supply the Lockers. Pretty self explanatory, people.”

The conversations on the wall were hilarious, and I quickly surmised that Uncle Joe’s Tot Locker was most definitely a joke, and a very well-planned out one at that.

I emailed Uncle Joe back and asked him the question that the whole state of Alabama wanted to know the answer to: How’d you manage to get listed on air – THREE TIMES?

He explained:

“First you begin with boredom, bad weather and vodka. Then, VOILA!

My wife and I were watching daycare closings in January and noticed some REALLY bad daycare names and I impulsively called Fox 6 and told them I had a closing at my daycare and they asked me for my code.

After telling them I didn’t have one, they were nice enough to walk me through the process. It took about 3 minutes. It’s really made winter a lot of fun around my house. Some friends have even made T-shirts ( complete with barb-wire).”

He gave me permission to share my findings with you, even at the risk of outing his fun, since SURELY our snow threats are over for the year.

And so there you have it. My theory about prank calling in closings? It’s not only possible, but it’s been done multiple times by a master. Which has led to creating a continually high level of curiosity throughout the whole state of Alabama.

Uncle Joe, I salute you for your hard work at entertaining us all through this bleak and blizzardy winter. I wish you many more successful years of Southern Snowstorms of Tot Locker closings.

53 thoughts on “Uncle Joe’s Tot Locker: An Investigative Report.

  1. I knew it. Well at least that is one mystery solved. Now maybe the washers and dryers of the world will let you know what happens to the socks. And my nephews pants because they seem the live off of those too.

  2. Man your investigative reporting skillz are TOP NOTCH sister! That is freaking hilarious. I salute you AND Uncle Joe. I bet they all fell out laughing everytime that would scroll underneath Cruella… I mean Karen Church.

  3. I cannot tell you how much I admire your perseverance! HILARIOUS!!! Seriously, if I ever need to stalk somebody, I'm calling you first.

  4. THAT IS AWESOME!!! One question. Uncle Joe can I open up a franchise in Utah and notify the local news of it's closure on blizzardy days?

  5. Such a fun story!

    I'm with Jill. If I ever need a stalker I know who to call. I mean that in the best way possible of course ;)

  6. Okay that is the funniest thing I've heard in months. Have to agree with Jill and Trina. You would be the friend to call when in need of stalking ability. Hilarious!

  7. I think you missed your calling…you and my one daughter have true investigative skills. She is my go to gal when I need to find something or someone.

  8. Yaaaaaaaaay! Good stuff. Next snow threat, Germy Jeremy's House O' Slobber is totally going into business!

  9. That is CLASSIC !!! I just forwarded your post to my friend and favorite weatherman – who DOESN'T work at Fox 6…LOL !!!!!

  10. If your Meat Creation didn't win my heart, your investigative reporting certainly has!!! This was priceless. Ok, seriously, someone get this girl a gig with Fox 6-Rhonda Robinson-Watch out! You got some competition. LOVED IT!

  11. As co-designer of Uncle Joe's Tot Locker t-shirt, this has been the most fun we've had in quite some time!!!! Uncle Joe is awesome!!!

  12. That is just awesome. I gotta go to their wall on Facebook! Thanks for including me in the naming but I think it was really just you and Chris and Lianne with me laughing along.
    Lianne–I can't wait. At the rate Jack's been sick this season, he could totally go there!!!!

  13. I totally had to join the group on Facebook…that is the funniest thing I have seen all day! You are a sleuthing master! I wish someone would have done that here in Atlanta and entertained us!

  14. Finally!! My husband has asked me at least once weekly if I've had any luck finding Uncle Joe's!! It has haunted me. I definitely have a need to know EVERYHTHING. You rock!

  15. Haha, that is great. And most of the greatness is your dilligence in discovering the truth. You are a modern day Nancy Drew. :)

  16. That is AWESOME!

    You are hilarious for tracking down the mystery, and I love that Joe contacted you directly :)
    That name is Genius!

  17. I cannot believe someone went to so much trouble to create a prank. But I must admit it has created alot of guessing. Now, can you tell me where Leo's keys are?

  18. That's hilarious! I can't believe the news channel didn't think something was up with a name like that. Amazing.

  19. And he would have gotten away with it too! If it hadn't been for you snooping kids!
    So funny…can he call in to Montgomery the next time so we can enjoy the giggles as well?

  20. LOVE it!
    LOVE-love-LOVE it!
    Hilarious! How brave of them to start the madness. How nice of you to share it with us!
    I want a t-shirt now! :)

  21. Oh my. Oh me, oh my. that is HILARIOUS!!! He and his wife will be able to laugh about this forEVER!!!

  22. wow.
    Uncle joe…only in Alabama could he have gotten away with this!
    its hilarious, and the complexity and detail of his prank was well appriciated in the Zannis family I'm sure!

  23. Rachel,

    My daughter (Rachel!) and I saw that scroll also! We thought it absolutely bizarre and had a few moments of fun with it, but thank you so much for ferreting it out, that's a great story. You have a cute blog here, well done! Your Long Butts/Mom Jeans investigation is an certainly an important one, too.

  24. Too funny! Also wanted to comment that the jack man (middle of the picture) in the photo at the top is my future brother-in-law! I was so surprised to see a picture of his butt on a random blog that I linked to through a friends blog. Made me giggle. :)

  25. Uncle Joe's Tot Locker may be fake, but this one is real:

    Atonement Preschool

    It's the preschool attached to a church in my mom's town. (The church also has "Atonement" in the name.) I picture the tots having bread and water at snack time, right before they get vigorous exercise scourging themselves.

  26. Thank you!! We have gotten some good laughs out of this tonight.
    Looks like Uncles Joe and Al are at the vodka again, though

  27. My friend walked into the dining hall at my college today proudly sporting an Uncle Joe’s t-shirt. None of us knew what it meant, but she was happy to tell us. Turns out “Uncle Joe’s” real-life daughter is her room mate. Glad to have a real Tot Locker Alumni on campus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *