TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Need Help With a Telephone Mystery

Re: Need Help With a Telephone Mystery

The Kaminsky Family (
Sun, 22 Jan 2006 22:47:25 -0800

Joe Morris wrote:

> My father told a story from back in the 1940s: for some reason people
> kept calling his phone (obTelecomHistory: WAlnut, a manual exchange in
> uptown New Orleans) when they wanted to contact their local grocery to
> have food delivered.

> He finally fixed the problem by responding to the calls complaining
> about slow deliveries: he profusely apologized, and told the caller
> that as a good-will gesture the next order would include some fancy
> lagniappe at no cost to the customer. Presumably the blasts directed
> at the store about its failure to include the promised lagniappe
> finally got management's attention.

When I was growing up in New York City, our phone number, with two
sixes, differed from that of an Italian dentist in that he had zeroes
instead of the sixes (which are, of course, the key for the letter O).
We frequently got calls for the dentist -- in Italian.

But the real kicker was one night when the phone rang at 4 AM.
I slept closest to the phone -- in those days we only had the one
in the kitchen -- so I picked it up.


"We got one for you."


"We got one for you."

"One what?"

"Isn't this the morgue?"

I don't think I got back to sleep that night.

Turns out our phone number was off by one, in the first digit, from
the city morgue. Thank goodness people usually get the first digit
right ...


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