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

Re: Need Help With a Telephone Mystery

Steven Lichter (
Mon, 23 Jan 2006 00:19:13 GMT

Joe Morris wrote:

> writes:

>> Don't underestimate the grief someone has with a phone number close to
>> a popular number. A friend's number is vaguely similar to a pizza
>> place and he gets frequent calls for the place. (Since he's not
>> usually there it's not a problem). A number I once had was similar to
>> a call-in for work assignments and I got calls regularly at 5am.

> 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. (Yes, some groceries did that 'way back
> when ... PeaPod is nothing new.) Apparently someone at the grocery was
> giving out the wrong number and complaints to the grocery didn't help.

> 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.

> Joe Morris

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: There was an instance in Chicago
> several years ago where the Probation Department of the Cook County
> Court system printed up legal notices which were mailed out to all
> the probationers -- millions of notices -- with the wrong number on
> the form. Getting them (court officials) to even _listen_ to the
> problem, let alone correct their stupid notices took a real act of
> God, believe me. They just were not going to change anything
> about their system. Now if you know Chicago, almost everyone gets
> swept up in their system at least once; many folks more than once.
> The trouble was sort of serious; all probationers were expected to
> call that number (or at least the correct version of it) to do
> something or other. It finally took a lawyer (whether he himself was
> on probation or simply the counsel for someone else who was on
> probation is not known to me; it could have been either way) to go
> raise so much hell with them and get their damn forms reprinted with
> the correct number. I think the attorney had to offer to file suit
> against the court itself to prompt the correction of the form. PAT]

You should see what happens when 50 golfers show up for an 8:00 start
time. When I was with GTE in the early 70's we had a CO near a golf
course and their T time line was a number off from one of our back CO
numbers, when too many people called their number the old Step
equipment would send calls to our number. Complaints to them asking
them to please add more lines did not good, so we to T times one
morning and then went out front to watch, the next day we found out
through the service office they added 5 more lines to their main

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