Saturday, August 1, 2009

Au No, Canada. I'm talkin' aboot yur Numerative Val-yooz, eh!

Take an account number, any account number. Usually they're a little longer, such as:


Say a Customer Service phone rep asks you for this number, would you list it number-by-number, our would you clump the numbers all into a sporadical mess.

To a caller from the United States, this number is:
Seven-Four-Five-Seven-Zero-Zero-Zero-Four-Zero-Nine (7457000409). Once in a while some poseur will throw in a "niner" instead of a "nine" but things are clear for the most part, we're all on the same page.

Canadian callers are on a different page. They present longer numbers as though they are reading a sentence in a language I haven't yet mastered. The account number goes from 7457000409 to:

Seventy-Four, Fifty-Seven, Three Zeros, Forty, Nine

...and the CSR on the other end hears 74573049. Whoops, missed a few digits.

OR, the caller will say

Seven, Forty-Five, Seven Thousand, Four Hundred Nine (7457409). Still not quite right.


Seven Hundred Forty-Five, Seventy, Zero Zero, Four Oh Nine (700457000409). D'oh! I tried to think like a Canadian number-reader and it backfired!

I spent a lot of time in Canada and met the best people there, but WTF. It's an epidemic! And if you return a number in the same fashion, the conversation gets all screwed up--"What page are you on, eh?" they'll ask. "Twenty Five, sir! 205."

But then you feel like a jackass for presenting a number like that.


Post a Comment