10 Embarrassing Phone Number Typos
???1. Ochocinco meant well by printing a request for donations to a charity called Feed the Children on his new cereal, but people calling to hand over some money actually may have been “donating” to an organization of the not-so-charitable kind: a phone sex line. For the record, the number on the box was 1-800-HELP-FTC when it should have been 1-888. Whoops! Funnily enough, the day the cereal came out, Ochocinco Tweeted, “order my cereal OCHOCINCOS. Start your day with a lil suga!” Insert immature giggles here.
2. Here’s a misprint that actually led to something pretty cool: in 1955, the Colorado Springs Gazette ran an ad for Sears Roebuck that gave kids Santa’s personal telephone number. You guessed it: it was a misprint. The typo led kids to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, and when Col. Harry W. Shoup answered the phone and heard, “May I please speak to Santa Claus?” he didn’t have the heart to tell the kid he had a wrong number. So he gave his best “Ho, ho, ho!” and a tradition was born. These days, kids can track Santa online using NORAD’s online tracker.
3. A 2008 misprint in a New Jersey telephone book sent people hunting for the Sussex County Democratic Committee to a phone sex line. I bet the local rival Republicans got a kick out of that one. It’s always phone sex, isn’t it?
4. I’m answering my own question: Yes, it’s always phone sex. People who purchased a certain Linksys router were surprised when they called what they thought was tech support and got an offer for a different kind of support - “fun, stimulating conversation.” Gizmodo has an actual recording of the call.
5. That was one product. Imagine how awful it would be to have the wrong number – leading to a sex hotline, of course – misprinted on multiple products. That’s what happened to LG earlier this year when they had Ochocinco’s problem – an 800 number printed instead of an 888 number.
6. How controversial can a duck-themed stamp be? Quite, actually, when there’s a phone number typo. The duck stamp is required for all people ages 16 years and older who want to hunt waterfowl, and an 800 number is provided on the stamp for those who need to renew. The number? 1-800-STAMP24, which is 1-800-782-6724. Two of the numbers on the 2008 stamp were swapped on the 3.5 million stamps that were printed, making the number 872-6724 instead. Instead of STAMP24, that spells out TRAMP24. I bet you can guess what type of company the typoed number connected confused callers to.
7. Honda had a misprint in nearly 30,000 manuals they printed in 2007 - instead of pointing owners to a government number, it pointed owners to yet another 99-cents-a-minute number. Wouldn’t you like to know the percentage of 1-800 numbers out there that belong to porn companies? I bet it’s pretty high.
8. Although L.L. Bean didn’t send its customers to a breathy woman asking what they had on, it did make a mistake big enough to cost the company an estimated six figures. Their back-to-school catalog - a major source of income for any clothing retailer - accidentally gave the 800-number of a Virginia-based company instead of their customer service line. Rather than reprint catalogs, they paid Virginia company to give up the number.
9. This one isn’t a typo so much as it was just a bad choice of phone numbers. Several years ago, Target recalled an in-house brand of little boys’ t-shirts that had a dirt bike and a 1-800 number printed on it. Apparently no one in design bothered to call the phone number first, but you can bet a customer did. Needless to say, the person who picked up was not a Target representative.
10. Finally, if Ochocinco needs some tips, maybe he can chat with the Oregon Company who makes Peace Cereal. When customers called the 1-800 number, they heard a husky voice inquiring, "Do you love sex? ... Isn't that why you called?"