Matt D
Topic Author
Posts: 8907
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 1999 6:00 am

Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 5:58 am

For years and years, whenever I saw phone numbers advertised on TV or in print, they always looked like this:

(800) 987-6543

Note the parenthesis and the dash.

Now when I see them, they look like this:


NO parenthesis or dash, and the number separated only with a decimal point.

Is there a reason for this?

Just wondering.
Posts: 1978
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2001 2:12 pm

RE: Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 6:02 am

A couple of years ago someone in the advertising world decided to adopt a "European" look to the way phone numbers were presented and so they went with the decimal.

No real reason other than someone felt it looked "Sexier."

I wish I could find a link to a news story about it, but it has been a couple of years since I read about it.
Posts: 1505
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2000 3:10 am

RE: Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 6:05 am

In Lithuania it is ussually with dashes, like 25-89-65 or 258-965. As for prefix, it is ussually in brackets (state prefix) or just simply written (city prefix). Like 8-5, prefix of Vilnius. Dash here means that you have to wait after pressing 8.
Posts: 3186
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2001 10:50 pm

RE: Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 6:06 am

Maybe because it takes up two less character spaces when writing it? I started using this system years ago @ work because of that very reason, however, I do believe I saw it long ago (where the phone numbering system was different) in Europe - that is, using decimal points and no parentheses...Jack
all best; jack
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Joined: Thu May 11, 2000 8:01 am

RE: Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 6:11 am

Anyone from Chicago familiar with this number?


MAtt D:
Maybe people are just lazier today.
Bring back the Concorde
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RE: Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 6:28 am

"European Look"? Well, it's certainly not common in Germany. We use various ways to write a phone number, for example 0800 5678 111 or (0800) 5678111 or 0800/5678111 or 0800-5678111; there are more. But I can't remember having seen dots in Germany.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 3:12 pm

RE: Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 7:46 am

Superfly, I think that is the most memorable phone number out there... well for anyone who spent anytime living in Chicagoland. Now that Empire carpet advertises nationally it is 1-800-588-2300... not quite as catchy, but still reminds me of being a little kid back in Chicago.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
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RE: Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 7:53 am

Numbers are written like this:


America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2001 1:02 am

RE: Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 8:32 am

It doesn't matter in the end, because the CO reads the digits the same way.
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:34 am

RE: Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 8:36 am

i never really noticed. i always wrote it like this: 123,456,7890
"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
Posts: 8526
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2001 12:57 pm

RE: Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:22 am

SupaFly: 588-2800 Call Empirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre...

If your from Chicago you also know:

Hello, this is the Doctor speaking...what? $2000 down on all mitsubishis including Montero, Galant, Eclipse, and Montero Sport...yes yes.....hes mad, hes glad but hes not crazy.

Yea the Max Madsen Mitsubishi commercial are annoying as hell. And yes Mitsubishi does suck bigger than your Nader supporting Renault Clio/Twingo (Americans read go-kart) owner.
Posts: 4611
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 1:12 pm

RE: Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 11:11 am

Superfly, I remember that from when we had WGN on our cable system. I also remember that annoying Bob ROOOOOOHRman. Then he goes and buys a batch of dealerships in Fort Wayne. UGH!!!!

As for the decimals, the reason that is becoming popular is because this format is associated with technology (like a URL). Businesses think it gives them the appearence of being 'cutting edge'. Our company just released all their branding guidelines and all the business cards, fax cover sheets, etc use this.
"Shaddap you!"
Posts: 3186
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2001 10:50 pm

RE: Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 11:31 am

The more I think about it, the more I think space might be the reason:
(800) 123-4567 vs.

Anyhoo, I thought Empire was a Detroit phenom. Guess not. BTW, they advertise as "Empire Today" locally. I don't trust the old guy's voice-over. He sounds like a child molester...Jack
all best; jack
Posts: 5603
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2000 12:16 pm

RE: Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 12:16 pm

There is another reason- since ten digit dialing is becoming the norm, rather than the exception, expressing phone numbers as a cohesive unit makes more sense. As for the periods rater than spaces or dashes, I think it is mostly a style thing.

The first place I ever saw that practice was when TRW took over my company the mid eighties; they had a style manual with all sorts of directives as to how things were don and how they should look... the dots were a part of that. Unique then; ubiquitous, now.

As for Chicago numbers, what about National Two Nine Thousand?
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...

RE: Phone Numbers

Fri Sep 12, 2003 12:28 pm

Anyone seen or remember that cheesy, uh, Yaffa commercials? The 1980s like commercial played in the late 1990s and I am now seeing the commercial again. It's a fake exaggerated exciting sound made by this woman...

They are new!
They are hot, new laundry holders!
You can stack 'em up just like skyscrapers!
Just dial, 1-800-455-YAFFA!!!!!!

So retarded.

I  Love BOI
Posts: 4251
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 12:15 pm

RE: Phone Numbers

Sat Sep 13, 2003 10:07 am

Does anybody remember the jewelry company commercials from like the mid-80s in Detroit? We got Detroit TV in Thunder Bay and I can still remember:

Call Diiiiiiiiamond! D-I-A-M-O-N-D!
But that was when I ruled the world
Posts: 916
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2001 2:04 pm

RE: Phone Numbers

Sat Sep 13, 2003 10:27 am

Here our numbers are written this way:

200-3311 or 6265-6456

For the city code

0xxCC where CC is city code, and xx is the long distance phone company (mandatory), ie. 21 (021CC) could be AT&T, 15 Bell South, 23 British Telecom and so on...(off course, those are not the actual companies)


"ad astra per aspera"
Posts: 2586
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2000 10:58 am

RE: Phone Numbers

Sat Sep 13, 2003 11:44 am

Eight Hundred Five Eight Eight Two Three Hundred, Empiiiiiiiiiiire!!

Its so catchy.. we have it here in DTW too.

ive always written my numbers as 248-999-9999 or 2489999999

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