The other day I went to the Safeway near my house to get some last minute ingredients for the chocolate mousse I wanted to make Sean for Valentine's Day. I have known Sean for almost seventeen years, and I only recently found out that one of his favorite desserts is chocolate mousse, which struck me as funny for some reason, because it just seems so....so....I don't know, so eighties. Oh hey, want a slap wrap with that chocolate mousse? Should we eat it while we watch Alf? I'll wear my jelly shoes if you wear your hypercolor t-shirt! How about we put some neon zinc sunblock on our noses?
I don't normally go to the Safeway near my house, due to the fact that it's usually a massive rhymes-with-duster-rhymes-with-buck, but I specifically needed something I couldn't get at Trader Joe's, and I can't go to the other Safeway a little further from my house, because I had an argument with one of the cashiers there a few months ago and now I feel like it might be awkward. (I was having a spectacularly bad day and he was being a spectacular douchecanoe. Actually, we were probably both being spectacular douchecanoes, but I was the one trying to give him my money so you'd think that'd count for something.)
So I went to the Safeway near my house, and when it came time to pay, I opted to go through one of the new self-service checkout lines they've recently installed to try and make this Safeway a little less of a, uh, dusterbuck. Those self-service checkout lines are both a blessing and a curse, because one false move—one apple without a barcode, one bottle of wine you forget you need to show your ID for—and you've ruined the whole thing, haven't you? Then you have to wave your hand sheepishly at the assistant, who trudges over wearily, and as you're waiting for him or her to key in that special code that'll right all your dull-witted wrongs, you can practically feel the entire line behind you roll its eyes collectively at your ineptitude.
That's what I thought was going to happen when I punched in the phone number associated with my club card and got a message that said NUMBER INVALID. Flummoxed, I typed it in again. NUMBER INVALID. I typed in Sean's phone number, then my number, then his number again, then a bunch of numbers at random—the line was eying me restlessly; I was getting desperate; pretty much everything I'd bought was on some sort of sale that required my club card to activate the discount—and then I remembered something Sean had told me offhandedly a couple of months ago.
If you are at a grocery store and you do not have your club card, and the phone number associated with your account is, for some reason, relentlessly INVALID, there is a little trick you can try. First, key in your area code. Then key in 867-5309, the phone number from Tommy Tutone's 1982 hit. If you are lucky, a prankster in your city will have opened an account with this number, believing himself to be highly hilarious and original—or, perhaps, just not wanting to give out his personal information—and boom, there you go, club card activated. I almost think of it as a kind of service to the community.
Am I the last person to know about this? I may be the last person to know about this, but I'm happy to report that it worked like a charm. Didn't solve the mystery of why my own number wasn't showing up as valid, but it did at least stop the crowd behind me from shooting daggers into my back and allowed me to get out of the seventh circle of hell—or Safeway, if you want to use its more formal name—relatively unscathed. The downside is that you're going to have that song in your head for the rest of the day, I'm afraid ("Jenny, I got your numberrrrrrrrr!"), but hey, it's a small price to pay for buy-one-get-one-free Haagen-Dasz.