For A Good Time Call...

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. 

1
Ashley
Feb 17, 2013

This is legit brand new information to me. Thank you!

2
Alicia
Feb 17, 2013

I try friend's numbers until one works. Or my parents. That one usually does the trick.

UM. I did not know this, and I find it genius.

4
Rebecca
Feb 17, 2013

Public Service Announcement of the day! We all thank you (and oh my goodness I loathe all the dang club cards!)

5
Liz
Feb 18, 2013

Good to know! We had to change our home phone number recently so now I have to go through four numbers until I get the right one. So annoying. This sounds easier!

I sometimes have to go to Ralph's for groceries I can't find at TJs and I'm always just meh about it. My kids love to ride in their enormous car carts that make parents look like idiots who can't steer a damn grocery cart. That is reason enough for me to avoid going there.

6
Bailie
Feb 18, 2013

That is totally awesome! Over here you have to have a physical card to swipe for the club which I find so weird since Sweden is so ahead in so many things but since they just issued one in my husbands name it has saved me from impulse buying chocolate more then once!

7
ris
Feb 18, 2013

This is news to me! And I also find it spectacularly amusing. I'm going to try it at Rite Aid this very afternoon.

8
Anna Louisa
Feb 18, 2013

Are you kidding me?? I've had to re-open accounts so many times because of mysterious invalid numbers...you just made my day!

www.anna-bird.com

9
Robin
Feb 18, 2013

Using "Jenny's" number is news to me too! And if you have an iPhone there is a great app called CardStar - you snap a pic of the barcode on your loyalty card and it stores the number for you. Most scan guns can scan it, I do have a problem with it at the self checkout at the grocery store (the scanner there bounces off the phone's glass) but at least I have the # to type in. I even have my library card # in there and other numbers I need to remember. Not sure if it is available for Droid etc.

10
patti
Feb 18, 2013

Did you know that if you're in an elevator and want to bypass all the floors press the close door button and your floor number at the same time. Doesn't seem to work going down though.

11
Michelle
Feb 18, 2013

I got this tip from a friend of mine, a veteran our many road trips, who will regularly ask the cashier what the local area code is in order to use it. He's been on a streak lately, and multiple times has entered that number only to be told he'd earned a free sandwich, which for a road tripper on a budget is pretty much the best thing ever.

12
jen
Feb 18, 2013

True story - I used to give that number out to boys in high school. 867-5309 was actually a phone number in our area, but I have no idea who was the unlucky recipient. I always figured if the guy didn't get the 80's reference, I definitely didn't want him to call me anyway :)

13
Sonja
Feb 18, 2013

You're officially NOT the last person to know this.

14
Maggie
Feb 18, 2013

I love posts like this. Funny AND helpful!!

15
Caitlin
Feb 18, 2013

I am fairly certain I live close to you and I must concur that that Safeway is a MASSIVE dusterbuck. I actually also hate the other Safeway too and frequently go far out of my way to avoid both.

16
edj
Feb 18, 2013

Oh I could rant on for hours about the self-service lanes at my local Safeway and the annoying vaguely-british woman who lives in the machines and is constantly telling me "Unidentified item in bagging area" even when it IS identified and sometimes I have to tell her what I think of her. My children won't go to Safeway with me anymore but I'm pretty sure that's unrelated.

17
Shelly
Feb 19, 2013

I wish all places would just have your account based on phone number. Why bother with the card at all, I am just going to lose it in less than 12 hours. World Market knows whats up.

18
Michelle
Feb 19, 2013

Check out the KeyRing app, it stores the bar code for all your pesky cards and it scans right off your phone at almost every store.

19
Sheila
Feb 19, 2013

Amazingly helpful! THIS type of post is why the internet was invented, I think.

20
Maggie
Feb 19, 2013

Douchecanoe. ahahahahahahaha

(Also, did not know that trick, but since I use the keychain cards...I've never run into the phone number problem anyway...)

21
Danae
Feb 19, 2013

My sister to this day still uses her freshman dorm room phone number. Which is hilarious every time she checks out at a grocery store and is thanked with a different last name as new students set up accounts using that phone number!

22
Camels & Chocolate
Feb 19, 2013

Douchecanoe is officially my new favorite word.

And no! I knew nothing about this! That's assuming you can remember the words to the song though, eh? ;-)

23
sparkling74
Feb 20, 2013

This is definitely a secret no one ever shared with me. How awesome. I refuse to use anything but the self check out and I think that for the number of times I have had to have assistance, it has hardly cost the same amount of time it would have to go through actual cashiers all those times. It's totally worth it to me. Even that one day when I bought like $100 worth of groceries and the ENTIRE thing had to be rerung because of a mistake the assitant made. Totally worth it though.

24
lesli
Feb 21, 2013

I had no idea! That is hilarious and I'll definitely try it the next time I have a phone number that doesn't work!

25
Lindsey
Feb 21, 2013

I didn't know about this either! Cool trick, thanks!

26
cynthia
Feb 25, 2013

A friend of mine used that # as her password when interning at an Air Force base back when we were young enough to be interns. I always thought that was genius. I guess she's not the only clever one. ;)

27
shelly@ohshellsbells
Sep 19, 2013

can i just say i tried this yesterday at the grocery store after my actual phone number didnt work. I'm fairly certain the huffy hippy just messed it up because i get text messaged deals from this place. so i told her try my area code plus 867-5309 and she rolled her eyes and said very funny all snobby. i insisted she try it and sure enough it work and i got to leave with the upperhand. WIN!

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