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Zip Code Rebellion 


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Matt of Onomatopoeia says you need a zip code to pump gas into your car in the US.

In Canada we have postal codes. Our postal codes are a combination of three letters and three numbers, usually with a space dividing them down the middle. Canadian postal codes look something like this: V8N 2X3.

Zip codes are all numbers, five of them in a row with no spaces. 78854 could be a zip code, as could 52843. See? No letters.

So what's a Canadian buying gas in the US to do?

Matt, as an American defector and double agent, uncovered the solution: use 90210 as the zip code.

The effect of these Canadian saboteurs, as Matt points out, will lead to some skewed marketing discoveries in "some research firm somewhere."

"Sir, our new fuel consumer research statistics indicate that the Beverly Hills area has a remarkable saturation of residents using Canadian credit cards."

"Recent immigrants perhaps?"

"That's all I can figure. Or theft. But none have been rejected as lost or stolen. Why Southern California, though? And not Seattle, Detroit, Buffalo, and so on? And their travel patterns don't reflect the residence patterns. They're still only driving around near the 49th parallel, even if they do live in Southern Cal."

"Well, any clues in the census data? What do the numbers show?"

"Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Maybe it's too recent. It's as if last week these people suddenly...um...all packed up and just...well...moved to Beverly."
Matt adds: "An irritating set of carefully-planned marketing research data-gathering techniques totally sabotaged by the intersection of a bunch of enterprising Canadians and a bad early-90s melodramatic teen prime-time drama. Life is rich."

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