For those of you who don’t live in London, this won’t mean much, but I’ve been getting increasingly annoyed at the ignorance surrounding the capital’s telephone dialling code.
Here’s a typical example from yesterday. Having moved in the last week or so, I’ve had to update my address details with numerous companies, which also entails changing contact numbers:
Customer Services: What’s your new number, sir?
Me: It’s 020 865X XXXX
Customer Services: So that’s 0208 65X XXXX
Me: (with a resigned tone) Yes, that’s what I said
You see, everyone thinks that the dialling code is 0207 or 0208 and it’s not – it’s 020!
This may sound like a petty, small thing, but it’s not. When the powers-that-be changed the dialling code around 10 years ago, it was to be prepared when the numbers started to run out. This mean that they could numbers other than 7 and 8 after 020.
And that is what has started to happen. For example, the media company IPC has recently moved offices and changed numbers. Their new switchboard number: 020 3148 5000 – now that’ll freak out the customer services departments, won’t it?
CS: What’s your number, sir?
IPC: 020 3148 5000
CS: OK, that’s 0208 314…
IPC: Noooo, 020 3148 5000 – there’s no 8
CS: But you’re in London – that’s 0208, isn’t it?
And so on…
I know in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal, but it’s the numerical equivalent of missing apostrophes, in my view. The Lynne Truss’ of this world hate it when people write things like, “Its my birthday” – why should this number problem be any different?