Digital blunder

Call before you print--that’s the lesson for Linda Vista Elementary School in Yorba Linda, California. That school’s PTA recently made tee-shirts for a student jog-a-thon that featured the school mascot (a lion) and an inspiring seven-letter slogan transformed into a 1-800 number. Turns out the toll-free digits lead callers to a real phone number--one that, a curious parent discovered, connects to an adult chat line. (We’re pretty sure none of the chat operators were participating in the jog-a-thon.) The school caught the gaffe and hastily recalled the dirty shirts. According to the Orange County Register, Linda Vista isn’t the only school to err with this particular phone number. (Though the Register didn’t supply the actual digits, Gadfly’s own research reveals the guilty phrase was “eat dust.” We don’t recommend typing that into your nearest phone, however.) But Gadfly is slightly stumped; doesn’t every combination of seven letters potentially connect to a real phone number, once an area code or equivalent prefix is attached? This may be an “innocent mistake” as a Linda Vista school official claims, but we guess that depends on your definition of “innocent.”

Adult chat line accidentally printed on school shirts,” by Jessica Terrell, Orange County Register, October 27, 2009