Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I recently ordered a pair of eyeglasses on-line (from Zennioptical.com - highly recommended; no-line bifocals for fifty bucks). Yesterday I got an e-mail telling me the glasses had been shipped via first class mail. The tracking number, I was helpfully informed, is 420201899101805213907334976534. That’s right: four hundred twenty octillion, two hundred one septillion, eight hundred ninety-nine sextillion…

I would guess that this tracking number is greater than the total number of packages all human beings have sent and ever will send - multiplied by, oh, a quadrillion. It seems to me that account numbers, tracking numbers, etc. are, too often, needlessly large and complicated. Why, for example, does our electric company account number exceed the total number of human beings who have ever lived?

In this regard, at least, the U.S. government deserves some credit. At one billion, the maximum possible number of Social Security numbers seems perfectly reasonable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Persobnally, I would VERY highly recommend GlassesShop, GlassesShop.com sells only their own manufactured frames direct to the customer, with no middlemen and virtually no advertising budget. Trust me you can't get deals like they have at your local chain or mall vision store.