Posts tagged “card”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • The most misused SSN of all time was 078-05-1120 [] – In 1938, wallet manufacturer the E. H. Ferree company in Lockport, NY decided to promote its product by showing how a Social Security card would fit into its wallets. A sample card for display purposes was inserted in each wallet. Vice President Douglas Patterson thought it would be a clever idea to use the actual SSN of his secretary, Hilda Whitcher. The wallet was sold by Woolworth stores and other department stores all over the country. Even though the card was only half the size, printed all in red, and had the word "specimen" written across it, many purchasers adopted the SSN as their own. In 1943, 5,755 people were using Hilda's number. SSA acted to eliminate the problem by voiding the number and publicizing that it was incorrect to use it. (Mrs. Whitcher was given a new number.) However, the number continued to be used for many years. In all, over 40,000 people reported this as their SSN. As late as 1977, 12 people were found to still be using the SSN "issued by Woolworth."

Hallmark Valentine

Hallmark gets a Valentine from AP this year with a ridiculous story describing their detailed research processes to understand what people want.

An 80-person research staff’s analysis of Hallmark’s 2004 card sales was the initial impetus for this year’s line. That combines with more than 100,000 annual customer interviews, focus groups and in-store observations to lay the framework for roughly 2,000 cards in Hallmark’s core Valentine’s Day line as well as another 2,500 offerings through sister brands offered at supermarkets, Wal-Mart and elsewhere.

The card’s designer, Marcia Muelengracht, said she was not at all surprised the card sold five times better than the average Valentine — so well it’s being offered for a second year.

Five times better than the average tells you nothing about how well it sold relative to the number 2, 3, 4, or whatever. If it sold five times more than the its nearest competitor, that’d tell you that this particular Valentine really tapped into something special. This gets into all that horrible stats about standard deviation and mean and median that I don’t really understand – but I understand enough to know that lies, damn lies, and statistics are being used to create a puff piece about this special Valentine that is popular everywhere, and about how much work Hallmark does to understand their customer.


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