Like something out of a dystopian alternate reality, dialing one digit incorrectly as you lie poisoned on the floor desperately trying to call the national poison hotline… will promptly connect you to elite professionals who actually cater to fantasies involving you poisoning yourself.
Well, that in itself would probably be poor design, and on many, many levels at that, but we live in the free world, thankfully, and so we’re going to focus on a very narrow aspect of this find. To explain, let’s first observe that the number for the national poison hotline is 1-800-222-1222.
Now, before we reveal who owns 1-800-222-2222, it might be good to recap some previous action. I have been reading a book titled First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced. And recently I started Chapter 18. It’s all about poisoning. Page 289 really gets into it:
Now for the big reveal. After Googling 1-800-222-2222, I found out that that number actually belongs to Caesar’s Entertainment, of Las Vegas fame. Practically the very first thing I saw on their website?
OK, it may be poetic or humorous in a dark sense, but again the point of poor design lies somewhere else; truly, Caesar’s is free to run their business however they like, and we are free to slowly (or quickly) kill ourselves with alcohol. What’s definitely poor design is this: Why didn’t the U.S. government just buy out and/or commandeer that number from Caesar’s? I have no idea how that’s done or what the official term for it even is, but the government commandeers a lot of stuff; they take stuff like land and pay the owner fair value for it. Plus, phone numbers are almost like a public utility. It wouldn’t surprise me if the government already had a certain degree of control over them.
And so, who is going to remember that number for national poison hotline, as opposed to 1-800-222-2222? Although the phone numbers differ by only one digit, the all-2s number is a million times easier to remember. Having things that are easy to remember is important. Having them be easy to remember for emergency situations is absolutely critical.
Well then, the clear runner-up image from the Caesar’s website:
Maybe what’s even more humorous, if you think about it, is how Las Vegas locals are given special discounts for all this stuff.