Wacky & Tacky

Get Your Daily Dose of Trivial Truths.

Numbers Don’t Lie

In 1938, as a way of showing how conveniently a Social Security card could be stored, the E.H. Ferree company included a fake card in their new line of wallets. Although it proved to be a successful marketing tool, there was only one problem: The Social Security number printed on the fake card belonged to the company’s secretary, Hilda Schrader Whitcher. Even though the card was an obvious decoy (it was printed in red), many people still mistook the card for their own. The mistake continued to rise over the years, with over 40,000 people claiming the number 078-05-1120 as their real SSN.

Biggest Jerk

A single unidentified floor trader at the New York Mercantile Exchange caused oil prices to briefly rise to over $100 per barrel for the first time in history last January when he bought a modest share and immediately resold it at a $600 loss. He apparently bought the shares solely for the right to say that he was the first to purchase oil at the record-breaking price.

Fire Hazard

A Chicago tavern is serving chicken wings coated in peppers so hot that patrons will have to sign a waiver agreeing not to sue for injuries. Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap will serve the Red Savina pepper wings with an alarm bell for patrons to summon waiters with sour cream, milk, sugar, and white bread if things get out of hand.

Trash Talk

A 35-year-old caterer from Berkeley, California saved every piece of trash he generated over a year to see how much garbage one person creates. In his case, the final pile took up 96 cubic feet.

No Bones About It

The online entrepreneur Jeff Bezos originally titled his company Cadabra.com (a shortened form of abracadabra). Realizing that the name sounded too similar to the word “cadaver,” he quickly renamed it Amazon after the earth’s most voluminous river. Today, 1.3 million resellers sell used books and other products through Amazon.com.

Nike cofounder Bill Bowerman had shoes on his mind at breakfast one morning. After staring at a waffle iron, he realized that he could make shoes lighter by using squared spikes.

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses represent more than 99 percent
of all employers.

In 1477, Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave the world’s first diamond engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy.

Gambling grosses more money than movies, music, cruises, theme parks, and sports combined.

The least productive workday is obviously Friday, but did you know that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week?

In 1987, American Airlines saved $40,000 in overhead by excluding one olive from every salad served during their flights.

The song “Happy Birthday to You” is protected by copyright until 2030.

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