Monday, October 24, 2011

Good vs. Bad: Numbers edition

Numbers are everywhere in the world--license plates, phone numbers, house numbers, and so on. In Oman, some crafty person took advantage of the fact that number are so prevalent in our lives, and figured out how to make a profit off of them! How, you ask? Well, by making "good" number fashionably expensive. License plate and telephone numbers both have certain traits that can make them good, and therefore, more expensive. People will even pay 10,000 RO for a "good" plate or phone number (that's about $26,000 USD).

So what makes a number "good?"

In the case of license plates, the fewer the digits, the better the number. Your average "bad" number has 4-5 digits. When there are 4 digits, there are usually two letters, and 5 digits calls for one letter.

Example: 92431 D

Then we have "not-too-shabby" numbers. They have 3 numbers and one or two letters. These are more expensive.

Example: 381 D

Next comes your two-digit, one letter plates. Definitely considered "good" and definitely expensive, and almost always seen on nicer cars. Also in this category and the previous one are cars with repeating number. There can be 4-5 numbers, but they are something like 9999 or 44444

Example: 81 S

And then comes the "holy-@!*%%!)-!$@!-$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$" cars. One digit, one letter. Sometimes as or more expensive than the cars that they decorate (which, for the record, are not junkers. Ever).

Example: 1 R

Phone numbers fall into the same pattern. Every personal number in Oman starts with 92, but after that repeating numbers are good. For example (and I'm making all of these up, they aren't numbers of anyone I know--same goes for the plate numbers up there. Though I have seen all of those):
92 22 22 22
92 88 78 78
92 66 66 65

And so on. 

It's an interesting and innovative system! I don't know if this is just an Omani thing or if it happens throughout the region/world, but it also reminds me of the American system of selling more expensive personalized license plates.


  1. I love how this was posted at 5:55. Awesome timing Emma! :)

  2. hehe my uncle had a corvette with the number 333 and one letter and my niece's phone number has like four zeroes :D

  3. expensive personalized license plates also happened in Indonesia :D

  4. Oooo okay thanks for telling me Rieka! :)