Life in our Mountain Town: 587, 582 or 550? | SierraSun.com
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Life in our Mountain Town: 587, 582 or 550?

Katie Shaffer, Sierra Sun columnist

Do you have a 587, a 582, or a 550 telephone number? Did you know that there’s a certain stigma attached to each prefix?

Did you know that the 582 prefix was introduced about the year my 12-year-old was born? Actually, she’ll be 13 this summer. Now you might be thinking, give me a break.

You mean if I moved here or started a business less than 13 years ago, the phone number that I use may identify me as a newcomer?

Well, not so much anymore. But those with a phone number that begins with 550 – that definitely spells fairly new.

New is not bad. Old is not better. It’s just an identifying mark when so many of us have come from someplace else, at different points in time.

Now I do understand that the demand for extra phone lines has increased with the advent of fax machines, cell phones and the Internet.

This has created a situation in which Truckee can no longer be a one-prefix town. It’s more a sign of the times than a sign of growth.

About 10 years ago my husband and I decided to give our home number to our business, and we then requested a new home telephone number. We were assigned a 582 number, which I lived with for a while, until a few years later when we moved and I had to call to request that our phone lines be transferred to a different address.

I then learned that you could call the telephone company and insist on a 587 number unless there weren’t any available.

I have a friend who lived here for 6 years before moving to Walnut Creek.

She had a 582 number while she lived here. It became a running joke between a few of us who were friends because at the time, she was the only one with a 582 number (I had gotten rid of mine by that time). I talked to her on the phone recently, and told her that I was thinking of writing a column about the different telephone prefixes here in Truckee. She informed me that my friends and I were all a bunch of “587 snobs.”

The problem is, newcomers probably don’t know to ask for a 587 number. Actually, if I didn’t know that 587 was the original Truckee prefix, then a 550 number probably would seem like a pretty good-sounding number.

It used to be, when we were a town with only one telephone prefix, you only had to write down the last four numbers of your phone number when signing up for things on a list such as potluck lists or class lists or volunteer lists. And then when the 582 number was introduced, people would write down the last four digits of their phone number preceded by either a 2 (with a dash) or a 7.

A few weeks ago I called the telephone company to get another line added at our home, and I was surprised to be offered all kinds of 587 numbers.

This may be another sign of the times.

For the past 10 years people have been moving to Truckee in droves. Now they are cashing in on their real estate and moving away, freeing up those old 587 numbers.

Of course if you think that giving this much thought to telephone number prefixes is nothing but a petty and wasteful expenditure of energy on a trivial and inconsequential matter – well, in the big picture of life, you’re right.

Katie Shaffer has lived in

Truckee since 1981.


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