Nerds the world over often find themselves filling out online address forms with nonsense data.
Perhaps you’re making a free account at some newspaper that doesn’t have any entries in Bugmenot. Perhaps you’re trying to download drivers for your old scanner. Perhaps you’re registering some product you actually did just buy, but not on the understanding that you’d agree to sign up for junk mail.
A large subset of the sites dumb enough to request personal information from people who’d rather not give it are also dumb enough that they only accept US addresses, with five-digit postal codes. And, heck, if you’re entering nonsense data anyway, you might as well leave everything set to defaults, which almost always means a US address.
If you actually live in the USA, you can just declare yourself to live at 123 Foo Street in the suburb and zip code where you actually reside. If you don’t have such information at your fingertips, though, you have to come up with something.
The result of all this is that the raw data pouring into marketing databases the world over contains a disproportionately large number of people who say they live in Beverly Hills, California. Because even if you never watched the soap opera, you probably still know its name. And that name, complete with handy zip code, constitutes the only US postcode that most people around the world, from New Zealand to Iceland, can think of.
You can just type random digits into the postcode box instead, of course. But then you hit those fabulous sites that check to see if the postcode is valid, or even whether it’s valid and matches the string from the “town” box.
So 90210 it is, for nonsense-enterers the world over.
But I, for one, am moving my database-polluting 97-year-old Ecuadorian-born Jewish grandmother alter ego out of boring old Beverly Hills, and into Compton. Compton’s zip code is easy to remember: 90222. And “Compton” is faster to type, on those tiresome occasions when you have to.
And, of course, Compton is cooler.