When Tommy Tutone recorded his Top 10 hit “867-5309/Jenny” in 1982 — temporarily lessening the skank-factor for girls whose names and numbers randomly end up on bathroom stalls — he turned those seven unassuming digits into one of the most-dialed numbers in the country, because Americans can’t seem to resist the power of suggestion. That explains why a guy in Weehawken, N.J. is trying to get rid of the number through an eBay auction, but doesn’t quite explain why someone is willing to pay more than $400,000 for it.
Our friends at The Daily Swarm found this one on CNN.com, who reported that as of Monday morning the bidding for the famous telephone digits had reached $5,100. At the time of this story, bidding stands at an unbelievable $434,744.44.
Spencer Potter, the lucky bastard who currently holds the number, told CNN.com that 867-5309 is “one of the last cultural remnants of the ’80s pop culture era” besides the mullet. He’s had the number for five years, and it’s attached to his DJ business, which is part of the eBay auction. It’s necessary to get around the fact that you’re technically not allowed to sell your phone number. Because you don’t actually own it. The phone company does. (A 2004 eBay auction of the 212 area code version of the number was shut down for this reason.)
But this Potter kid was on top of all that, probably because of the amazing lawyers he goes on and on about on the auction page. He said he gets between 8 and 10,000 calls every year, around 40 each day. A guy in Philadelphia who holds the two toll-free versions — 800 and 888 — said he values his numbers in the millions of dollars. He licenses them out for advertiser use. And who knows, by the time Potter’s auction ends on February 9, he could very well hit that million-dollar mark.
Did we call him a bastard yet? Oh, right. We did.