Domino's Gets Into 9/9/09 Numerology

Last Updated Sep 9, 2009 12:10 PM EDT

Domino's is giving away 99 free birthday cakes to people who turn 9 or 99 today -- today being 9/9/09 and thus supposedly full of all sorts of cosmic significance. "We won't see this date for another hundred years," a spokeswoman said in the press release.

Yeah, and? Isn't that true of any date? My first reaction to the news was to wonder, is Domino's really that desperate for promotion excuses? But it turns out the numerology craze is not unique to Domino's. As CNN put it:

And though the date lacks the pizzazz of the lucky sevens (07/07/07), that isn't stopping marketers, mathematicians and the marriage-minded from dressing it to the nines.
And it's not just the marketers -- 9/9/09 was one of the top 100 Google searches yesterday. (But was it within the top 99?)

Thousands are getting married in China today, but for them the date has added significance -- "nine, nine" in Mandarin sounds like the word for "long-lasting." In Japan, however, the word for nine sounds like the word for suffering, apparently, so it gets avoided much like 13 does in the U.S.

I find it all kind of ridiculous, but also entertaining. Wired has the best take I've seen so far -- its list of 18 (9+9) things to do today includes "Watch the movies 9 1/2 Weeks and Fellini's 8 1/2. They'll average out."

I can't wait to see what people will cook up for October 10, 2010 -- assuming the world doesn't end today, as some are predicting. Let's hope the end waits at least until after all of those Domino's customers have enjoyed their free birthday cakes.

  • Katherine Glover