So, today is Friday the Thirteenth. It’s how I learned about the bizarre word which is the title of this blog. It means the fear of the number 13.

I came across it when one broadsheet pondered whether the best restaurants had a Table 13, and if it’s good to dine out on this particular evening. The answers are invariably ‘no’ and ‘yes’.

This naturally got me thinking. There’s all sorts of connotations around certain numbers. Some people (and cultures) for instance are famed for lucky/unlucky vibes of numbers. Wikipedia has a page on Chinese ones, and as a kid I always found it funny that Australian cricketers worried on the number 87 (as they are ‘down under’, 100 minus 13 is 87!).

13 is deemed so “unlucky for some” that even the roads in the town I grew up in have no house number 13s. 11 is always right next door to 15.

Does this have a sales angle?

Would it help to be aware of these ‘superstitious’, subconscious desires/distrusts?

If a problem is uncovered prospect-side, would it help to be framed using a phrase such as “…and represents a loss of an unlucky 13%”? Or say, to an Aussie, “…so the downside is about the unlucky 87k mark”?

If a solution is proffered, could you perhaps say to someone Chinese, “…and so we give you an 88% improvement”? Or to a Westerner, “…and that’s your lucky-7, a seven-fold increase…”?

In my beloved Cape Town, one of my favourite lunch spots, a place it’s difficult to consider lucky because parking near it is a nightmare, but is oh-so good, is called Table 13. Go figure.

As far as making pitches and props go, maybe there is something to this idea…

And as luck would have it, within a week of this blog-post, I sat at a real-life Table 13! Somewhere in a Singapore mall, where I just fancied fish ‘n chips. And possibly an American chain too; New York Dessert Club:


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