We’ve all heard the words in the title to today’s blog. The full quotation is “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” and comes from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It’s spoken by Juliet in the famous balcony scene. (“O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?“ etc.) The quote we know today was not exactly the same in Shakespeare’s day; an 18th century editor changed it. The original was closer to “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other word would smell as sweet.”
Anyway, you get the picture.
Fast forward about 425 years. At that time when people were excavating, they had to call individual utilities one at a time to get lines marked (if they called at all.) Then the one call centers came into being, like Texas811 (one of the oldest in the nation).
The number to call in Texas back then for getting underground facilities located was 1-800-DIG-TESS. “DIG” stood for, well, dig. And “TESS” is an acronym for our legal name, Texas Excavation Safety System.
The following was written by Texas811 Director of Customized Solutions, Kyle VanLandingham:
Before Texas811 got its current name, we were known simply as Dig Tess. At some point or another, just about everyone in the industry has referred to us as “Dig Test”, or at least knows someone who has. Tess was such an odd word to begin with unless you have a family member that is adorned with the name, or are a fan of Thomas Hardy literature. It was so prevalent back in the day that most of us here just ignored it and went along with it. That likely added to the problem because our disregard of the mispronunciation probably led people to think that they had it right all along. The weird thing about it was that while “Dig Test” was inaccurate, it was oddly fitting. It was difficult enough to get my friends and family to understand what I was saying, much less someone over the phone who had never heard of us before. I always resorted to reading out the acronym of Tess; Texas Excavation Safety System. It seemed much more descriptive of the actual job we were doing anyway.
So, millions and millions of locate requests later, we still get plenty of 1-800-DIG-TESS calls (yes, the line is still active, and will remain active) as well as the much more used 811 number.
We even had one befuddled person call and ask us if they had reached “1-800-DIG A HOLE.”
At least their heart was in the right place.
As far as the 811 number goes, it was mandated by the FCC ten years ago and is part of the N-11 numbering system, which includes 211, 411, 611 and 911.
It’s good ANYWHERE in the nation and gets an excavator in touch with the nearest one call center, and that one call center takes all the headache out of line locating by sending notice to relevant utilities to come out and mark their buried lines. From Alaska to Hawaii and everything in between, 811 is your safe digging number.
So, sure – call us at 1-800-DIG-TESS. Call us at 811. Use our mobile apps, or submit through the portal.
It doesn’t matter how you call us, you’re still going to get the same Texas811 experience.
We wouldn’t have it any other way!
Until next week, safe digging.
By Scott Finley