What’s with the four digit numbers in a square thing?

Ironically, the very same road I drive down to take Brian and Lucas to school has a large, brick mailbox that has its 4-digit street address arranged in a square pattern. I would have commented on it to Brian himself, but it’s going the other way away from the school. So, no one’s in the car with me when I pass it. (Of course, that didn’t stop me from commenting on it to no one in particular.)

This mailbox’s numeric address is supposed to be 1624. But that’s not obvious, nor is it easy to decipher. The numbers are stacked like this:

1 6

2 4

So, is that 1624 or 1264 or 1246? I have no idea in the quick second I glance at it. Now, I know it because of context clues, like the house before and the house after it. But isn’t the entire purpose of the number on the mailbox to make it easier to find the house in question quickly?

I even noticed this at Starbucks recently. This is a picture from the coffee Caroline got on Saturday morning:

I’m assuming it’s supposed to be 1971 because 1791 or 1719 wouldn’t make much sense. But I don’t know that right off hand. The only context clue I have is that I’m pretty sure Starbucks was not around in 1791 or 1719. In fact, Washington state wasn’t even Washington state back then (that happened in 1889, if you were wondering).

But why make this difficult? To be cutesy? To be designer-y? To me, it just makes the user experience that much more difficult. And that defeats the purpose. Boo 😦

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