When the person on the other end of the phone is giggling as you answer, chances are it's a goodie. And Evelyn Bickford of Silver Spring didn't disappoint.

She had just gotten home from the new Safeway store on Briggs Chaney Road, said Evelyn, between guffaws. And guess what?

At one end of the store, there was an express lane, above which hung this sign:

"Nine Items Or Less."

At the other end of the store, there was another express lane, above which hung this sign:

"Nine Items Or Fewer."

What gives, Larry Johnson of Safeway?

"Well, you remember that because of your column, we agreed that we would go with 'fewer' in all our new stores, but we would keep all the 'lesses' in the stores that already had 'em?"

I remember, Larry.

"I can't explain this one," said Larry, giggling as hard as Evelyn. "But I guess you'd have to say we're moving in the right direction."

Moving in the wrong direction is a recent Safeway newspaper ad, duly clipped and mailed in by an amused Carl Henry of Riverdale.

"GRAPES, Red or Black, Imported From Chili," reads the text.

As Carl notes, "Safeway searches everywhere for bargains."

Reunions, reunions, reunions:

The class of 1953 from Silver Spring's Montgomery Blair High School is going to celebrate its 30th in style June 18 and 19. Class members are asked to call Georgia C. McGraw at 262-4966.

Rockville's Peary High is hunting for '63 and '64 grads. "Lost" members from either class should contact Connie Baker (258-7381), Nancy Evans (854-3395) or Sharon Gutterman (774-4090).

Any readers who attended Heidelberg (Germany) American High School between 1955 and 1959 are asked to contact Mary Field Banks at 360-8430 or Joan Dickson at 552-3982. Festivities are being planned in the Washington area Aug. 27.

Ahoy, all who served aboard the U.S.S. Cabot, CVL-28, an attack carrier which fought in the Pacific during World War Two. Your 40th reunion is scheduled for Sept. 16-18 in Philadelphia. Herb Gidney is trying to round up current addresses and phone numbers. His phone number in Great Mills, Md., is 301-862-3133.

At Parris Island, Marine drill instructors mean business, and so does the committee organizing a reunion Nov. 10 and 11 of all D.I.s who served at that legendary South Carolina training base during World War Two. Send your names and addresses, please, to Tiny Renaker, Principal, Garfield Elementary School, 1221 Garfield Street, Port Huron, Mich., 48060.

Eastern's High School's class of 1933 is going to do up half a century in style on June 18. Information: Reba Sher (593-1615) or Howard Clarke (530-6211).

It's also 50 years for the Hyattsville High School class of '33. Organizers of a June 11 reunion are Dorothy Fant (927-2550) and Dorcas Glasgow (927-2726).

Still another half century anniversary: that of the class of '33 from St. John's College High School. Members of that class are asked to call the alumni office at the school (363-2316) or John J. Lieb of Beltsville (937-3583).

The Gary Hometown Club is trying to put together a get-together for residents of that northern Indiana city who find themselves here. Call Harriett Washington at 737-3220.

Number 20 looms for Wakefield High School's class of '63. Art (998-8328), Susan (734-0251) or Dick (243-4249) are the people to call.

Washington-Lee High School's class of 1943 has scheduled a dinner-dance for June 4. Further information is available from Norma Myford Goodman (323-8875 after 5 p.m.) or Mickey Sadler Kirby (525-4535).

Finally, this plea from Gail Sanders, an administrative aide at Duke Ellington High School in Northwest: if graduates of Western or Central High Schools (both now defunct) are looking for classmates or class officers, please don't call Ellington. Neither Gail nor anyone else at Ellington has such information.