What’s up with all the phone books? Does anyone actually use them nowadays?

Who uses a phone book anymore? No one, right?

Then why did I find that I had almost a dozen phone books stacked up in the corner?

I decided to at least toss the outdated ones but still hung onto four of them, even though I can’t recall having actually used a phone book in years.

I mean I’m not sure my grand kids even know what a telephone booth is. I’m not sure they know what a land line telephone is for that matter.

Ended keeping the four books (yeah four). I just had a hard time letting go because they indicated on their front covers they were good for another year.

Once upon a time when we still used phone books there was only one, the edition put out by the phone company. Then, sometime in the 80s I began to notice knock-offs of the famous Bell System yellow pages. And then I began to notice we were getting deliveries of whole phone books, white pages and yellow, all or most looking something like the phone company’s but not the phone company’s.

Does the phone company — yeah the landline phone company — actually still put out a phone directory anymore?

One reason I hung on to some of the books is that they have coupons in them, but I don’t recall ever using one, although I may have — yeah, actually I seem to remember years ago my late wife mentioning there was a coupon in one of them for, maybe smog checks. We have to get those every other year or so here in California on our cars — just a rip off to give the state revenue and give auto repair shops more business (and no offense to the repair shops — can’t afford to insult you guys and gals).

Of course the reason for all these books is that people who have them printed do their best to convince paid advertisers that they can’t afford not to be in their book. A business person would soon run out of money, I would think, trying to be in all those books.

And once a number is listed in a book, even if it is wrong or outdated, it stays there for the life of the book and can cause both lost business and annoying phone calls for unsuspecting citizens. For quite awhile at my current digs I was getting these strange calls with people asking about tires. I finally realized that my number was the same for some defunct tire business. So for the fun of it one day when a woman called asking what she should do about a tire problem, I told her she better come right in but warned her it was going to be real expensive. But she sounded like a nice, innocent elderly woman and I felt guilty, so I owned up to my prank and apologized and then advised her to go to the place where I deal for tires. She thanked me, and I felt better.

And I just looked over at those remaining phone books. I’ll never use them.


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