The phone book as we know it may be doomed.
The Big Communications Company (formerly known as THE Phone Company,) wants to sell the part of itself that makes and gives out the books, and use the cash to “improve” its broadband internet network and its cell phone “service.”
In other words, it wants to get rid of something that it has done well for a century and use the money to further screw up what it doesn’t do well.
The stockholders will rejoice.
The “outgo” that goes along with the income will be on some budget line no one without an accounting degree understands, won’t show up on the bottom line for years, and will eventually be a lot higher than the sale price.
And who will give out the directories?
Why, the new Big Directory Company, of course.
Give out? Maybe. Or maybe someone has found yet another thing to charge for, even if it’s always been free – or at least included in the cost of telephone service.
Will your phone bill go down by a corresponding amount?
What do YOU think!
Even in the internet age, the classified phone book is one of the best reference works available.
You can learn more about a place by reading it than you can by absorbing the trillion words in every chamber of commerce’s glow self-description. And you can learn more about a place from the yellow pages (at least more stuff that you can use; that counts,) than you can from a year’s worth of history lessons.
So let us hope that whoever buys this division from Big Communications (once known as THE Phone Company,) keeps up the good work we’ve all come to expect.
Where else, for example, can you find a heading for “aluminum siding” that refers you to “siding, aluminum,” and once there tells you to “see building supplies, retail?”
Where else can you find companies named “0000aaaa a Long Distance Moving and Storage,” or “9999zzzz Towing?” (Have you ever wondered how outfits with names like that answer the phone? Is it “Good Morning, this is zero zero zero zero AA AA A Moving?” Or do they just say something like “moving company?”)
Where else can you find a book called “The Yellow Pages” that has blue pages?
The thought of giving up these traditions is positively horrifying.”
And what about the coupon section of this year’s book? Will those coupons still be valid next year?
“Oh, I’m sorry, the coupon you are trying to use was issued by The Big Communications Company (formerly known as THE Phone Company.) We can’t be responsible for what THEY did!”
But there’s a bright side. Old Order phone books will become collectibles. You’ll be able to auction yours on E-Bay.
And that’s terrific, because these days (even in a society that recycles EVERYTHING) there’s no way to get rid of the damn things unless you sneak them into your garbage.
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.™