Friday, March 20, 2009

Pet Peeve of the Week: Phone Book Deliveries

As you could probably guess from the lack of entries on this site over the last month or so, I've been pretty busy. The good news is that I now have a long list of things I want to write about, so I hope to return to a semi-regular posting schedule soon. And what better way is there for me to get back into the old swing of things than to complain about something?

About a half hour ago, I was heading home from the vet with my sick (again) dog, and what did I see but a huge truck parked outside a nearby apartment complex, and two guys taking out stacks and stacks of new telephone books to drop off at each entryway.

Now, I don't know how it is where you live, but here in Chicago it seems like we get two HUGE phone books -- the yellow pages and the white pages -- about every other month. Thankfully, people on my block now have a recycling program, so I'm hoping that everyone's making use of it when they chuck out their old phone books. But that doesn't change the fact that a ton of paper's being wasted and countless trees are being mowed down to print these directories in the first place. I seriously don't remember the last time I cracked open a phone book... I just Google-search any place I want to eat or visit or whatnot, and up pops its address, phone number and (most likely) web site URL.

Do you still use and phone book, and if so, why, for the love of God, WHY?!?

Everyone's talking about the death of newspapers and the decline of printed media, yet there's no end in sight for these freakin' twenty-pound monsters. Why are they still being printed in such quantity and with such frequency?

Unlike junk mail or telemarketing calls, I don't know of any way to "unsubscribe" from getting the phone book. So I guess for now I'll continue to build a bit of arm muscle every time I take one from my doorstep to the recycling bin in the back.

15 comments:

Denise Schimmoeller said...

Amen. Also my huge pet peeve... Yet my hubby insists on keeping it until the new one shows up, and then we recycle. God knows why because he never uses it either. I think he's a sentimentalist.

collyer said...

Money.
I think there are still a few people who actually use them, but the numbers have to be dwindling like red shirts on Lost. As older generations adopt the internet, phone book use will gradually become obsolete for all. The companies that market/sell/create these behemoths will not concede their obsolescence, because if they do, many people will be out of jobs, some very high-paying jobs. The "phone book" industry is an inevitable dinosaur in the "virtual media" of this information age. Music (vinyl/cassette/CDs) and movies (film/VHS/DVD) current hard-copy media is on the same path. As soon as I can "email" you a 3-dimensional object, like a Dharma chef's hat, Fedex/UPS/USPS will suffer the same fate.

Amanda said...

I hated when I would come home to those monsters when I lived in D.C. They just kept showing up!! I have to say, though, that's another one of those advantages of living in my new po dunk town of Del Rio. The yellow pages is only 1/2 inch thick (not an exaggeration). And half of it is in Spanish . . .

KLD said...

There is a group that handles 'opt-outs' for phone books. I haven't tried this yet, so I'm not sure it works or how legitimate it is, but it may be worth looking into:

http://www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org/stop-yellow-pages/

Sammy Jean said...

I too live in Chicago, and just got a large shipment....
Here's how I recycled them. The leg of my bed had just napped in half (yes, it's a crap-tacular bed), and I remembered seeing a pile of phone books in my lobby.

I put the phone books to good use, and they are still holding up a corner of my bed!!

Jenni said...

Seriously! Companies have started calling to make sure our phonebooks have been delivered, and we always try to get them to stop sending them to us when they call. Will it actually work? I don't know, we still get a ton of them. Oh well, at least we recycle.

Melanie said...

How can you opt out when they drop them off at every single apartment doorway? or just leave a giant pile by the mailboxes? We seem to get at least 3-4 every year in Nashville. though not quite so thick as your's E!

Lani said...

The only thing I've used them for lately has pressing leaves for art projects (for the kids)!

Shelley said...

It is interesting. My 64-year-old boss still uses them. It doesn't occur to her to look things up on her laptop that's about 4 feet from the phone. She's very "current" in many regards and uses the internet for a lot of things. She also RUNS for the phone whenever it rings (I work in her home) instead of letting voicemail pick it up and enabling her to return the call at a more convenient hour. There is still a generation gap when it comes to information-finding.

BigBen said...

I have a comment, an observation and a prediction, all for one low price.

Comment: Haven't used a phone book in years, we too used to get at least two different sets at home and one more at the office. Now we don't get any. The office has reduced the number of books brought in each year based on the number of people who take them. The last ones I had were under my monitor to raise it to a better level. We moved out of the city a few years ago and apparently country folk don't need phone books, because we never get any delivered.

Observation: yeah, its been a while since your last post.....

Prediction: you will start working on your backlog of posts to this blog around May 20th or so.....

Anonymous said...

E, I heard about someone applying to this company, and thought of you: http://www.yext.com/

Aunt Sue said...

Hey!!!!----I still use the phone book. Of course, I'll be 50 this year, so maybe I'm old and that's why......But, I actually CAN find what I want faster than getting on my laptop. You just need to know how to "let your fingers do the walking through the yellow pages." Okay, do any of you "youngins" out there remember that jingle from yesteryear?? Bet not many........ :) It is from the 60's or 70's I believe.

Zach Dionne said...

Aunt Sue, you are priceless. Keep on flippin' through the phonebook and enjoy.

I appreciate the quizzical comparison to newspapers, E. I'm assuming phonebooks pay part of their annoying way through ad revenue, and how do they make ANY money from it?! Do businesses realize how infrequently people actually open the yellow pages instead of Googling something? Gah.

Fortunately I only received two to three of the suckers in my year in an apartment in Orono. All recycled -- after sitting in my doorway for most of the year, untouched from the plastic bags in whence they came.

Anonymous said...

i agree - how come they give them to you even if you don't have a phone service? doesn't make any sense

thecaregiverblog said...

I enjoyed reading your blog and also the comments. Just yesterday I had the phonebook sales rep in my office trying to tell me why my company needed to continue to spend enormous amounts of money on advertising in their book despite little return on investment. When I argued with him that no one uses the book anymore he tried to defend it with gallop polls. HA Ha! Sorry not believing it. I am 55 and use the internet for everything. I believe in business we need to do more social marketing not buy an ad that sits in a book for a year. Now I just need to figure out how to recycle all those phone books in my office that I never use.