I Scoop The New York Times (Phone Book Insanity 3)

10 May

May 10, 2010

Everyone, stop and take a deep breath. Smell it? Unless you are in Cleveland or Detroit, that is the smell of righteousness and vindication. (If you are in Cleveland or Detroit, well, no one is sure what that smell is, but you better stop breathing so deeply because it may be toxic.)

So why am I feeling so smug? Well, it seems that I am quickly becoming the voice of my generation, at least and insofar as it relates to the phone book.

Let me be the first to direct you to this article, which appeared in an honest to god real newspaper, the New York Times.

White Pages May Go Way of Rotary-Dialed Phone

The article says, in part:

The residential White Pages, those inches-thick tomes of fine-print telephone listings that may be most useful as doorstops, could stop landing with a thud on doorsteps across New York later this year.

Verizon, the dominant local phone company in the state, asked regulators on Friday to allow it to end the annual delivery of millions of White Pages to all of its customers in New York. The company estimates that it would save nearly 5,000 tons of paper by ending the automatic distribution of the books.

Only about one of every nine households uses the hard-copy listings anymore, according to Verizon, which cited a 2008 Gallup survey. Most have switched to looking up numbers online or calling directory assistance. The phone book for many people, it seems, has gone from indispensable tool to unavoidable nuisance.

“Phone books have been a very visceral issue,” said Scott Cassel, executive director of the Product Stewardship Institute, an environmental group in Boston. “They do tend to pile up, particularly in apartments. More and more, people are finding that they don’t need them, but they can’t find a way to make them stop.”

When residential directories were delivered this year to the Ivy Tower, an apartment building on West 43rd Street in Manhattan, Ramon Almanzar, a concierge, kept 28 copies in case residents wanted them. Not a single occupant of the 320-unit building claimed one, Mr. Almanzar said.

“We end up throwing them away,” he said, as he greeted residents and opened a glass door. “Everyone goes online anyways.”

Allow me to quote myself, from Stop The Phone Book Insanity!

And why pick up the phone book anyway? If I want a number, and the phone is in my hand, I call 411 and the operator (HA! HA! There are no more operators, they are all computers!) connects me. Or I can find a number online. Or better yet I find the website online, or just use Twitter which doesn’t require a phone at all.

This is why, one week after they were dumped in my lobby, 99% of them were dumped outside with the trash.

I wrote two blogs about the phone books which piled up in my lobby, and everyone agreed with me except for, who else, someone in the phone book industry. 

Sorry pal, the phone industry sides with me.

No less an authority than the New York Times has shown Mr. Blog to be at the top of the trends, finger on the pulse of America. Of course, they aren’t pointing out that I scooped them, but seeing the state of the newspaper industry I’ll let it pass. I feel sorry for them.

If only they had cited me.

2 Responses to “I Scoop The New York Times (Phone Book Insanity 3)”

  1. skinner May 10, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    I was living in a high rise about a decade ago and even then most of the books were just left hanging around doing nothing. After a few months we started taking them for utilitarian purposes – fixing our sagging couch, door stops, etc.


  2. sheagsobers April 29, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    I loved your site – thank you!


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