Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A public service announcement, because I'm greener than thou. Also I care about the earth. You are very welcome, Ma Nature.

If you ever had the considerable honor to talk to me in person for longer than 38 minutes, I have no doubt mentioned to you the utter disdain I have for printed phone books. If you've never had that distinct pleasure, then you may have read about it here.

Even before Al Gore invented the Internet and put all the phone numbers you could ever want on the worldwide web (thanks Al!),  phone books bugged the living crap outta me. It's probably because I grew up in a community where seven towns fit in one tidy 1/2 inch book, yellow and white pages, and there was no need to print a new one every year because no one moved in or out. If someone died, you simply got out a Magic Marker and drew a line through their name. And it was a Magic Marker, because no one used Sharpies yet. Because Sharpies can't make you high. It was all we had, because cable TV hadn't been invented yet either.

When I moved away from the idyllic land of little phone books, I was amazed and dismayed by the stack of slippery yellow and white tomes that graced my steps. At first, I put them on the shelf, carefully folding the pages over for Pizza Delivery, Video Rentals, Drive-Up Liquors, Tanning Salons and University Note Taking Services. But a few months later, more books arrived. Wanting to be a responsible adult, I scribbled the numbers I used often on the cover and stuck the old phone books under the bed in case I needed to reference them. By the time a couple of semesters were over, I had enough phone books to prop up the entire Lollipop Guild at Thanksgiving Dinner.

Every apartment I rented, phone books appeared on the steps and more were hidden under the kitchen sink. I had an address book I wrote down the good stuff in, and threw the big books in the dumpster, effectively ridding half of the Oregon coast of old growth timber in the process. Later, I joined the ranks of the real world in advertising sales and learned that they have to print 80 billion phone books just to sell the ads, and they don't really care if you open them or not, just as long as some guy in a Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon sends his 8 kids out on every city block to deliver them, then they've done their part to get your ad in the hands of the people.

Still. Don't. Care.

Every 4 months, I get a plastic bag of unusable paper on my front porch and it just plain pisses me off. But the pain ends today. Because today, I found this:

And I clicked on some stuff and gave them our address and opted out of getting phone books. Forever.

It's because I'm all green and eco-awesome and I'm wearing vegan fair-trade shoes and weaving a baby wearing device out of hemp right now as I type on my solar-powered laptop made from recycled goat hair, grass clippings and soy.

Meh, not really. I'm just easily annoyed.


  1. I can't stand phone books! And it seems like I get at least four different kinds a year. The Yellow pages. The city pages. The gay pages. The local pages. I don't need that many pages!!!

    I'm clicking now.

  2. Excellent reference! Thanks for sharing :]

  3. Okay, this post cracked me up and I can relate because I also loathe phone books. And dude, you had drive through liquor stores? JEALOUS!!!!

  4. Tracey...I STILL HAVE a drive-through liquor store, darling. There aren't that many left, we narrowed down neighborhoods by drive-through liquor first, schools second. You must visit.

  5. so you mean the money I spent on advertising in these is useles...huh?

  6. *sigh* still sick with The Sickness and now I'm also angry about the seventeen pound phone book in my desk drawer that weighs more than my smaller son.

    And why are there two competing phone books? Yellow Pages? SWB? What the????

    I'm totally way greener than anyone I'd care to have a drink with so I'm going to sign up for this. Thanks.

  7. Arg, I wish that site worked for us Canadians. Luckily I live in an idyllic land of little phone books, and as far as I know we only get knew ones once a year. But it still sits on top of my fridge collecting dust for a year while I use the internet for my phone number needs, and then moves on to the recycling depot once the new ones arrive.

    And I have to say that I too am uber-jealous of your access to drive-thru liquor shopping. We don't even have drive-thru banking in my land of little phone books.

  8. Heather linked me to you! This? Is awesome! Thanks!

  9. Can we use the phone books to smother the people that make the phone books? Just asking.

  10. Ooh! I'm doing that right now!

  11. Found this on a Google search. In answer to Cupcake's query as to whether or not she (?) could use the book to smother the people that make them, I'd like to offer some info.

    Nothing you could do with your unwanted phone book, Cupcake, would be painful enough, horrible enough or sadistic enough to compete with sort of pain the management at the phone book factory inflicts on the 'people that make the phone book' in the course of a normal working day. Working there is punishment enough for whatever sins I committed in a former life (or lives, I've spent nearly 17 years creating advertising for them with the company's boot on my neck so I might have a few lifetimes of being evil to make up for). It is miserable, unhappy work made worse by poor management, stupid process management, craptastic and ill-trained first line supervisors that just love their little power trips and having control over people with no other job prospects, out of date software, computer systems and hardware that have seen much better days, a complete lack of resources such as relevant clip art and sky-high production quotas. The quotas are bad enough that many of us, if we get a string of hard-to put together ads, will have to work through federally mandated lunches and breaks. Those who can are trying to get out, but the current job market here makes that difficult. I, however, have found a better position and will be thankfully leaving.

    I have no problem with any attempts to bring this crappy company and others like it.



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