Weighted Obsolescence: Phone book season

Few things annoy me quite like having phone books delivered to my house. There was a time when the phone book was pretty important –a time when taking a decent sized ad out in the yellow pages was the difference between a successful small business and a fire-sale. But between the internet and 411, phone books are obsolete now.

There are still a small number of people, mostly older ones, that consider this whole internet thing to be a fad. They would still prefer a printed phone book… old habits. But for most people the phone book is just a huge waste of paper. And they must be terribly expensive. Someone has to spend large amounts of time composing the contents, doing the layouts, and overseeing a massive printing and distributing operation. The books have to be printed, and that’s a LOT of printing. Then they have to be physically delivered, which must represent a truly staggering cost since each one is bulky, heavy, and has to be shipped individually to a different location. Massive costs, and massive waste. Wouldn’t it be better to just charge a nominal fee to people that WANT a printed phone book, and just not bother the rest of us?

Despite the irrelevance of phone books though, there is an active war in the business between several different companies. Each of them has, for reasons that still elude me, decided that the phone company isn’t qualified to maintain and distribute the directory of phone numbers. Instead, these motards decided that they could do a better job and that it is their moral imperative to bring competition to the phone book market!

So every year, I get two or three huge bricks of useless paper delivered to my door. Well, more precisely, delivered to some random part of my yard that I probably won’t go into for at least four or five months after the phone book has been delivered to it… not actually delivered to the door you know. For reasons even more screwed up than the basic business plan, all of these companies decided that they had to deliver their brand of awesomeness at the same time of year.

So last week I got three massive, but irrelevant phone books littering my yard. Of course, by the time I noticed two of them, they had been sitting there collecting water and bugs for a few days making them even more massive. The water and bugs don’t make the book any more useless though, that would be an impossibility given their very nature.

Its bad enough that I have to dispose of these relics of hate, but what REALLY chaps my ass is this… I don’t have a phone line. In fact, there is not and NEVER has been a phone line at my address. So WHY do I get three damned phone directories that I wouldn’t need even if I did have a phone?

You guys seriously need to talk to Maxxum. At least they put half-naked girls on the cover of the unsolicited, irrelevant crap they drop off at my house.

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