Like a friend dropping in?

Hoping the final edition of Yellow Pages hasn’t just been delivered.

Yellow Pages 2015
Yellow Pages 2015

It was never their slogan of course, it was the Manchester Evening News, but Yellow Pages arriving every year did used to feel like a friend dropping in. Welcome news about which plumbers were operating around here, who we could ring to unblock the drains and oh, which local struggling emporium still considered itself to be a ‘Department Store’.  In their way, little living social documents about life and the living of it around wherever you lived or worked.

Except of course they weren’t little at all and they certainly didn’t ‘drop in’.

A two volume example here from New Zealand.
A two volume example here from New Zealand.

Well today’s dropped in.

And it is.
And it is.

But as you can see it’s very thin compared to how they used to be.

Nicely and simply designed though, and they are moving with the times.

ff
Links where people have them.
And even an app.
And even an app.

And as the recent and wonderful Ikea ad would have it, it’s a Book Book!

With all that entails.
With all that entails.

Easy to navigate, requires only a basic understanding of the alphabet, fold back the pages you want to return to, no irritating pop up ads – and works even if the ‘Electricity Suppliers’ have cut off your electricity.

So, all good. Except I don’t want it. Not for me here, because I’ll never use it and haven’t used any of them that have been delivered this century. Indeed I’m sure most people put them straight in the recycling, thus thoughtlessly adding to the mountain of the things clogging up our recycling channels.

They're produced for no doubt hundreds of small areas of even our small countries.
They’re produced for many many small areas of even our small countries.
And they do carry information about recycling.
And they do carry information about recycling.

But what I’ve never noticed until now, and even now only because I’m writing a blog post about them, is I can stop it coming each year. Here it is, clear as day on page one:

“Want to stop receiving the directory?
Call 0800 671 444”

So, in the spirit of live blogging and public service, I have just rung them. It took about two minutes. They were perfectly friendly and efficient and asked me why? I told them I support its continued existence but want to save them the expense of printing and delivering one to us.

Listening in to the exchange Sarah tells me ‘Oh our’s haven’t been clogging up the recycling. I rip them up to start fires on the allotment!’ Oh well, this one’s the last one she’ll be able to use for that.

Now you won’t need to search very hard to find recent news that the producers of Yellow Pages are experiencing financial difficulties. It’s clearly a product that’s had its day for many of us.

But it's got an honourable history.
But it’s got an honourable history.

And as a practical Book Book, packed full of useful stuff, I think it’s got an honourable future too for many people.

So today’s public service announcement is:

“Cancel your Yellow Pages if you never use it. Save the expense of recycling and the expense of production. And help to keep Yellow Pages going for everyone who actually needs it.

Just call 0800 671 444 to cancel your copy”

There, that feels better. And now a bit of Book Book to finish. It’s an advert for somewhere I never go, but it is funny.

 

5 Replies to “Like a friend dropping in?”

  1. Very interesting, Ronnie. The same thing is happening here with Pages Jaunes. Their business is dwindling and their desperation mounts year on year as they try to hard-sell us advertising we don’t want and can frankly, do better ourselves using all those free means now at our disposal. Yes, they are useful to a point but our experience is that they are rude, pushy and very expensive. Once they have your money they couldn’t give a toss. As for IKEA, got to hand it to them, that advertising angle really works. And I have always loved their catalogues. A design triumph.

    1. Ha! I’d forgotten the pressure to actually be in it! They did try once but didn’t have categories for what we did. ‘Community led design? So would you call yourselves Interior Decorators?’ They never came back!

  2. The Thomsons Local is going the same way, but has shrunk to be modern. I’ll look to see if I can stop that arriving each year too. I agree with Sarah that Yellow Pages makes good fire starting material.

  3. The same shrinking of size and dwindling use is occurring in the States, reminiscent of video stores. Even the coupons in the issues they deliver are not worth the pages they’re printed on. My 30-year-old son asked recently for my Yellow Pages to find the local police number to report a stolen bike. I told him I can look it up on my smartphone in fewer minutes than he can find it in the printed pages. But he is old-fashioned and doesn’t want it to end. That’s why the calling to cancel delivery is a good way to go, so that those who need it can get it still. I wonder if your 800 number will work here. If not, I’ll find another way to cancel. I have no fires to ignite here, so good riddance to this unnecessary addition to recycling.

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