May 26, 2006

Phone books

Raise your hand if you keep a phone book in your car. They can be handy when you need to use the yellow pages away from home.

Phone books are becoming less and less useful since people are doing away with landlines and are less likely to be listed. Even businesses might not be listed in the white pages when they depend on cell phones or VoIP (and I see them as less legitimate, too).

I have recently learned about the old-fashioned city directory. I first heard of such a thing when reading about people in Athes in the 1930s. Then I actually got to see one from Toccoa for the year 1971, which I was told might have been its last year. It was like a phone book with business advertisements and a section for individual people, and the individual listings included the person's occupation along with his phone number and address. My father-in-law said that stores might extend credit based on whether a customer was listed, so that is what they did before instant electronic credit scores.

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