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Friday, August 31, 2007

Dept. of Unwantedness

posted by on August 31 at 16:22 PM


To all the commenters on yesterday’s post about not wanting phone books and getting them anyway: you’re so right. It’s bullshit. The terrorists—the Yellow Pages people—are winning. Look at this monument to the old way of doing things in the lobby of my apartment building, as of a couple hours ago. Someone should case these things in adobe and make houses out of them for all the homeless left in a lurch in this summer rain. Homeless people, of course, don’t have the internet.

The first commenter on that crazy post yesterday starring the phone book executive said: “My main complaint with the drop off of the phone books…why don’t they ask if I actually WANT one?… They’d save a lot of money (not to mention the environmental impact) if they would ask if you wanted the damn things first.”

The 26th commenter said: “Get the public intern on this! There’s probably two dozen phone books in my apartment lobby that have been sitting there for 3+ weeks. Can he dump them at the Verizon/Dex/MaBell door for me?

The 29th commenter said: “Can we all just deliver our extra phone books to the Stranger offices and then the Public Intern can deliver them all together to the Qwest building next to Pacific Place on Pine? I belive Dex is on the 16th floor.”

By the 49th commenter it was practically a protest chant: “Public! Intern! Public! Intern!”

I am happy to report that our public intern has taken up the call and will soon be reporting here on Slog the procedure for dropping off your phone books so he can deliver them back to the doorsteps of the phone companies. Praise Jesus!

RSS icon Comments


Public Intern! Public! Intern! Public Intern! (I'm late)

Posted by Jude Fawley | August 31, 2007 4:34 PM

Praise Public Intern!!

Posted by Dee in SF | August 31, 2007 4:36 PM

Damn! I just put about 40 of those fuckers in the recycling bin of my apartment building a few weeks ago. I would LOVE to have sent them back. Please make this an annual or semi-annual or however often those things come out - event.

Posted by marty | August 31, 2007 4:52 PM

d00d those phone books have been piled up there by the laundry room for years.

Posted by capitol building | August 31, 2007 5:04 PM

Any bets that the phone company won't accept them? Better to find out who they subcontract out the distributing to, and drop them off there!

Posted by COMTE | August 31, 2007 5:06 PM

Whatever you do, don't toss them onto I-5.

I think the front steps of King County and City Council buildings would be far more appropriate.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 31, 2007 5:12 PM

I'm using a stack of 4 phone books strategically placed under my aging bed frame to provide extra lumbar support. Repurpose!

Posted by matthew e | August 31, 2007 5:21 PM

Why do landlords accept these books. Do the phone companies have some special law on their side that makes them drop off phone books everywhere? They were necessary years ago, but no more.

Someone should start a business of picking up unwanted phone books. They'd make a mint.

Posted by why | August 31, 2007 5:21 PM

Public Intern! Public Intern!

Posted by rob | August 31, 2007 5:24 PM

most of the stranger's new ideas are stupid, but this public intern thing is gold.

Posted by 1time | August 31, 2007 5:25 PM

I can't wait for instructions on where to drop them...they have been sitting in my condo lobby for weeks untouched. Not to mention all the untouched ones at my office!

Posted by curiousadam | August 31, 2007 5:39 PM

Please note that Dex is no longer owned by Qwest. Who owns them now? Why Dex Media, which is in turn partially owned by the Carlyle Group. One of Dex Media's agents can be found at:

Dex Media, Inc.
198 Inverness Drive West
Englewood, Colorado 80112
Telephone: 303-784-2900
Facsimile: 303-784-1915

They may also have a local sales office.

Posted by An Interested Party | August 31, 2007 5:45 PM

Stacks of unwanted, free paper left around all over the city when the same content could be found online.....Hmm, doesn't that sound familiar to....THE STRANGER all over town??

And by the way, can't your delivery crews just deliver by bus?

Posted by Hypocrisy alert! Call the Editor ASAP | August 31, 2007 6:02 PM

Gosh, as the initiator of this public intern assignment I sure hope everything goes right for the him when he dumps those books at someone's door.
I'm going to feel responsible for any consequences...

Posted by HEY! | August 31, 2007 6:02 PM

@13: Nobody walks into my workplace and says "hey, do you have any phonebooks?", but they do ask for the Stranger. Plus, I have yet to see a phonebook distribution guy pick up the last issue of the phone book for recycling (or wherever your distro guys take them) when he drops off the current issue.

Posted by Jessica | August 31, 2007 6:18 PM

SWEET ASS! I expect beautiful pictures of a huge mountain of phone books right on the phone company's door. That will learn em. What a great idea.

Posted by JessB | August 31, 2007 6:34 PM

I'm in. When and where?

Posted by Gabe Global | August 31, 2007 9:16 PM

1. Don't forget: The Yellow Pages have two very thin magnets on each and every book. You can save these and paint/draw/screen print or whatever on them. Instant fun!

2. Inspired by Jonah's earlier post, I took my dad to Daly's Drive-In. After we ate, we just so happened to need the Yellow Pages. The guy at Daly's handed me one.They were using it to prop up the cashiers microphone.

Posted by Crafty Cat | August 31, 2007 9:17 PM

They wouldnít save money if they didnít give them to people who donít want them. Fact is, they make money on advertising. If they didnít spam everyone with these things, nobody would advertise with them, because the number of people willing to look at those ads would be minuscule.

Another case of it being more profitable to pretend a problem doesnít exist to maintain an existing, broken business model.

Posted by stan | August 31, 2007 10:01 PM

Wow. Just a couple of weeks ago, and ad salesperson for the Yellow Pages came into my business and argued with my business partner about why we should advertise in the Yellow Pages. She was shown our stack of NEVER EVEN OPENED phone books, and seemed shocked beyond all belief when we informed her that the internet is a much better way to go.

Posted by violet | September 1, 2007 10:11 AM

I still use the phone book sometimes. It has lots of useful information. AND I'm an internet junkie. I don't know what that says about me or the phone books, but I thought I'd stick up for the phone book. Like, what if you need someone's phone number and the power is out? Your phone book would come in handy then! :)

Posted by Kristin Bell | September 1, 2007 10:43 AM

You know when you sell ads for the stranger, you make more money if you have more newspapers in circulation?

It's got to be something similar with the yellow pages. The more that exist, whether or not they get used, the more money the yellow page terrorists make on ad revenue.

Posted by Luke | September 1, 2007 2:07 PM

all this semi hysteria is just plain silly


some of you people need to get a life

if this is the content of your worries, need to go help in a soup kitchen

Posted by Essex | September 1, 2007 3:08 PM


A) The Stranger is not delivered, unwanted, to every fucking household, apartment building, and office in the state. Its entirely optional.

B) The Stranger is not approximately 4000 pages, nor does it weigh as much as a car battery. Or roughly the size and weight of the Oxford Unabridged Dictionary.

C) Lots of us read the Stranger online. No tree killing necessary.

Posted by SDA in SEA | September 1, 2007 5:05 PM

I routinely get three copies at my house: one for each door. It makes me insane. Since they are unsolicted by me I mark them "return to sender" and mail them....

Posted by Natalya | September 2, 2007 12:05 AM

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