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Will you miss the Yellow Pages?

Yellow Pages

Come January 2019, the Yellow Pages will cease printing, after more than five decades as a household stalwart. Will you even notice its departure?

There was a time when you could walk into any home and find the Yellow Pages neatly stacked with the phone directory next to the landline telephone.

In an age when smartphones and the internet didn’t exist, it used to be the go-to source for finding local businesses and tradespeople.

Yellow Pages

So treasured was it, that I’m pretty sure it would be chained to shelves in public telephone boxes so no one could steal it. And when the shiny new yellow tome landed on your doorstep each year, it was met with a degree of excitement (well, it was on the cul-de-sac where I grew up!).

As it took pride of place next to said landline, last year’s edition would be either used as a doorstop-cum-step for accessing those hard-to-reach top shelves in the kitchen, or consigned to the cupboard under the stairs. Here it would remain until it could be donated to the school fete, where the fifth form boys would display their strength by ripping it up for 50p a go.

Best of all were the Yellow Pages TV adverts featuring old men looking for out-of-print books or partied-out teens searching for French polishers. You knew from the first frame exactly what was being promoted.

Changing world

These days the somewhat condensed directory fits through my letter box. And nine times out of ten, it gets put straight in the recycling bin.

With a smartphone, tablet and laptop at my fingertips, if I need the phone number of a local business or need to get hold of a tradesperson, I’ll turn to the internet.

Without even thinking about it, I’ve helped hammer in the final nail in the Yellow Pages’ coffin.

Do you still use the Yellow Pages?

No (60%, 948 Votes)

Sometimes (34%, 532 Votes)

Yes - regularly (5%, 84 Votes)

What's the Yellow Pages? (0%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,571

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In just 16 months’ time, the last editions will be run off the printing press, after its owner, Yell, took the decision to fully digitise the business. Ending a run of 53 years, the last of the 104 final editions will be sent to addresses in Brighton, where Yellow Pages was first published in 1966.

Yell will be printing 23 million copies of the final editions. And as they’re likely to become collectors’ items, if one lands on my doorstep, I’ll probably keep it.

Do you still use the Yellow Pages? Will you miss it?

Comments
Member

I hesitate to think how many trees were consumed in producing the old yellow pages, general telephone directories,Next catalogue, RS Components (boxed sets)………. I do miss Axminster Tools catalogue though that I could flick through and choose the right tool or fitment – much nicer than trawling through an online search.

Our diminutive Yellow Pages – a shadow of its former self – has just alighted under the letterbox. Unlikely to be used. But the question is often raised about those who do not have internet access – what will they now do? This “underclass” is often cited to criticise on-line offers that make life cheaper and easier for the privileged.

Who misses out?
90% of households have internet access. Of the remaining 10%, 2% have internet access elsewhere, 6.4% feel they don’t need it, 2% feel they lack the necessary skills.
Internet access varies depending on household composition. While nearly all households with children had an internet connection in 2017 (98%), access to the internet by single-adult households varied, depending on the age of the responder. For households with one adult aged 65 and over, 61% had internet access. In contrast, 88% of households with only one adult aged 16 to 64 years had internet access. The vast majority of households with internet access had fixed broadband (93%). Mobile broadband via mobile phone networks was used by 26% of households as an internet connection.”

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/householdcharacteristics/homeinternetandsocialmediausage/bulletins/internetaccesshouseholdsandindividuals/2017

So it seems the lowest (relatively speaking) take up is among the single over 65s – around 1.4 million without access at home. Many of these will be people with all their faculties but, maybe, not having been educated with computing at school or in work, have not got to grips with it. In the olden days you could go to “night school” to pick up useful skills; sadly this seems to have declined and become expensive. Perhaps it needs resurrecting? The internet is here to stay.

Member

It is years since I last used Yellow Pages or the phone directory. They are put in a drawer to replace the previous versions. At one time we were forbidden from putting Yellow Pages in the recycling bin, but this is allowed nowadays.

Local businesses advertise in the village magazine, a free newspaper and various other local magazines that drop through the letterbox. These are occasionally useful but almost all the information I need is online.

I hope someone will keep some examples of Yellow Pages to look at in years to come. My mother kept a copy of the phone book from when we lived in a small village in Scotland. Our number was 163, and it was before nuisance calls were invented.

Member

I certainly missed this Latest Conversation as I still cant access it . But no I will not miss the Yellow Pages , at one time it was useful but not now in the digital age , in any case small communities where I live have their own free booklets posted through the door offering all sorts of services . Many people are more liable to employ local workers as they know who they are personally and can easily judge if they are good or not . Not so big business where tale after tale of disasters appear on Which. Word of mouth has a bigger positive advertising effect than the £100,000,s pumped in by large organisations to the advertising media.

Member

Not used one since the late 80s. So soon as one arrives on the doorstep it goes into the recycling bin.

Member

I keep each new edition of Yellow Pages because you never know when you might need to find a very local firm. My other main route is to make a note of the name and number from the side of the van. A lot of small businesses do not have an internet presence.

The J. R. Hartley advert took me back – but why was that awfully intrusive ‘background’ music added to it.

Without Yellow Pages, where are we going to find such informative items as “Boring – see Engineers”?

Member

As content has increased so has ease of finding a particular search decreased. Those who have no internet access at home can use the local libraries.

Member

That is assuming your local library hasn’t been shut down.

Member
Regan Toomer says:
9 September 2017

Something else to worry about when the next giant solar flare knocks out the world’s computers.

Member

And military communications Regan , they kept quiet about that.