The New Phone Book’s Here!

In Steve Martin’s 1979 movie, “The Jerk,” one scene shows protagonist Navin (Martin) gleefully proclaiming “The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here!”

For some reason, I recall that line each year when the phone book is delivered.  Back in the day when I ran Yellow Page ads, I would, with an equal amount of excitement, quickly turn to see my ads.

Later, my focus became checking the listing for my residence in the white pages.  But it wasn’t the same.  Even that practice has waned in recent years.  Now, half the phone books I receive are immediately discarded without their contents even being considered.

This year, however, that urge to review my listing re-emerged.  To my surprise, this year’s installment contains no residential section, just a business listing section and the yellow pages.  On the cover, there’s an unobtrusive instruction to go to their Web site for residential listings.

That seems strange.  They need people to use their book to give value to the advertisements that appear in it, yet they give people one more reason to not use it.  True, the residential white pages generate very little revenue and are an expense, so for the short-term, it seems like a no-brainer to eliminate them.  But for the long term, they are doing themselves harm.

By the way, their book ended up in the trash.

What do you think? Please leave a comment!