I had a bit of an epiphany over the weekend. Luckily I managed to clean up afterwards. Actually, it was whilst I was cleaning up that I had the thought.
As I removed the plastic wrapper from the latest set of phone books, dutifully placed it in the bin and then took the books themselves and put them straight into the recycling I realised that I haven't used a phone book in nearly ten years.
I don't need phone books any more. I have White Pages, and Yellow Pages. In this country both of these web sites are provided by Sensis, who also publish the paper books that land on my doorstep only to be put straight in the bin. But then I realised that I don't use those sites either.
If I want the number for a business I Google them and look for a number on their web site. Because these days everybody has a web site, right? If they don't have a web site they generally don't get my business. Which is harsh, but who wants to open up a big book and find a business, or even worse figure out what category to look up and find an advert for an appropriate business on one of several pages in a directory.
For people my approach is just as simple. If I want to call someone I generally have their mobile number. Failing that I'll have their email address and I'll send them an email asking for their number.
Thinking about it I rarely ring more than a handful of people on their home or other fixed line phones. There are people that I've known for years who's home telephone numbers are a complete mystery to me.
It would seem that I am not alone in this either. There was a big story in the Fairfax press only a day after I had chucked my phone books away - Millions set to disconnect their fixed-line phones - and even the Telegraph in the UK had this issue as number 8 in their list of 50 things that are being killed by the internet.
As I think about this I struggle to think of any reason why I would need a printed phone directory ever again. Is there a way to tell Sensis not to send me them any more?