23 - 2008

Pulling a fast one on phone books

I don’t know about you, but I use phone books.

Well, sometimes.

In fact, I used three this weekend. One to stand on while I did calf raises when I was too lazy to go to the gym, yet wanted to work out — the big fat book is good for that. And I used two of the skinnier ones to boost the lid of a chest we were re-doing while I screwed hinges into the main body of the chest.

To look up phone numbers? Not so much. In fact … no, I can’t remember the last time I looked up a number in a telephone book.

Yet the phone company insists on delivering phone books to my home. Not just one company; at least three companies. Not just one phone book, but two or three at a time. And now they slap a bunch of magnetized plastic advertisements on the front and inside, to make it even harder to recycle the books.

So last week, when Schnauzer Cheap started going crazy, I looked out the window and spotted the phone book delivery guy, parked right in front of our house. He put the books in plastic bags and then carried a few bags at a time to houses on the block. When I looked out, he had just dumped our bag at the door. By the time I unlocked the door, he was leaving our neighbor’s and heading on down the block.

I slipped outside, picked up the bag, and headed down the sidewalk, with the plausible excuse of bringing in the emptied recycling bin. I detoured to his car, dropped my bag back into the open hatch of his car, scurried over to the recycling bin and sauntered back up to my property.

One small victory for using fewer resources.

I peeked out to see if he noticed anything when he got back to his car, but he just shut the hatch lid with no visible change in affect, and then he drove away.

I know it’s not a permanent solution, but it was kind of fun.

p.s. If you are really a good citizen and you don’t need phone books, call the phone company to opt out. You’ll help prevent unneeded books from even being printed — and maybe save some gas in the delivery vehicle, too — if your opt-out succeeds, although this story from a year ago indicates you might not get lucky.

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