The Fine Print

Alert — and squinty-eyed — “06880” reader Dick Lowenstein recently received the new AT&T “white pages” phone book.  He writes:

Last year it covered Westport (including Weston) and Fairfield.  This year, it adds Norwalk and Wilton in a book about the same number of pages.

How do they do it? Well, for one thing, the type size is 1-2 points smaller.

One reason is fewer subscribers, as more people drop their land lines.  But the small type size? It’s hell on the I must use a magnifier.

Of course, I can also use the internet.  The trouble is that more of the so-called free sites are charging for phone numbers.  Even the Westport Library reference department isn’t certain what sites are still really free.

Is using a phone book old-fashioned?  What do your readers think?

Feel free to weigh in on this issue — though you’ll probably take this discussion in some other AT&T, free market economy, or what’s-wrong-with- education-today direction.

Click “Comments” to contribute to the discussion.

20 responses to “The Fine Print

  1. Dennis Jackson

    We use e-mail and internet searches for phone numbers, and VoIP with cable. Still, upon our return from vacation, a waterlogged copy of this was sitting under the mailbox awaiting the garbage bin.

  2. I would like to take this in the direction of the importance of using land lines
    I period. I have recommended that the Westport Library purchase the book {*; Amer. Academy of Environmental Medicine; Public Health SOS; The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution} on the pervasive dangers and harmful physical effects of cell phones to the head and EMR frequencies from Wi Fi and cell towers. The ignorance and dismissal around this issue is scariest of all. I have personally witnessed the alarming buzzing of the frequency measuring device which signals the destruction of DNA in the cell after two minutes of exposure.
    If anyone is interested to check out a google search on this or purchase or read this or other books on this topic I would feel somewhat better about having some small part in being part of the solution vs. the silence which is the pivotal part of the worst problems.

  3. Dennis Jackson

    Charged with public safety, the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology has long since set conservative standards for EMR exposure based on extensive testing and research.

    The alarming buzzing of an instrument may frighten some, but the destruction of human DNA is an unrelated phenomenon. Scientists are in agreement that there is no “pervasive danger” nor “harmful physical effects” due to wifi and cell towers.

    Few modern conveniences are entirely free of risks. However, Irrational fear adds to stress, and stress is a health risk. What’s worse, there is money in spreading it. Life is a Rorschach test, one can find support for anything one is inclined to believe. As an electrical engineer, I believe the risk of stress and fear is a far greater risk to you health than your wifi or cellphone.

  4. To the question “Is using a cell phone old-fashioned? I am leaning toward ‘yes’. I have not used one in a few years because finding a number through the itnernet has never failed, is simpler and apparently easier on the eyes.
    My big complaint about the phone books, including the “yellow pages” or their knock-offs…….why do we keep having them left at our doors even if we do not want them and we live in an era when most of the numbers we call are not in a book? I happen to live on a road which has a dead end street (that would be a cul de sac to the real estate crowd) that starts at our house. We have 5 mailboxes, including our own by our front gate. What seems like at least twice a year ‘phone books’ of some sort are left under the mail boxes. What seems like at least twice a year, I end up taking 3 or 4 books that have not been picked up by my neighors after a week or so and bring them to the dump. It seems wasteful and obviously not in the spirit of protecting our enrviornment.

    • Bill, I complained about the same thing last year. Five mailboxes are in front of my house and every year, I had to schlep four wet phone books to the dump several months after they were delivered. The solution? First, I found the Website that lets me opt out of receiving those phone books. Second, Weston passed an ordinance that requires the distributor of those phone books to come back and pick them up after so many days if they are still left outside. The system worked with the first and only batch of phone books that were dumped since the ordinance took affect. Hooray for my town!

  5. The Dude Abides

    The Postal Service is going broke because nobody writes letters anymore. Countless Yellow/White pages clutter the terrain of wet soaked Westport. Drivers swerve to avoid runners because they are paying attention to their IPhones that tell them that there is a sale on at Bed, Bath & Beyond which rates high above their child in the front seat. You can’t escape to Vermont because it is now part of Massachuetts. Air pollution finally burned Texas. 44% approval for our President. 51% of Americans make less than $21,000 a year. 17% unemployment among Black Americans. The top 25 CEO’s make more than their respective companies pay in total income taxes. THE WORLD HAS GONE MAD!!
    Give me some Wrecker football & soccer!!!

    • Longtime Westporter

      Amen, Dude! Any ideas of solutions?

      • The Dude Abides

        Oh yeah! We need to get money out of the election process. Publicly funded elections only and then perhaps our representatives will beholden to the voters instead of the lobbyists and Corporate America. Then we have to build a social conscience in this country again. We are too greedy and worried about “stuff” instead of our neighbor. My belief is that a mandatory two year military or community service for every 18 year old, regardless of gender, should be instituted. This way a sense of patriotism and unity may be returned to the masses instead of the few. Lastly, tax reform. Make it far more attractive for a company to build a plant here rather than overseas and instill a national sales tax and do away with this ridiculous tax code. Also, bring the troops now. Put our troops at work nation building this country instead of others.

        • Publicly funded elections favor the incumbents. A mandatory two year stint in public service is a form ot tax on the young. And you know such a program would be rife with corruption and favoritism. Your tax proposals make sense, but the tax code has many supporters in Congress. Bringing the troops home is your best idea. What are waiting for?

          • The Dude Abides

            How does publicly funded elections favor incumbents? If each candidate receives the same amount of money (e.g 5 million for a House run), the incumbent would be scrutinized more on his/her record than the cronyism occuring now. The tax code is 19,000 pages of b.s. only favored by CPA’s/tax attorneys who understand it but are are well represented by their lobbyists. Watched Leon last night and they are still doing the tap dance and dog/pony show on how great everything is in Iraq/Afganistan. They are still only talking about bringing home the “combat troops” so who knows what that means?? Cluster*&^% but no one seems to care??

            • New guy starts from behind with name recognition. Same money but advantage incumbent; who in addition, has spread his pork for at least one term. Every one of those 19,000 pages has a special interest that sponsored it. The 3000 left behind will be targets.

    • Stay thirsty.

  6. i guess i’m old enough to consider the written word and turning pages not terribly old fashioned—it’s the computer thst’s too newfangled for me—-by the way thanks for giving us the option of large type—do you think that might catch on???? Audrey D

  7. Nancy Powers Conklin will find you a home or business number for free.

  8. I call 1-800-FREE-411. You have to listen to the ads but it texts you the number that you need – be it government, business, or residential listings.

  9. If you get your phone through Cablevision then you most likely have free 411 calls!

  10. I had toy walkie talkies with better reception than most cell phone calls I have been on.

  11. Call me old-fashioned and square, but when Irene hit and the power was out and my cell phone was dead, my AT&T land-line was operational and kept me feeling connected to the outside world (I keep one extension in the house that has an old-fashioned cord, that doesn’t require elec.). And I don’t know why, but sometimes I still find it more convenient to look a number up in the phone book, rather than try for an internet connection to google a phone number. Tho I certainly think there should be an opt-in requirement before phone book distributors scatter their books on lawns all over town; tho the Weston ordinance does have some poetic justice to it.

  12. Can Mary tell us about the opt-out website?