Town Prepares For 2020. Phone Book Distributors Race Backward To 1979.

It’s the holiday season. But alert — and peeved — “06880” Gil Ghitelman just found an unwelcome “gift” underneath his mailbox.

One shot from Imperial Avenue …

The Yellow Pages — or, in this case, Blue Pages — are baaaaaack.

“Any business that wastes its money foolishly advertising in this, whose time has long passed, doesn’t deserve my business,” Gil writes.

“And the town ought to fine the distributors.”

In fact, the town already addressed this issue. Two years ago — thanks to excellent work by resident Morgan Mermagen, RTM representatives Liz Milwe, Jeff Wieser and Matthew Mandell, and assistant town attorney Gail Kelly, all phone book distributors in Westport agreed to these conditions:

  • All plastic bags used during delivery will be made with 20% post-consumer recycled content. This will be noted on the bag.
  • A new opt-out notice — showing the website — will cover 30% of one side of the bag.
  • A letter to the town, announcing a pending distribution by any company, will be done 90 days prior to any event, and 30 days prior to a cut-off for being able to opt out of that (and future) distributions.
  • All books will continue to have a notice on the front cover about the opt-out, with the same URL.
  • Within 14 days after delivery, the distribution company will return through the route, picking up any unclaimed bags within view.
  • A report will be sent to the town each year, noting how many people have opted out.

I’m not sure whether the distributor of the current Yellow Blue Pages adhered to these regulations. Gil had already tossed the “gift” by the time I emailed them back to him.

(Click here for the full 2017 “06880” story on phone book distribution.)

… and the house next door. (Photos/Gil Ghitelman)

11 responses to “Town Prepares For 2020. Phone Book Distributors Race Backward To 1979.

  1. Jill Greenberg

    And, just in case you hadn’t noticed, similar books were “dumped along Riverside and Saugatuck. At this point, having been left to decay, they are little more than gray pulp along the curb.

  2. Michelle Scher Saunders

    Dan: these phone book are horrible. I checked their website and opted out several years ago not to receive them at both my residence and that of my mother’s and low and behold, they are still delivering them to us. I think their delivery guys are on auto-pilot. Will not let them sit by my mailbox for weeks waiting for pick up, so I threw them in the trash. What a waste of trees.

  3. I wouldn’t mind them so much if they would include “White Page” listings. It’s difficult to find the phone numbers for “regular” people, and I don’t always have their email addresses.

  4. Matthew Mandell

    This is a straight up violation of the rules we put in place. I have already made contact with the Town Attorney to discuss this.

    1. The bag has no opt out on it.
    2. It says the bag is recyclable, but that does not mean its has any recycled material in it.
    3. The opt out on the front page does not nearly meet the specs of the rule. It is almost impossible to read.
    4. The publisher of the book was one of the parties we negotiated with. Obviously not a good partner.

    • In the spirit of Festivus, it’s always interesting to see just what the RTM feels is within its purview. Phone books gone wild? Oh yeah. Five thousand yards of fill contaminated with arsenic and DDT dumped illegally by the Town of Westport in a public park just to keep the Senior Center expansion project budget on track? No way man, we have, um, no jurisdiction!


  5. The regulation should be changed to ban this kind of bulk distribution entirely. The “yellow pages” industry was once a powerful lobbying force and won exemption from local littering regs. Today, they are scammers selling worthless ads — and vastly overpriced online marketing services — to unsuspecting small business owners who grew up in the days of legitimate phone directories.

  6. Opting out is difficult. They want email addresses and phone numbers? I dont care to provide that information to opt-out but do want to opt-out. Ugh

  7. The opt-out is fake, Unlike postal direct mail, there’s no database of subscriber addresses; drivers just drop the trash off in front of every home. I guarantee if you stopped one of these guys and searched the car, you would not find any opt-out list.

  8. Barbara Wanamaker

    I received two deliveries and the opt out website (which is on the cover of the book) was not recognized.

  9. Happy Holidays….thanks for all your hard work all year!Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

  10. also pretty sure the delivery person stuffed their lunch garbage into my mailbox…