“The New Phone Book’s Here!” & I Don’t Want It; Here’s How To Opt Out

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by Scott Schaefer

This weekend, some rude dude named “DEX” dumped a plastic bag containing two large books I didn’t ask for on my front walkway.

That’s right – the new white and yellow pages arrived on my doorstep totally unsolicited on Saturday (July 17). This surprised me, because as I recall, I actually opted out of receiving any more of them last year, since they’re about as useful to me as um, say, the printed version of The Seattle Times.

As you may have guessed, unlike Prince, we’re very bullish on the internet. We get at least 80% of our daily news from it, both on our laptop and iPhone (the other 20% is usually from NPR radio on KUOW). We look things up using Google (sometimes Bing just to try it out), and we have grown tiresome of printed phone books full of ads (even a refrigerator magnet for a plumber is glued to the cover!), as well as the primitive, thumb-staining search technique of having to scan through dozens of listings and ads to find what we’re looking for.

A bag of unsolicited phone books sit near another relic of the dying printed world, a newspaper box.

Like newspapers or bound encyclopedias, the obsolescence of phone books is inevitable in this new internet age. But considering that in the US alone, 97% of this $14 billion industry is earned from printed product alone, it’s obvious why these mammoth media dinosaurs want to try and hold on for as long as possible.

Hello? Is there any way that print can duplicate searching online and getting the results you need right away?

The answer is a resounding NO.

What’s worse, I went through this exercise last year and took the time to opt out of receiving these books, which are headed straight to the recycling bin as soon I can pry the fridge magnet ad off the cover and toss it in the garbage (eees nice DEX – not only did you deliver these unsolicited and against my wishes, now you’re making me create more landfill with your damned magnet ad, which is NOT recyclable!).

Receiving these hulking phone books seems to me to be a huge waste of resources – not only the paper (which, I will admit, appears to be printed on mostly recycled paper), but also the distribution costs, fuel, plastic bags (which they claim are made of “45% post-consumer recycled content,” which means that 55% is NOT recycled), not to mention the frustration of customers like me who ALREADY OPTED OUT LAST YEAR.

That’s why I’m tossing out the following idea (pun intended), free of charge, to councilmembers for the City of Burien:

Ban all unsolicited phone book deliveries in the city of Burien.

To opt out, you have to fill out a form and choose "0." But, based on our experience, just don't expect anything to happen.

If someone wants one, make it so they have to call the distributor to get it. But please, stop letting these wasteful folks dump their unsolicited, unusable litter on my property.

And isn’t there a fine for this kind of littering?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go back to opting out of receiving these wasteful piles of dinosaur dung AGAIN – you can do the same here:

  1. Go to http://selectyourdex.dexknows.com/SelectYourDex/searchByZipCodeAction.do and enter your zip code.
  2. Select “Proceed to Select Your Dex.”
  3. Enter your name and address.
  4. Select “0” next to each directory you wish not to receive.
  5. Press “Submit” and you are allegedly done.
  6. Bookmark this page so when you get another delivery next year, you can try again.

Another option is to dial 1-877-243-8339 to opt-out from DEX (and have the chance to yell at a human operator).

Call 1-800-929-3556 to opt-out of receiving Yellow Book directories.

To opt-out of the Verizon phone book, dial 1-800-555-4833.

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4 Responses to ““The New Phone Book’s Here!” & I Don’t Want It; Here’s How To Opt Out”
  1. b says:

    Thanks for the tip, Scott. I thought I had opted out, too, but the books keeping coming. Hopefully, this time it’ll work. Can you do a blog on how to get your (home) info out of these and onliine publications for privacy sake? Thanks.

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  2. Mik says:

    Thanks, I opted us out, now to see if it works.

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  3. Theresa says:

    I hate getting them – mine came today. Stop the madness!

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  4. J.D. Scurlock says:

    The businesses in your phone book are LOCAL! Seems like you folks would care more about stimulating your local economy ! I bet you all shop at wal mart and help the Chinese economy don’t you ?

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