Yellow Pages: Unwanted. Irrelevant. (And Wait Till You Try Opting Out).


I admit: I'm a tree hugger. A nature lover. A fresh air fanatic and avid recycler. So it's not a stretch that I'm incensed with the Yellow Pages. (Or rather "YP" -- brilliant brand refresh -- seriously. Much cooler now.)

Is it just me or do you too find it incredibly irresponsible to waste all of this paper for a service that is no longer relevant? When was the last time you said to your partner, "Hold on! I'll grab the Yellow Pages to look up that number for the take out Chinese place!"?

At one time, a long time ago and before the dawn of the internet, the Yellow Pages provided a valid service. But that was when rotary phones were around. Now it's not too difficult to see their existence is purely to sell advertising to every insurance broker and injury lawyer in your town. And that magnet that's glued to the cover? That small business paid extra for that. I wonder if their appliances are stainless steel like so many of us.

Even still, the most egregious thing about YP remains opting out. After jumping through several security hoops, you will have to open an account with them. That's right: You cannot opt out of delivery of the YP without first opening an account with them.

And opting out doesn't mean that you won't still get their product. Or that they won't count your household in the numbers that they use to sell their advertising. Here's the disclaimer from the YP website at the end of their opt-out process: "The USPS in certain areas of the country may require the YP to be delivered despite your request not to receive it."

I have opted out twice now, and yet I still receive this gluttonous hunk of paper delivered to my front porch; this last time by a young man in a beat up Buick (who did not work for the USPS). I didn't even open the package. I simply sighed, walked to the recycle bin and took a small amount of pleasure in hearing it fall to the bottom with a resounding thud. If only opting out were as easy.