Ernie Phillips remembers watching black and white movies depicting barbers using thick phone books to make a small child taller in a large barbershop chair.
While that image will remain in the movies, Phillips, owner of Ernie’s Barber Shop in Marmora, and others will continue to use booster chairs. Good thing, too, as Verizon has announced it will no longer print residential listings, eliminating the so-called “white pages” from the New Jersey phone book.
The yellow pages and government information will still be listed in their annually printed books.
Phillips, who has been a barber for 46 years, said he won’t miss the telephone books as boosters: There are plenty of other products for the specific use of raising children in their seats.
Lori Childs, 36, won’t miss them either, even though she has the phone book in the house.
The Linwood woman said she always checks online for residential listings, or consults the directory of the schools her three children attend. “Once in a blue moon I’ll pull it (the white pages) out if I don’t want to go upstairs.”
That’s pretty much the same sentiment expressed by Dilip Bhatt, 52.
Bhatt, of the Cardiff section of Egg Harbor Township, acknowledged that some people don’t have Internet access.
But he recounted two fellow Indian immigrants who work with him at Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. One has lived here for 23 years and has no cell phone, computer or credit cards, while the other has lived here 17 years and doesn’t have a driver’s license. “Some people just don’t want to modernize,” he marveled.
Louise Repici, a stylist at Dolly’s Finishing Touch in Ocean City, said phone books may seem like Hollywood’s answer for short clients, but she has never relied on the information guide for anything other than telephone numbers and addresses.
Lee Gierczynski, a Pittsburgh-based Verizon spokesman, said Monday there were two reasons for Verizon officials choosing to eliminate the white pages.
“White page usage has declined over the last few years, and environmentally we can significantly reduce the amount of paper making its way into New Jersey’s waste stream,” Gierczynski said, adding that the change will keep 1,400 tons of paper out of the New Jersey waste stream.
The elimination of residential listings is not only occurring in New Jersey, Gierczynski said. Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania have also approved the switch and hearings are being held with regulatory boards in Virginia and Maryland to do the same.
New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities agreed to end the white pages in September.
Super Media, the company that actually prints the books, had Gallup conduct a poll and found that as of 2008 only 11 percent of people used the white pages compared to 25 percent in 2005.
That figure is still declining, Gierczynski said.
Despite a decrease in people using the residential listings, Andy Shane, Dallas-based spokesman for Super Media, said usage of the company’s yellow pages, labeled “Super Pages,” has been steady.
Although he could not say specifically why people prefer having a hard copy of consumer information they can access easily, he said the company focuses on supplying information wherever it is needed. That includes through the Super Pages, a cell phone app and the social-networking sites Facebook and Twitter.
“We are acting on what consumers and what residents have asked for,” Shane said.
He said he thought yellow page usage remained high because the section provided a one-stop location to find information about various types of businesses without needing to use multiple resources to find it.
“From a yellow pages standpoint, you have all the information in front of you,” he said.
The company will maintain the listings on the Internet, and those who want a printed version can call 1-800-888-8448 to order a print copy or a CD-Rom version of the listings at no charge.
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