Yellow Pages Sales Gone Bad

Todd Smith over at METRO Mag has published what goes down as the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard of a yellow pages salesperson doing to date.

“I want to put his business on the cover of the phone book,” the man said. “How’s that sound? Huh?” The man brushed rain off his shoulders and then slicked back his hair.

I’ll avoid any spoilers here. Go give it a read.

9 thoughts on “Yellow Pages Sales Gone Bad”

  1. As much as this salesman character makes people’s skin crawl, consider the moral, and how it might apply to dumping yellow pages on grounds maintained by the working class in order to get back at policies created by upper management:

    “So, know this Mr. : The working men are pissed. You shit on hard working men just to get your rocks off. As laborer[s], [I/we] may not have a lot. But [I/we] have [my/our] dignity. Consider this a warning. [i/We] know what you look like.”

  2. @LM, only someone within the YP industry would find my actions comparable with those of the YP douchebag actions described in this story. Take a step back to look at who’s policies are creating more work for the working man.

    For the working man to take pride in the work they’re doing, it needs to have value. Delivering yellow pages to people who no longer use the books doesn’t cut it. The working man is caught between frustrated consumers and incompetent YP companies. Blame accordingly.

  3. Again, I have no connection to the YP industry…I’m not even remotely employed by any related industry, nor do I know anyone employed in any related industry. I still support legislated opt-in; other than that, I have no vested interest in this argument, except that the end goals that we share, and others who are working legitimately towards those goals, might be compromised by vigilante activism. I keep having to comment because you keep hitting on pet peeves of lack of empathy, condescension, etc., and I don’t like to see things like that left unquestioned when there’s any kind of platform.

    But again, we can’t hang our hats on moral relativism. Just because they’re doing something disagreeable doesn’t justify us doing something disagreeable, even if it’s not as bad. Your point to the deliverymen having no value in their jobs is flawed — not all the books they deliver go to unwilling recipients. Perhaps there isn’t as much value as their salespeople would state, but better-than-insignificant value nonetheless.

    But my point was to the hardworking people who have to clean up after your activism — in that case, my whole point is *you’re punishing the wrong people*. Any moral relativism arguments can’t justify missing this mark. Walking into the office, making eye contact and handing the actual employees the books would end my rebuttal, and prove that you have enough fortitude to ensure credibility.

  4. @LM, to be clear, I didn’t say that all YP books are going to unwilling recipients. Every book that’s delivered to someone who has no plans to use it is a waste of the working man’s time. I’m not anti-phone book. Just anti-delivery of phone books to those who have no longer use them. No one complains about receiving something they find valuable.

    If littering yellow pages at a yellow pages company’s office is wrong, I don’t want to be right. The best way to stop me would be to solve the YP delivery problem so I can shut up about it.

    I think I see how you’d find value in me confronting someone in a local office, but I think we both know that they’re also the “working man” within much larger organizations, so expressing my opinions face to face with them gains nothing.

  5. I’m glad you all agree- unwanted phonebooks stink!

    Sign the petition at

    We’re working on it 🙂

  6. LM = “Just because they’re doing something disagreeable doesn’t justify us doing something disagreeable, even if it’s not as bad.”

    Actually LM, it does.

    You see, none of us ever wanted YP delivered, it was an add-on/carryover from decades ago that has not evolved with the changes in technology and culture. It is a dinosaur that refuses to go to the museum to observe it’s remaining value to society.

    Ed here has tried their opt-out plan at all three of these worthless YP dealers and none have honored their own opt-out scheme. So, what is left…prayer? Legal action? Legislative action?

    Face it…agreeable action was ignored, and thus this is the time for disagreeable action. If you find it disagreeable, go ahead and try to be the voice of reason to the YPers and see how far you get. I wonder how long before you are tossing books at the YP suburban putting green. At this point, it is the least they deserve, and if some office park maintenance guy has to scoop it up, hey at least it is a job, probably even has benefits, which is more than the YP delivery people have.

  7. Ed,

    Another good one. Although I still believe there is a tremendous amount of use of the yellow pages, I also agree with Ed that folks who DO NOT WANT a PHONE BOOK should not be solicited and littered with a copy. Just like everything else, it should be subscription based and not delivered via saturation distribution. Opt Out should not be the standard ( although you try and it has been proven that they would all take chances on you possibly keeping the trash ) the industry needs to skip Opt Out and go straight to Opt In. I don’t see it happening. Too many jobs and too many CEOs getting paid. It is the nature of big business. Funny thing is the entire industry stinks due to fraud, greed, bankruptcy, financial fiasco, sales tactics and cronyism. Out with the old and in with the new. Just don’t let them attempt to make the same margins on internet as they have done in print. Won’t work!

    Coming from someone that “sold” yellow page ads from age 19 to 28….. I don’t think Eds actions of putting the books back on the lawn of the yellow page company is all too terrible.

    The question is….. DOES ED HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMOVE BOOKS OFF NEIGHBORS LAWNS AND DOORSTEPS? Do the companies have the right to litter people’s homes with the books? The industry is to blame. It only happened due to the monopoly———> duopoly ———-> and not inundation of competition in the YP industry. Too many books. They need to start monopolizing and innovating. I personally think the industries talent needs to migrate into local ad agencies. No hope long term as they cut commissions, raise budgets, and reduce benefits.

    Mike Stewart

  8. Dear Working Men:

    What a horrible trick this yellow page idiot played on you…but there is a very intelligent and POWERFUL way to permanently correct the situation (and its legal, too).

    It sounds like you guys care a lot about your jobs and are hard workers. It also sounds like you receptionist is pleasant on the phone to people. And you have good products. My friends…that and a plain phone number listing is ALL YOU NEED to conduct a profitable business. That listing should be free, or close to it…maybe $15 bucks a month. CANCEL EVERYTHING ELSE YOU HAVE IN THE PHONE DIRECTORY–CUT THE DISPLAY AND COLOR ADS OUT. So many business owners have been hoodwinked into believing that they need a full page, full color ad in every heading even remotely related to their business–and every cent of profit is being sucked out of their business by these same rude yellow pages people.

    Do you know of any other product on the planet that could survive if it were GROSSLY over-priced–and increased cost yearly, did NOT produce a fair return on investment, and was peddled by the most Rude and Arrogant people on Earth? OF COURSE NOT!! You can stop it all by standing up and saying NO MORE…just a line listing please!!! It is happening everyday across the country–and the businesses go right on being profitable or holding their own without the Bloated Yellow Page Ads. THAT will stop the D-Bag who punked you!!!

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