The Death of the Payphone

Or maybe it’s still alive and nobody notices.

Photo by Ahmet Sali on Unsplash

Well they may not be totally dead. According to the FCC Payphones still exist and roughly 100,000 of them remain operational in the United States. What’s more, people actually use them. In a 2015 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report, major payphone providers in the country raked in roughly $286 million for that year.

Where can you find them?

Neighborhoods with a high number of immigrants who rely on calling cards to phone overseas rather than using cell phones are a good place to look, as are locations where large numbers of people pass by or congregate. You can still find them in malls and they are in pretty good shape since the establishment locks their doors nightly and they are not vandalized.

You can also find them in public buildings and police stations for people that are in court and need to arrange bail.

A public library, museums, art galleries, and tourist attractions are good places to find pay phones. Anywhere that people congregate if they are funded by the municipality are good sources to find a phone.

Restaurants, gas stations, and convenience stores usually have a pay phone close to the entrance to the store or inside. Not everyone has a cell phone and the ones that don’t need to communicate, therefore there is still a demand for them.

How do you use a pay phone?

It’s easy! You pick up the receiver, put it to you ear, and a voice on the other end will tell you how much to put in the slot at the top for a local call. It used to be a quarter, but it is probably more now. Put in the money and dial the number. The call will go through. That’s it.

If you have an international call you dial a specific number after you put in the requisite base coin then it will tell you what to do after that.

Paying for the cellphone

Our cellphones are still pay phones. You can’t use them unless you pay for them once a month.

All the stand-alone payphones, the house landlines, the princess phones have morphed into cellphones with all the added niceties that we need everyday. We need clocks, flashlights, games, photos, calendars, cameras, alarms, reminders, memo pads, and social media, to help with our everyday lives. The more expensive your phone is the better the network to get information to you. Some folks don’t have a computer or laptop and only use their cellphone for their business.

A long time ago with regular home phones we only had to worry about crank calls and hangups, now with cellphones, you have to worry about your personal data being stolen or your phone being dropped, broken and corrupted in some way. Then you need to buy a new one unless it’s insured.

Which is better?

Jo Ann Harris is an author, parent, book devotee, writer, copywriter, and film fanatic. She is an autodidact who learns about everything and rows her own boat. She grew up and worked in Atlanta, Georgia and lived there sixty years. She writes articles about love, hope, personal life stories, advice and poems. She is a published author with an article published in Woman’s World magazine in October, 2017.

Multiple genre writer. Writer for Crow’s Feet, Family and Children, Illumination. Honesty & integrity count. Editor for Wreader. A specialist in eclecticism.

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