The time was 12:05pm. While I was trooping like a hungry soldier to the concourse in pursue of lunch, a bewildered man precipitously approached me. “Excuse me sir, do you know where the closest pay phone is?” he mumbled in discomfiture. “Pay phone” I replied in shock, thinking that maybe this guy is still wedged in the 90’s? Obviously, being acquainted with the building I guided the man to his destination as his face shimmered while thanking me endlessly. “Thank you sir”, he acknowledged where I quickly departed and continued my trek on muzzling my growling stomach.
After purchasing lunch, I sat down and commenced the annihilation of my meal but ultimately halted and queried myself, “Aren’t pay phones almost extinct”, as I shook my head in scepticism. Presently, those antediluvian phones are sequestered in malls, subway stations, popular city arteries, office buildings and other remote places. These booths still exist but their visibility has radically imperilled, equally has their utilization. Priced at 50 cents a call (in Toronto), whose going to use these monsters realizing that almost everyone has cut the cord and adapted the wireless life. It’s sensible to relinquish a minimal amount of pay phones to the public since they continue to fashion revenue for companies, besides not everyone can afford it, specifically with today’s data plans.
I reminice in my younger days, pay phones mushroomed everywhere; siting one at almost every second or third intersection was a norm in my city. The price for a call back then was 25 cents, boosting their usage enormously as I’d often witness a line while trolling through a strip mall enroute to home. My parents would certify that I had a few quarters in my pocket daily, never knowing when I needed to execute a critical call. Yet as time evolved, the mowing of pay phones eventually hit hard due to their lack of exploitation. Idling pay phones were wasting electricity, space and were eventually taken from outside the building to inside.
In the early 90’s the mobile industry elevated to unpredicted heights. Plans were cheap, phones were more affordable due to subsidies, cellulars were nothing but pure convenience and this trend still thrives. Although mobile phones were ginormous back then, people still purchased them, particularly my generation where it was nothing but a fashion statement. I still have my first ever Nokia 6110 which may be easily mistaken as a weapon tucked away in a box.
Have you or a friend ever required the services of a pay phone lately?