Remember calling collect? You’d tell the operator that you wanted to make a collect call and give them the number and, optionally, the name of the person you’d want to talk to. The operator in turn would call the number and announce that she had a collect call for anyone at that number, or for the specific person, and would ask if they would accept the charges. A lot of times people had it set up so that if they heard it was you, they’d know you were home and refuse the call. No reason to do anything else. I wonder if they figured out how much money they were losing because people were doing that? They probably didn’t care.
Now everyone has a cellphone with unlimited minutes, so they don’t do that anymore. Although I guess if you called them and asked them nicely they would do it.
Remember how, if your phone was broken, they gave you a number (ours was 611) to call to get someone to come to the house and check the phone and the lines? It used to confuse me. I mean, how could you call them if your phone was down? I asked my mother, and she thought I was being a smartass. Someone finally explained that you’d call from a neighbor’s phone or from a payphone. Oh. Duh.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. And now a word from Schlitz, the beer that made Milwaukee famous!