Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, August 15, 2021

Earlier this week, I pondered whether or not toll-free telephone numbers (i.e., 800, 866, 877, and 888 area codes) were even necessary these days, with the current state of telecommunications. I narrowed it down to two reasons:

1. The issue of “toll calls” is largely irrelevant, as both wireless and landline phone packages generally are structured as unlimited local and long-distance services. So you don’t pay anything extra anyway, no matter where you’re calling.

2. In the case of cellphones with a limited number of monthly minutes, toll-free numbers aren’t even “toll-free” — they eat up the same number of plan minutes as any other call. So for an increasing segment of consumers who use wireless as their only phone, there’s no added benefit/incentive to call that number.

In both cases, the penalty of paying for a call is erased. The very purpose of these special telephone exchanges disappears. So why should businesses even bother getting them, much less touting them?

But there is the marketing-message potential, as illustrated by this appropos number I spied today, on the side of a truck owned by cargo company Delaware Valley Express:

1-800-HAUL-ASS

Once I saw that, I decided: Yes, there is a purpose to the continuation of toll-free telephone numbers. “Haul ass” indeed.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 08/15/2008 08:10:39 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Comedy
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4 Feedbacks »
  1. Remember the good ol’ days, when someone would holler, “Hurry up - it’s long distance!”

    Comment by david — 08/16/2008 @ 03:47:36 AM

  2. You’d be surprised how many don’t have “modern phone plans”. If you’re a business local to NY, don’t bother getting one, but if you’re nation-wide, it still makes sense (if you want people calling that is).

    Comment by David — 08/17/2008 @ 12:54:08 PM

  3. Am I guilty of assuming too much? I do try to avoid that sin. You’re right, most of the population probably still stick with the same phone plan they’ve had for years; and indeed, the concept of “free call”, when considered out of context, still would have a powerful pull.

    Still, I think its days are numbered…

    Comment by CT — 08/18/2008 @ 11:45:05 PM

  4. I do too, but I think it’s a generation away.

    Companies still love them for locale nutrality too, so it’s a different side of marketing there.

    Hell, there are still people who lease phones from the phone company (really).

    Comment by David — 08/19/2008 @ 12:14:53 AM

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