SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — It was 31 years ago when Steve Martin's character in his movie "The Jerk" howled in ecstasy, "The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!"
In the age of Google, many are wondering why they haven't gone away.
To find Heather Fadden's new phone book you have to "let your fingers do the walking" deep into her recycling bin.
"This is where I immediately tossed it," she said. "It's the new storage container for my phone book."
The Snohomish County Yellow Pages arrived over the weekend and it's safe to say nobody was howling in ecstasy.
Many are left wondering why they're being delivered at all.
"It's just sad," said Fadden. "How many phone books just go right into the trash?"
Many of those that don't go directly into the trash end up littering our streets. A quick drive down Lowell-Larimer Road in Snohomish County turned up nearly a dozen.
Some wonder whether tossing unsolicited stuff on people's property constitutes littering or some other low-level crime. Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell says it does not.
"I would equate this with the Boy Scouts," he said. "We're not going to cite them for walking around before Christmas and dropping something about recycling your Christmas tree to support their cause."
Cornell encourages anybody who is really riled up about the issue to contact their city or county council to pass an ordinance.
"I think this is probably a classic example of the law not keeping pace with people's environmental sensibilities and with technology," he said.
Industry experts say phone books still exist, because people still use them.
And plenty of advertisers still pay to have their services featured. The Snohomish County Yellow Pages are packed with ads for everything from dentures to dog neutering services.
"Yellow Pages provide helpful information to many consumers and still generate effective leads for many businesses," said Paige Blankenship, spokesperson for Yellow Pages publisher Thryv. "The numerous media outlets that exist today have spread a business’ audience wide and shallow, so any media, including print Yellow Pages, that reach a material audience is still useful."
Before you toss that phone book into the recycle bin you're reminded there may come a day when your computer goes down and you need one in an emergency.