The Yellow Pages, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
Public Services I
Information Sources

The Yellow Pages
The “Yellow Pages” are telephone books, available in every locality in the United States, that list businesses alphabetically by type. In smaller communities you will find the yellow pages at the back of the local telephone directory, while big cities may have an entirely separate yellow pages book. In either case, look for the distinctive yellow pages. (The regular telephone book, which lists telephone numbers alphabetically rather than by business type, is known as the “White Pages.”)

In times past, each community had a single Yellow Pages produced by the (single) local telephone company, but today, depending on community, several yellow pages, both large and small format, might compete in your area. The books are free, so you might as well familiarize yourself with all of those available, keep the ones you like, and recycle the ones you do not find useful.

The Yellow Pages will list virtually every business of any size in the area. In addition, many businesses purchase advertisements in the yellow pages. If you want a particular product or service, you can go through the main body of the Yellow Pages in alphabetical sequence until you find the appropriate section. If the product does not have a section of its own, look in the index, usually at the rear of the book, to find out in which section the product or service you are looking for is located.

For example, the Yellow Pages for Manhattan, which is part of New York City, has more than a thousand pages of listings from everything from Abdominal Supports to Zoos. Following this section is a full index. If you were looking for furniture stores, you could find a separate listing about 10 pages long. If you were looking for someone to duplicate a house key, and you looked under “Keys” in the main part of the book, you would not find a section. If you looked under “Keys” in the index, you would be told to look under either “Hardware” or “Locks and Locksmiths”. Once you use the Yellow Pages a few times, you will have no trouble finding just what you want. Most telephone directories have several pages in the front of the book that explain how to use the book.

Of course, today, Internet search has made major inroads into the power and reach of the Yellow Pages.


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