Collect Calls

Kids, there’s a time before cell phones that if you wanted your folks to come get you, you had to put change in a pay phone and dial home. If you didn’t have change, you needed to remember one of 3-5 jingles to get a call home but at a cost. You would dial the given 1800 number, tell the operator who you wanted to call, the operator then would call your chosen recipient and ask them if they wanted to take the call at Around 10¢ a minute. Companies like 1-800 Collect, 1010-2-20 and Sprint all had services and they bombarded you with commercials. Mr. T and all sorts of has beens were making collect calls. 1800-Collect was one of the most popular brands and completely automated. When it would ask your name you’d put your message in so whoever could reject the charges. “Yo Pick Me Up” and “I’m staying out later.” were mainstays of my calls. Pretty positive over the 7 years of high school and middle school my Parents spent less than 30¢. With the purging of payphones from mostly everywhere I figured these companies had died off. Not only do they still exist believe it or not; they now charge $35-$45 per call. As one time spokesperson Mr. T would say “I pity the fool.”

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