Sep 22, 2010

[Technology] Don't You Miss Phone Cards?

Flickr: fotdmike - Cotton End village, Bedfordshire SG101194
Cotton End village, Bedfordshire SG101194
by fotdmike via Flickr.

On my way home today, I suddenly got hit by this wave of nostalgia...about phone cards. You know what I mean right? The more common ones were those prepaid calling cards that came with a set amount of cash in it that you could use for phone calls at phone booths. Then there were the alternate versions that allowed you to make calls from home but these calls were charged to your landline telephone bill. It was amazingly convenient and it eliminated the need to carry around all those different kinds of coins to ensure you could make calls when needed.

Of course these days everyone carries around mobile telephones and that's become the choice way of communicating on the go. Yes, I have one too of course and it has been years since I last had to use a phone card to make calls from a phone booth. In fact, the last time that I actually tried making a phone call from a phone booth was probably before I got a mobile phone of my own.

Flickr: msmail - Public Phone 2000
Public Phone 2000
by msmail via Flickr.

Pay phones still exist, sure, but let's face it - they're on the same sad track as the landline telephone itself. The convenience of mobility is something that's hard to ignore these days and people just end up going that way. And so fewer and fewer people are relying on traditional telephones and it's very rare when you need to use a pay phone.

There was something that just felt so cool and futuristic about phone cards that it felt pretty surreal at the time. For a school-going kid, it felt like you had your own credit card of sorts, even though your credit was only good for phone cards. Now of course just chip-embedded cards are commonplace and a similar variant of the original technology is now used for mobile phone SIM cards and even those credit card with the chips that no longer require actual swiping.

So this is just my little homage to the phone card - goodbye old friend! You helped make sure that I got home every day, even when the school bus left me behind.
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1 comment:

  1. I miss phonebooths.

    I miss seeing people walk by me while i talked.
    I missed the cool gadgety doors.