Photo: Igor Ovsyannykov. Source: Fancycrave
They used to be everywhere. We would see lines and lines of them at the airport. Convenience stores and gas stations would have one or two. There was an elaborate etiquette about using them, and waiting for them, and paying for them. There was even a business, where people would buy a pay phone, install it, and get an ongoing percentage of the nickel and dime and quarter payments.
But that’s all gone away. The point of having pay phones on the corner was to have a convenient way to call home or work or to tell a friend that you’ve arrived at the airport. But the phones in our pockets are much more convenient. They’re everywhere, with everyone. We used to be surprised when someone had more than one cell phone. Now, it’s almost standard to have both a personal and business phone. Phone booths are now curiosities and tourist attractions, something we have to explain in old movies, like crank-start automobiles or why airplane pilots keep saying “Roger.”
Technology changes, and some business models just don’t work anymore. If our investments don’t adjust with the times, they may end up as obsolete as an old pay phone.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Charter Trust Company
“The Best Trust Company in New England”