Off the Wall, September 15,

One of the many things I love to do when I browse over newspapers is read the advertising before going to the stories. I’m always looking for something I’ll probably never use. I always like to see what services local merchants provide. I’m always attracted to new businesses.

Is there just a bit of curiosity here? I also search out telephone numbers on the ads. They are more important than the websites, in my opinion.

How often does one read an advertisement in a newspaper and never see a public service number, another term for phone number.

Open your daily tabloid and look to the bottom right or left of the stories. Settle on one ad. Maybe this is for restaurants. Not only do I know where this business is located, but also how one gets ahold of the proprietor if one does not have a computer?

If I had a dollar for everyone who has told me “I’ll let my daughter do it,” I think I could gain some extra spending money!

How frustrating.

Let’s say, for instance I saw an advertisement in a sporting tabloid where there was a fishing competition advertised and the club was giving away $4,000 in prizes. My first thought would be, “Wow, I could get into that.” In big letters in the bottom there it stated, “For additional information, log onto our website: www.spadoodle@bm.com.” That’s all well and good for those whom have the electronic devices called computers.

But guess what? There is more people that one realizes who do not only don’t have a computer or have the foggiest notion how to operate one.

Here again, numerous times I’ve been told, “Pee Vee, I don’t even know how to turn on even if I did have such a machine.”

Let me tell you, folks, there is so much I don’t know how to do on this device. Many times I’ve wanted to take the whole thing and throw it out the window. But’ that’s another subject all together.

So lets get back to the Spadoodle Fishing Competition. Not knowing where it’s located from the ad, I would really like to be a participant, but have no clue where to begin to even look. Being disadvantaged, someone else just may win my prize. I have to think positive, right? Must’ start asking around, I guess.

Since I not only don’t know where it is, then, I can’t register for something I don’t have the slightest idea where it is taking place. Can I walk, take a taxi, or do I need to book my travel on an airliner?

I hope one is beginning to get the message.

Many people omitted their phone numbers when they did away with land phones and use their cell units instead. Of consequence, there is no phone numbers listed in the Yellow Pages, or whatever they call the book today. Maybe I have lost touch with reality, but if I want to call Peter Scoodno and didn’t have his cell phone number, there is no way to ascertain his number. Bummer.

Looking through one publication recently, I noticed a fishing competition I’d sure love to attend, but it is a bit out of my reach. This is how it was laid out.

First, it spelled out what was being advertised, in this case, America’s Panfish Marathon on Black Lake in bold Franklin Gothic lettering. Underneath was the starting date, ending date, that it lasted two days, followed by entry fees. In addition, there was going to be $75,000 in cash prizes, the website, an email address and guess what – a phone number!

I talked to a gentleman a month or so ago and we were discussing the fact concerning a fishing derby that was to take place in a matter of weeks. On the promotional literature was everything but that public service number. I mentioned to him the fact that many people don’t have computers but would like to take part in the competition he was representing. Not all have children to register online. Now what?

I think this was a wake up moment to him. Yes, we are living in a technological age, but that doesn’t mean all of society are part of it or want to be, as far as that goes. I really think if I didn’t spend most of my semi-retired life writing for The Latrobe Bulletin or writing books, I’d stay clear of this gadget.

Can’t see that happening…

- Paul J. Volkmann
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