Due to the proliferation of mobile phones, the payphone is going the way of the dialup modem and frame relay. Where VoIP, SIP and MPLS represent the future, payphones have become a symbol of the past in the telecom world.
Why I’ll miss the payphone:
If you needed change or enjoyed the thrill of finding money (who doesn’t?), payphones gave you the opportunity to accomplish both. Walking around town, inspecting payphone change dispensers could provide hours of excitement.
Tricking the phone company:
Before mobile phones existed, if you wanted to call your parents for a ride home, you used a payphone. To save yourself the change necessary to make that call, you could call your parents collect and have them decline the call. That would be the signal that you were ready for them to come pick you up.
Without payphones there are no phone booths.
A clean, well-lit phone booth could be a mini sanctuary on a cold, wintery day. There was something romantic about calling a girlfriend from a payphone in a phone booth, most likely after a night of drinking with friends.
Phone booths also provided us some funny movie moments, like the phone booth scene in Dumb and Dumber.
Or suspenseful ones, like the Trinity escapes scene in The Matrix.
Phone Book Attached to Phone Booths:
What’s more fun than looking up a listing in a phone book and then ripping out the page, folding it up and taking it with you? Who needs smart phones when you had access to five pound tomes filled with germy pages, wired to unmoving phone machines?
The Heaviness of the Receiver:
A payphone receiver had to be a good three pounds and the metal cord it was attached to seemed unbreakable. If you were being attacked and ran into a payphone, a payphone receiver would make a nice last line of defense.