St. John’s — If you can find a payphone, snap a selfie and make a call, because this neat experience is a fleeting one, according to Bell Aliant.
The cost to use a payphone has traditionally been a quarter, but the phone service provider is doubling that to account for recent interest in their few remaining booths.
“We’ve seen an uptick in hipster types seeking these real, gritty life experiences, and they’re willing to pay a premium for a cool photo of them engaging in said experience,” said St. John’s-based Bell Aliant rep Aretha Connor. “It’s like those old fixed-gear bikes that are practically garbage but now cost more than a bike you can actually use to commute to work. It’s all about being seen riding it.”
Connor listed other services or experiences that are becoming pricier because of this “vintage experience effect.”
“There’s riding the train — it takes forever to arrive at your destination, and you can’t fall asleep because of the horn. But people pay out the ass for a ticket so that they can tell everyone they ‘rode the rails’ or some shit.
“Or how about retro ‘repurposed’ clothing? Very hot right now. People want to look like they’re from the 1940s for some reason, so they spend $200 on an old ill-fitting dress some Millennial sewed a lace collar onto.
“Hiring a rickshaw, going to a drive-in movie, using an SLR camera, making your own soap…all these things are just some of the ‘authentic, vintage’ experiences that have become pointless but expensive,” Connor concluded. “Why shouldn’t using a payphone be one of them?”
John Norton, a St. John’s local, said he’s been saving his quarters so he can one day tell his grandchildren he made a call on one of the last payphones in existence.
“I don’t actually know anyone’s number, though — they’re all just programmed into my iPhone, so I’ll just punch some random numbers and talk to whoever picks up,” explained Norton, handing us his smartphone. “Could you grab a pic of me making a call? This is gonna go down in history.”
Norton said he plans to use the photo on Tinder after he edits it and applies one of those old-timey filters.
“Well I’ll never have grandkids to tell about my cool phone experience if I don’t match with anyone on Tinder, will I?”