Do you remember the last time you used a payphone?

When was the last time you even gave the lonely payphone a second thought?

Leave a message, along with a quarter, in the comments below. Calling cards not accepted.

(photo by DeborahK on Flickr)

11 Replies to “Do you remember the last time you used a payphone?”

  1. Wow… cool question. The last time I used a payphone was February 2002 up at Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley — and only because there’s no cell service up there. Before that? Whew… sometime in the early 1990s I’d guess.

  2. Early this year, maybe January. The problem was it cost 50 cents to call a friend a few blocks away, and the first phone I tried was busted and ate my quarters. I had to go into the attached liquor store and buy something cheap so I could use the change for a second attempt.

  3. A couple years ago, during the early months, I ran over some metal scrap on the road which sliced open my tire and left a nice deep scratch on the side of my car. I was just able to make it to a McDonalds parking lot when I discovered I’d left my cellphone at home and my brother who was accompanying me had done just the same. So, I made use of the nearby payphone to call my dad, asked him to call AAA for me, and gave him the payphone number in case he needed to call me back.

  4. Strangely, I used a pay phone last night and I was thinking about how it had been years since I had done that! I left work, chatted with a friend, then went to the gym for a few hours and realized that I hadn’t touched base with my husband today, and he had no reason to expect me to be home at 9:30pm instead of earlier, so he was going to worry. My cell phone was dead and my charger was nowhere to be found, so I said, “Okay, I’ll just find a pay phone”. When’s the last time you tried to FIND a pay phone in LA? There wasn’t one at my gym, there wasn’t one as I walked across campus to my car, but I finally found one about 15 minutes into my journey home. I didn’t even have an idea of how much the call might cost (in this case, it was 35 cents). I was also thinking about the bizarreness of it being a crisis that I was out of touch for a few hours…how did we live before email and cell phones?

  5. I used a payphone at LAX a few weeks ago to try to fix my cellphone. (You know how you have to call from a different phone.)

    But I have the pay phone for MT Wilson programmed into my cell and I often call it to see if anyone would pick up. No one has so far. I think of it like the Mojave phone booth, but up on Mt Wilson.

  6. I last used a payphone in early 2005, before I bought my first cellphone. I hate cellphones, I don’t keep mine on me (I leave it in the car), but the reason I finally had to cave in and buy one is that the condition of payphones has sharply deteriorated in the last five years. They’re impossible to find because when they break, no one bothers to fix them anymore. When you do find them, more often than not they eat your money, or the sound cuts in and out, or some other horrible thing happens. Obviously the change thing is a problem too. I used to buy those calling cards from WalMart or whatever that give you X amount of minutes, but they gouge you on the payphones, they charge you something like 10 minutes for every payphone minute you put on there. But I’d use them anyway, because it was easier than going everywhere with 5 pounds of change in my pockets.

  7. I can narrow it down to between September 1998 and March 1999. An infant stopped breathing in the mall and I used the payphone to call 911. Not long after that I got a cell phone.

  8. I have a hard time keeping my cell phone battery charged. So the last time i used a pay phone was last month, to call a frend from ventura/laurel canyon. i get around mostly by public transportation which makes me more likely to use a pay phone rather than someone that drives.

  9. About a month or so ago, at the pay phone in front of Rite Aid at Sunset and El Centro. I had forgotten my cell phone at the office and needed to call my husband.

  10. August 2005 in Kernville, CA in a shopping center with a grocery store, Burger King, gas station and some other stores.

    It was about 10 pm, I was in an area with no cell phone reception, had just driven through several miles of a windy and scary road along the “Killer Kern” river.

    I was kinda freaked out. I needed to get ahold of my dad who was waiting for me and my family at the campsite where no one except my dad got cell phone reception (and his was spotty). I wasn’t quite sure about where I was, if I was lost in the desert (my dad’s directions weren’t exactly great), or if I’d be able to find the campsite.

    I had lots of change on me for some reason, which was good since the call wasn’t cheap. Oh yeah, and the phone itself was kinda gross. There were lots of bugs around it. It worked okay. Somehow I got ahold of my dad and met him a McDonald’s parking lot nearby.

    That pay phone saved me.

  11. I roll skull-phone free. I don’t own a cellphone, but barrow my wife’s from time to time. I tried to use a pay-phone two weeks ago but couldn’t find one while walking down a mile stretch of Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. When I do use one, I typically use my ancient phone card. Gee, I miss the 90’s.

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