We have T-Mobile as our wireless carrier, and it bothers me to no end that we must pay $1.49 every time we dial 411 for directory assistance. They say there are extra perks with their service:
First, they allow you to check for up to three numbers per call. Second, they will automatically connect you at no extra charge (I should hope so). But, really, how practical is that three-for-one 411 deal when you’re driving? Not that any of you drive while talking on the cellphone. Plus, they can’t connect you to the first number or you’re out of luck on asking for the next two freebies…”Yes, please…Hey, no, wait — Dang!”.
And unless you have an extraordinary memory for phone numbers, you’re going to have to write ’em down if you do ask for three. Connecting you to the last of three numbers doesn’t help too much if you’re already swerving all over the road while trying to jot down the first two numbers on a McDonald’s napkin in your lap. Not that you eat McDonald’s. And not that you use your cellphone while driving.
A friend e-mailed me about the Free 411 directory assistance number. This is different than the toll-free directory assistance found at 1-800-555-1212, for that only lets you find toll-free numbers. This service, found at 1-800-FREE411 (for those keypad-challenged, like me, that’s 1-800-373-3411), is a regular directory assistance for both white and yellow pages.
Yes, it’s for real. Snopes.com, my favorite hoax-busting website, confirms this. There’s no trick, no hidden nastiness. Advertisers pay the service to play short audio ads for callers. I can deal with that.
One caveat: It will save you money, but it doesn’t solve the swerving-all-over-the-road problem. It may, in fact, add to the problem since you must now dial ten digits instead of three. Not that you would attempt this while driving. Just add it to your contacts list and assign a speed dial number to it.