When's the last time you placed a collect call?

Wait a minute. Right now someone is wondering 'What the heck is a collect call'?

Well, in you carry around enough age on your skin you might remember dialing (dialing? What's dialing?) the operator and asking to place a collect call to mom and dad. A bit cumbersome, yes, but that way mom and dad got stuck with the bill.

For the uninitiated, a collect call was, well, reversing the charges. You didn't pay for the long distance call, the other person did. That was, of course, if they accepted it. If they didn't...tough luck and good-bye.

But 1993 brought with it a new option. Just call 1-800-Collect. It was something MCI created to combat AT&T, who had a virtual monopoly on long distance calling. And thanks to what has been termed 'a huge marketing budget', it worked.

For a while.

AT&T battled back with their 1-800-Operator long distance calling which essentially caused a lot of confusion for people.

In 2002 MCI had declared bankruptcy and of course by then the phone industry had changed just a week little bit. Mobile phones were in, pay phones were out, and collect calls of any kind became less and less and less. Verizon bought out MCI, and according to Wikipedia the 1-800-Collect business had been reduced to a trickle.

But I'll bet the commercials are stamped in your brain, just like other long gone commercial campaigns. Anyone remember the 'From the land of sky blue waters'? Or 'Less filling, tastes great'?

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