Bell Trashing by the Jolly Roger

The Phone Co. will go to extreams on occasions. In fact, unless

you really know what to expect from them, they will suprise the heck

out of you with their "unpublished tarriffs". Recently, a situation

was brought to my attention that up till then I had been totaly

unaware of, least to mention, had any concern about. It involved gar-

bage! The phone co. will go as far as to prosecute anyone who rumages

through their garbage and helps himself to some

Of course, they have their reasons for this, and no doubt benefit

from such action. But, why should they be so picky about garbage? The

answer soon became clear to me: those huge metal bins are filled up

with more than waste old food and refuse... Although it is Pacific

Tele. policy to recycle paper waste products, sometimes employees do

overlook this sacred operation when sorting the garbage. Thus

top-secret confidential Phone Co. records go to the garbage bins

instead of the paper shredders. Since it is constantly being updated

with "company memorandums, and supplied with extensive reference

material, the Phone co. must continualy dispose of the outdated

materials. Some phone companies are supplied each year with the

complete "System Practices" guide. This publication is an over 40

foot long library of reference material about everything to do with

telephones. As the new edition arrives each year, the old version of

"System Practices" must also be thrown out.

I very quickly figured out where some local phone phreaks were

getting their material. They crawl into the garbage bins and remove

selected items that are of particular interest to them and their

fellow phreaks. One phone phreak in the Los Angeles area has salvaged

the complete 1972 edition of "Bell System Practices". It is so large

and was out of order (the binders had been removed) that it took him

over a year to sort it out and create enough shelving for it in his


Much of this "Top Secret" information is so secret that most phone

companies have no idea what is in their files. They have their hands

full simply replacing everything each time a change in wording

requires a new revision. It seems they waste more paper than they can


It took quite a while for Hollywood Cal traffic manager to figure

out how all of the local phone phreaks constantly discovered the

switchroom test numbers

Whenever someone wanted to use the testboard, they found the local

phone phreaks on the lines talking to all points all over the world.

It got to the point where the local garbage buffs knew more about the

office operations than the employees themselves. One phreak went so

far as to call in and tell a switchman what his next daily assignment

would be. This, however, proved to be too much. The switchman

traced the call and one phone phreak was denied the tool of his trade.

In another rather humorous incident, a fellow phreak was rumaging

through the trash bin when he heard somone apraoching. He pressed up

against the side of the bin and silently waited for the goodies to

come. You can imagine his surprise when the garbage from the lunchroom

landed on his head. Most people find evenings best for checking out

their local telco trash piles. The only thing necessary is a

flashlight and, in the case mentioned above, possibly a rain coat. A

word of warning though, before you rush out and dive into the trash

heap. It is probably illegal, but no matter where you live, you

certainly won't get the local policeman to hold your flashlight for


-= Exodus =-