Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Another Era Comes to an End

LiveScience.com - Era Ends: Western Union Stops Sending Telegrams: "

After 145 years, Western Union has quietly stopped sending telegrams.

On the company's web site, if you click on 'Telegrams' in the left-side navigation bar, you're taken to a page that ends a technological era with about as little fanfare as possible:

'Effective January 27, 2006, Western Union will discontinue all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you for your loyal patronage. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a customer service representative.'

The decline of telegram use goes back at least to the 1980s, when long-distance telephone service became cheap enough to offer a viable alternative in many if not most cases. Faxes didn't help. Email could be counted as the final nail in the coffin."

Some of you whippersnappers don't even know what a telegram is. This is kind of sad for us old guys, though.

2 comments:

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I've recevied two telegrams in my life: one when my father died, another when my grandfather died. But that didn't spoiled my appreciation of the company and the nostalgia the idea of a telegram incites in me. The article says they're no longer sending telegrams, but not that they've gone out of business. I wonder what else they're doing to remain open.

Jeff Meyerson said...

It reminds me of the old singing telegram joke. Don't stop me if you've heard it before.

A Western Union guy comes to the door with a telegram.

"Sing it to me," the recipient says.

"It's NOT a singing telegram."

"Sing it anyway."

"It wouldn't be appropriate."

"Sing it!"

"Dada da dum dum dum
Your son is dead...
Shot in the head..."

Sorry about that.