Yellow but not mellow
By Reed Tucker

(FORTUNE Magazine) – The end of the world is nigh! At least it sure looks that way if you've opened the latest edition of the yellow pages. Business categories are routinely added and deleted from the book, and the list is always an interesting if somewhat obvious barometer of societal shifts. (What!?! There aren't enough businesses to fill the Slide Rule heading anymore?) But this year the yellow pages from Texas-based SBC Communications, which publishes books in 13 states, would do Tom Ridge acolytes proud.

Categories including Corset Materials, Typing Machines Sales and Service, and the oh-so-1940s Unidentified Flying Objects got the heave-ho in favor of a disturbing catalog of post-9/11 worries, such as Homeland Security, Identity Theft, Tenant Screening Services, and--most alarmingly--Bomb Blast Protection. If anyone needs us, we'll be on a desert island somewhere.

"Our books try to reflect what consumers are experiencing and what they're hearing in the media," says SBC yellow pages executive director of marketing Sue Hume. Be very alarmed if next year's edition includes Bunkers: Reinforced Concrete. -- Reed Tucker