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Rolodexes: A thing of the past?

Gigi Douban May 30, 2013
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Rolodexes: A thing of the past?

Gigi Douban May 30, 2013
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Rest assured: The Rolodex isn’t dead.

“People are still buying Rolodexes, a lot actually,” says Amie Zvosec, consumer affairs specialist for Newell Rubbermaid, the company that makes Rolodexes.

She says the best-seller is the classic rotary file, the one with the big black knobs you use to flip through contacts.

“The biggest complaint is card size. Everyone wants a 3×5 card size, and we don’t manufacture that anymore,” she says.

The company’s Rolodex line has shrunk over the years as more people started using smartphones and laptops to store contacts. Now, it’s trying to stay relevant by making Rolodex brand iPad cases and stands.

There will always be something a little iconic about a Rolodex, says Omar Gallaga, who covers technology culture for the Austin American-Statesman.

“I think when people look at the Rolodex now, they think of Don Draper handing it over to his secretary,” Gallaga says.

Gallaga says it’s not just Rolodex. A few years ago, when technology became available to transfer contacts wirelessly, people predicted business cards would become obsolete.

“But people still get them printed, people still like having a physical card to give to someone, and not everyone is as digitally plugged in as people in business,”says Gallaga.

The challenge now, Gallaga says, is that it’s not just who you know, but how quickly you can pull up that number.

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