My new phone book arrived in late December. Last week I needed to use the yellow pages to look for a smog check station, and that's when I discovered that the yellow pages index has been done away with. I'm not sure if it was called an index, but it worked like one: you could look up the term you wanted, and find out what heading the phone company was using. I did find the section: auto smog brake and lamp inspection and repair. Good luck, however, to someone looking for a shop that specializes in brake repair, as there is no heading autro brake, and no cross reference. Ditto for "lamp" repair, but there is auto electrical. My general impression is that the phone company is trying to jack up the number of yellow page listings by making it necessary for a company to buy listings under different headings.
A few years back I needed to use the index to look up services for the elderly, and the index was a big help in providing a lot of category headings. Looking in the phone book today, there's a heading for "Elderly Care Product and Services," with one company, and no cross-references. That's really too bad. I needed the information then as my mother had just started the two-year decline that preceded her death, and I was new to the whole field of services for -- well, I guess, the elderly. It was daunting finding information at first, but ultimately I discovered the care company I used for those two years, and without which I couldn't have managed or kept my sanity. I can't remember if I found it through the phone book, or from a flyer at a restaurant in an area surrounded by senior housing and nursing homes. I do know that for some reason, it's not listed under elderly care. Thinking about it today, I'm not sure what all the phone book categories were, so I'm not sure where I would start if I had to do it again, other than looking under nurses of various types. (Just thinking about this has my stress level rising retroactively in what I think of as post traumatic stress from that period.)