Number crunching

Issue section: 

The impact of the economic crisis over the past year has led to a significant change in our phone habits according to recent figures from directory enquiry service 118118.

There has been a 67 percent increase in calls to debt collection agencies, as well as a 135 percent rise for credit card companies. Calls for restaurants fell by 6 percent, as cheaper pizza delivery enquiries rocketed by 97 percent. Office stationery enquiries are down 46 percent, and those for au pair agencies fell by 98 percent. Meanwhile, calls for second hand shops have increased by 299 percent.

Consumer habits aside, there are far darker findings to the statistics. Calls requesting the number for army recruitment rose by 60 percent, which would seem to suggest people are looking for regular paycheques amid unemployment fears.

But it's not all bad news. There has also been a 73 percent increase in callers asking for trade unions.