From "Hoot & Holler" to "Hunt and Headache" [telecom]

When I was a kid, large junkyards used a private line service known as a "Hoot and Holler" to advertise their need for parts: whenever my dad needed a bumper or tailpipe for the VW, we'd go looking there, and I'd always stand at the checkout window, awed as the various yards responded to the brokers' querries - "Need a front quarter for a 64 mustang, need a rear bumper for a 59 Buick Electra, need ...". It was a private line, of course, and there was no signalling that I knew of, but more often than not, someone on the line would have what the barkers wanted, and they would chime in with some sort of code that must have identified which yard would get a private phone call.

Yesterday, I went to Google and started looking for a kind of tile that my wife chose for our bathroom, but which is now discontinued. I typed in various combinations of "Settecento" and "200012", the manufacturer and model number respectively.

Nothing. Nowhere.

Plenty of Italian pages, and Interior Design sites that had fawning reviews from several years ago, but no current-day equivalent of the Hoot & Hooler junkyard lines from my youth. I don't know why: in this computerized age, someone has not set up a discontinued tile brokerage or warehouse.

Am I missing something?

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Bill Horne
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