Granted, we still listen to music just as much now, but back then you were standing next to a machine with two speakers, a busted antenna and AA batteries. And when you wanted a replay of your favorite song, you had to wait all day for the DJ to play it just so you could record it on a cassette tape.
Seriously, let that idea sink in your head for a minute. If you were home while your parents were out and needed something you had to call wherever they were to talk to them or page them from their beeper (we’ll get to that later). And there’s no way you can ask for anyone’s phone nowadays, people will rarely let you use theirs.
Some of us might have fleeting memories of buckling up in the front seat when you couldn’t even see over the dashboard. Sometimes you’d be sitting on someone’s lap for “added” protection, but that’s all very illegal now. In a lot of states, you have to be at least six years old before you can get out of the safety seat now.
There’s still plenty of banned toys that come out every year, but there’s something to be said about kids risking themselves by launching a toy rocket that failed in spectacularly dangerous fashion. The Splash Off Water Rocket was just that – a toy that built enough water pressure to launch cool rockets into the air. It also sent out multiple cases of injuries to kids. Just a buy a drone, kids.
Here are a few of the little devices you used in school or work that now fit in your iPhone or Android – camcorder, watch, calculator, word processor or camera. And those are things that come standard with every phone, imagine how many other '90s doo-dads that go bye-bye when you download the right app.
You might call a friend or family member to some help now and then, but there’s no way you have pulled out a paper map in more than a decade. You wouldn’t even know how an atlas looks like at this point. We’ve all become slaves to GPS at this point (but that doesn't mean the old ways are worthless either).
Oh man, when Austin Powers came out the phones at theaters worldwide were ringing non-stop. You needed to know when the first time it’d be playing at your local spot. Now you can buy the tickets online at a fraction of the time, or just watch it at home.
This goes in part with leaving the house without a phone. In a world where no one had a phone, people needed a way to contact each other somehow so pagers were super-useful. Once cell phones – and then texting – came into the picture, pagers were sent to the garbage bin of history. Now only the song lyrics that reference them keep their memories alive.
This one doesn’t apply to everyone or to every place. There are hookah and cigar bars and the occasional dive bar. But many cities have banned smoking from bars and clubs. Still, people have long memories of ashtrays in plenty of areas where there aren't anymore.
A true millennial loved the unfettered internet access their clueless parents gave them. We are all so lucky to come out of those chatrooms and questionable websites in sort-of ok condition. We definitely have our kids on a tighter online leash than our parents did, however.
You may have been a teenage girl going through the latest Delia’s for a cute jacket or a dude looking for fly kicks through Eastbay. After filling out that form (and there’s no auto-fill, so it’s the same every time), you’re playing a long waiting game until you get what you ordered. Now you can rest easy knowing you have a faster shopping process – with the same companies if you want – at the click of a button.
Walk into a random park sometime during the 90s and you would find a group of guys in a circle trying to keep a little-knit ball filled with beans in the air. There's either someone playing college radio or a drum somewhere in the background. Now the only people kicking balls in the park are soccer fans.
If all you had was broadcast TV, you were pretty much stuck to whatever came from the moment you turned on the TV – including the news. You also had VHS tapes as well, but that only gave you so much range before you would be bored out of your skull again. The amount of binge-watching people do with DVR and streaming services, there’s no way they could back to the old ways without going insane.
Compared to before we’ve become a bit smarter about how we diet. If you want an amazing example of this, remember how people were popping Fen-Phen pills – which were found to be really bad for your heart – left and right as a quick way to lose some pounds.
There are too many ridiculous '90s hairstyles to go through in one article, and people have written ones just on that subject. Let’s just keep it simple – famous people like the guy from Sugar Ray pulled it off, sure, and ladies loved it when guys had it. Now you just look like an idiot.