13 Practices From The Boomer Era That Are Now Obsolete

Times change, and with them, so do traditions. What was once considered normal or even essential can quickly become outdated and the subject of ridicule. Baby Boomers, with their unique set of customs and habits, have seen some of their once-beloved traditions fall out of favor in today’s society. Join us as we explore 14 Baby Boomer traditions that have transitioned from respected to mocked in the eyes of modern society.

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#1 Blockbuster Night

New York, USA - November 25, 2022: Visitors browsing free DVD and VHS rentals at Kim's Video in Alamo Drafthouse Lower Manhattan. Kim’s Video is back in NYC after 12 years in Italy.
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Friday nights used to revolve around a trip to Blockbuster, scanning rows of VHS tapes or DVDs for the perfect movie. The excitement of finding a new release or an old favorite was unmatched. But with the convenience of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, the idea of driving to a physical store and paying late fees for returning movies seems like a relic of the past.

#2 Phone Booth Etiquette

Red Telephone Booth
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Before the era of cell phones, using a public phone booth was a common practice, but it came with its own set of unwritten rules. People were expected to keep conversations short and to the point, out of consideration for others waiting to use the booth. Additionally, having spare change for calls was a must, as payphones didn’t accept credit or debit cards. Nowadays, the idea of squeezing into a cramped, potentially germ-ridden space just to make a call seems almost absurd.

#3 Printed Encyclopedias

Macro Photo of Brown Book Series - Encyclopedia
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Owning a set of printed encyclopedias was once a mark of intellectual prowess and a valuable resource for students and families alike. The hefty tomes lined bookshelves and were consulted for everything from homework assignments to settling debates at the dinner table. However, with the rise of the internet and easily accessible online encyclopedias like Wikipedia, the need for bulky printed versions has dwindled.

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#4 Film Cameras

Person Holding Film Strip
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Before the age of digital photography, film cameras were the primary tool for capturing memories. Loading film, adjusting settings, and carefully framing shots were all part of the process. However, the limitations of film, such as the finite number of exposures per roll and the need for development, seem archaic compared to the instant gratification of digital photography.

#5 Balancing Checkbooks

Prepare writing a check in office
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Writing checks was once a common practice for paying bills and making purchases, requiring a careful hand and a supply of checkbooks. Balancing a checkbook and tracking expenses were essential skills for managing finances. However, with the advent of online banking and digital payment methods, writing checks has become less common. Nowadays, the sight of someone pulling out a checkbook at the grocery store checkout might elicit bemused glances from those used to the convenience of credit cards and mobile payments.

#6 Sending Faxes

an old fax machine. Retro.
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Fax machines were once a staple of office life, essential for transmitting documents quickly and securely. The distinctive whirring and beeping sounds of a fax machine in action were familiar sights and sounds in workplaces around the world. However, with the arrival of email and digital document sharing, fax machines have become obsolete.

#7 Waiting for Printed Newspapers

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Waiting for the morning newspaper delivery was once a daily ritual for many households, with newspapers providing a source of news, entertainment, and information. The sound of the paper hitting the front porch was a familiar wake-up call for early risers. However, with the rise of digital news platforms and 24-hour news cycles, the idea of waiting for printed newspapers seems so strange.

#8 Drive-Thru Restaurants with Carhops

Customer inside a Car on a Drive Thru
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Drive-thru restaurants with carhops were popular hangouts in the mid-20th century, offering the novelty of dining in your car while being served by roller-skating servers. The spectacle of carhops zipping around parking lots delivering trays of burgers and shakes was a sight to behold. With the rise of fast-food chains and drive-thru windows, the tradition of carhop service has largely faded into obscurity.

#9 Pet Rocks

Pet Rock
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In the 1970s, pet rocks were a fad that swept the nation, marketed as low-maintenance pets that required no feeding or grooming. The novelty of owning a pet rock captured the imagination of the public, leading to millions of sales and a brief cultural phenomenon. With the passage of time, the idea of paying money for a rock seems absurd and frivolous.

#10 Greeting Cards

A Present and a Greeting Card
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Sending physical greeting cards for birthdays and holidays was once a widely practiced tradition. However, with the rise of social media messages, the use of physical cards has declined significantly. The convenience and immediacy of digital communication have rendered physical cards obsolete to many.

#11 Writing Letters

Person Writing Letter to Santa
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Handwritten letters were once a cherished form of communication, offering a personal touch that digital messages can’t quite replicate. The act of sitting down with pen and paper to compose a letter was a deliberate and thoughtful process. But today, the practice of writing letters has become less common with the use of email and instant messaging.

#12 Waiting in Bank Lines

Group of Men Forming a Line
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Waiting in line at the bank for transactions was once a routine part of managing finances. But with the convenience of online banking and mobile apps, the need for in-person transactions has decreased dramatically. Nowadays, the idea of standing in line at the bank is often seen as inefficient.

#13 Landline Telephones

Pin up retro girl talking on telephone
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Before the era of cell phones, landline telephones were ubiquitous fixtures in homes and offices, providing a reliable means of communication. The distinct ringing of a landline phone was a familiar sound in households around the world. But with the arrival of smartphones and wireless technology, landline telephones have become a relic of the past.

Disclaimer – This list is solely the author’s opinion based on research and publicly available information. 

15 Everyday Things Baby Boomers Had 40 Years Ago That Are Luxuries Now

woman wearing black cap holding bottle on white speedboat during daytime
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As we ride the waves of technological progress, manufacturing efficiencies and cheap supply chains, some everyday aspects that were once standard now seem like relics of a bygone era. Let us take a nostalgic trip down memory lane as social media users reminisce about luxuries that were once ordinary.

15 Everyday Things Baby Boomers Had 40 Years Ago That Are Luxuries Now

24 Momentous Things Boomers Lived Through

Young secretary working. Retro.
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In today’s hustle and bustle, it’s easy to overlook the big moments that shaped the Baby Boomer generation. From watching the Berlin Wall crumble to facing the challenges of the AIDS epidemic, Baby Boomers lived through some pretty intense times. Amidst all that, they also navigated a world where typewriters and floppy disks were the height of technology. In this slide show, we’ll take a trip down memory lane to explore the gadgets of Baby Boomers’ youth and the major political, economic, and social events that defined their generation.

24 Momentous Things Boomers Lived Through