8 Things You Probably Forgot You Did Before the Internet

Enable By Stefan Zechner Mar 30, 2017

Technology has come so far in the last 20 years that it’s hard to remember what life was like before the internet and smartphones became ubiquitous. Here are some everyday things we used to do that should make anyone with slow internet speeds feel grateful.

1. Looking up movie times in the paper

Remember looking in the newspaper or sitting on an infuriating phone call with Moviefone to get show times? And forget Rotten Tomatoes and YouTube trailers, the newspaper was also the only place to look up reviews.

2. Memorizing phone numbers

We used to know all of our best friends’ and family members’ numbers by heart. Raise your hand if you know a single phone number you’ve gotten in the last 10 years. Now put your hand down, no one can see you.

3. Buying music at a physical store

Going to the music store to buy a CD used to be considered fun, which shows just how much better life has gotten since the internet became standard.

Imagine going to the store, sorting through thousands of CDs, paying $20 for an album that only has a few good songs, and then spending ten minutes peeling the adhesive off the case to open it. Then smile, and remember it’s 2017.

4. Going to the bank to get your account balance

Throwback to overdraw roulette. As exciting as that was, we’d trade banking apps for waiting in line to check our balance any day.

5. Creating mix tapes for your crush

Sending the link to a Spotify playlist just doesn’t have the charm as hand-picking the perfect mix to fit on your 80-minute CD-R and scribbling on a clever title to match. Then again, see number three on this list. No thanks.

6. Using a map to get places

Everyone remembers printing out MapQuest maps to get from A to B. Or how about using an actual map? We bet you don’t miss that!

7. Renting movies at a store

Blockbuster was the place to be before Netflix came along. Though the movie store seemed fun at the time, looking back, the experience usually consisted of being disappointed that the new releases were all rented out, choosing a couple old movies based on their box cover, quickly watching them in 48 hours, and rewinding (if you were kind).

8. Paying your bills via snail mail or phone

From saving the environment to saving time, paying bills online is an improvement in every imaginable way. Not only can we set-and-forget recurring payments, we can now go on vacation without worrying about missing a pesky bill. Plus, you may be able to earn credit card1 points by paying many bills online with the Western Union® bill pay service.

Nostalgic as these things may be, they were time-consuming ordeals frustrating enough to be lampooned on Seinfeld. The internet has made everything from sending money to booking flights possible in a few taps of the smartphone, and we’re not looking back.

1Card issuer cash advance fee and associated interest charges may apply. Use a debit card to avoid these fees and charges.