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    25 Things Millennials Did Every Day That They Haven't Thought About In 15-Plus Years

    Yes kids, we lived like this.

    I think anyone who lived through the '90s will agree it was an awesome time to grow up! But explaining that time period to kids today makes it sound so dated that it seems like we grew up in the '50s. So in the spirit of looking back, here are 25 examples of the way we lived in the late '90s that really seem prehistoric.


    1. Having no internet.

    A '90s kid sitting at the family desktop computer looking at it
    Comstock / Getty Images

    It wasn't uncommon to be a kid in the late '90s and not have access to the internet at home for various reasons — including possibly living in an area that had no internet provider. In fact, in the year 2000, only 52% of US adults had internet access.

    2. If you did have internet, it was likely AOL and it was slow.


    In the late '90s, you could only use dial-up to get online, which was not only slow but also easy to get knocked off of. It also required the use of your home phone line (unless your family paid for a separate line), so if someone needed to talk on the phone, you would need to get off the internet.

    3. Online shopping was not really a thing, and you were basically stuck with whatever stores were around you.

    A photo from the third level of Houston's The Galleria looking down on the skating rink
    Nik Wheeler / Getty Images

    If you lived in a big city, then you obviously had a lot of places to shop at, but if you lived in a small town, you probably did your back-to-school clothes shopping at stores like JCPenney and whatever other local chains you had access to.

    4. Buying clothes from a catalog was pretty common.

    @deliascatalogs / Via

    It gave you and your parents options of stores that might not be near you, and it, again, was super common. You either called in your order over the phone or mailed in your order, and then you would wait...FOREVER.

    5. It wasn't uncommon to have to special-order something from your local store.

    Exterior sign for Borders Books & Music at night
    Scott Olson / Getty Images

    Like I said earlier, online shopping wasn't a thing, and depending on where you lived, you might not have a lot of options in terms of stores. So, for example, if you wanted a certain book and Borders didn't have it in stock (and they weren't getting any in), they could special-order it and have it delivered to the store. You would then wait and go back to the store whenever they called you to tell you it was in. (I realize that special orders aren't 100% something that has disappeared, but today, if you couldn't find something at the store, you could literally order it online on your phone right then and there and have it delivered to your house quickly.)

    6. Getting gift certificates (not gift cards) that resembled cash for your birthday.

    A $10 Toys "R" Us Geoffrey dollar

    Instead of giving you cash, a relative could give you a gift certificate that they would buy in a preset dollar amount (this was because, at the time, stores didn't have the technology to track gift cards yet). The best part was that depending on a store's policy, you could basically buy something very cheap and get the remaining balance back in cash.

    7. Making mixtapes.

    An old mixed tape found amongst a pile of audio cassettes.
    Waymoreawesomer / Getty Images

    Obviously, CDs were the technology we used to listen to our music. But if we wanted to make a mix, we would need to make it on a cassette tape — 'cause CD burners and blank CDs at the time were incredibly expensive and not really something many people had. It was a bit of headache to make a mixtape, since you needed to have all of your music picked out ahead of time; plus, you had to do the math to make sure all the songs fit on each side without being cut off.

    Also, if you wanted to make a copy of an album that a friend owned, it would also have to be on cassette tape.

    8. Using pay phones regularly.

    A person putting a quarter into a payphone about to make a call
    Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

    They were everywhere. Need your parents to pick you up from school or the mall? You'd find a pay phone and call them.

    9. Giving your parents the phone number to your friend's house.

    A girl talking on the phone as her friend looks one eating a lollipop
    Mark Peterson / Getty Images

    Ah yes, those pre-cellphone times. If you went over to your friend's house and your parents didn't know their parents, you would usually give them the phone number in case they needed to reach you. The reverse was also true: If your parents went to their friend's party or something, they would leave you the number of the house they would be at in case you needed to reach them.

    10. Having to write down all your friends’ or family’s phone numbers.

    A hand holding a notebook with a list of phone numbers on it

    Again, those pre-cellphone times, when you needed a physical phone book to write down numbers (it was either that or memorize them all).

    11. Having to wait for people to call you back if you paged them.

    A hand holding a black pager
    Comstock / Getty Images

    Cellphones were still pretty expensive in the late '90s, so a lot of people didn't have one, but especially not young people. So if your older sibling, parent, or friend had a beeper, you could page them to have them call you back. Basically, you'd call their pager number and enter the number you wanted them to call you back at and then wait. If it was a more sophisticated beeper, you could leave them a voicemail that they could check (but they would still need to find a phone in order to check their voicemail).

    12. Looking up a phone number you needed in the Yellow Pages.

    A open yellow book with a finger pointing towards a number
    Jhorrocks / Getty Images

    Couldn't remember the number to the local pizza place? Pull out the Yellow Pages! You could also dial 411 and talk to a live operator who would give you the number, but that cost each time you did it.

    13. There was really only one place to watch movie the movies.

    View this video on YouTube

    Star Wars / Via

    That was part of the excitement of going to the movies (not that people don't like seeing trailers before the movies now; just that back then, it was basically the only way to see them). Although E! did have a weekly TV show, Coming Attractions, that was devoted to showing trailers.

    14. Calling your local movie theater to see what movies were playing and what time (if you didn't get the newspaper).

    A screen shot for MovieFone
    Matthew Baron / Via

    It was an automated system, so you didn't have to talk to a human, luckily.

    15. Not documenting every moment with a photo.

    Two photos of a little kid going down park slides with his relatives

    We certainly didn't have camera phones, and digital cameras were almost nonexistent, so photos were taken with film (which cost money and then cost money to develop and print), usually on the old point-and-shoot. For that reason, documenting every moment was not something most people did.

    16. Having no idea what the photos you took would look like.

    An envelope for Kodak photo development

    Literally, you had no idea what you looked like in photos until your parents got the film developed. Usually, you would take one or two extra photos in the same pose just to make sure you got at least one good one.

    17. If you and your family went to Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom, it meant waiting in long lines if you wanted to get on a ride, 'cause there was NO Fast Pass.

    A photo of Cory and Shawn with Beast in front of Cinderella's Castle taken for an episode of Boy Meets World
    ABC Photo Archives / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

    And you'd also have to talk to the people you were with 'cause there was no other way to entertain yourself.

    18. Having no idea half the time — particularly with afternoon cartoons — whether you were watching a rerun or a new episode.

    An ad in TV Guide promoting The Nanny and Maggie Winters
    CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images

    You'd either have to pay attention to the commercials or check the TV Guide to know.

    19. Knowing how to program your VCR to record if you weren't going to be home to catch an episode of your favorite TV show.

    A set of blank tapes with Friends and Dawsons Creek written on them
    Twitter: @ecyhr21

    Yes, people would sometimes schedule their lives around TV shows. It came down to the fact that if you missed an episode of your favorite TV show, you had ZERO idea when the rerun would air. If you knew how to program your VCR, then you could make a VHS tape of the episode and not worry. Also, if you loved a TV show, you could record it so that you could watch the episode again anytime.

    20. Having to watch a VHS movie as a family 'cause for the most part, everyone had to share the VCR and TV.

    A mom, daughter, and dad sitting on a couch watching a scary movie while eating popcorn
    Comstock / Getty Images

    VCRs were expensive, so not everyone in the household had one in their room.

    21. Watching MTV video blocks in hopes of catching a music video that you liked.

    A screenshot from Spice Girls' Say You'll Be There music video of them in the desert
    Spice Girls/

    Just sitting there for like an hour, hoping they'd play "Say You'll Be There" by the Spice Girls at some point.

    22. Entering contests through the mail.

    A magazine cutout of an All That contest

    Of course, you had to make sure it wasn't too late to enter (since you might have gotten your magazine or entry form later).

    23. Having to buy magazines and booklets if you needed cheat codes and level layouts for particular video games.

    A Players Guide for Mario Kart 64 with Mario driving a kart on the cover

    Another option was to either borrow a friend's copy (write down the cheat codes) or copy someone else's handwritten cheat codes.

    24. Calling your local video store to see if they still had copies of a new release of a movie or video game to rent (which were always quick to run out).

    The sign for Blockbuster
    Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

    They usually wouldn't hold new releases, either, so if they did have it, you had to ask your parents to drive down ASAP.

    25. And last, only being able to learn the lyrics to a song by reading them from the album's liner notes.

    A kid laying on the floor looking at CDs while listening to his CD walkman
    Comstock / Getty Images

    Honestly, there was no worse feeling than when you wanted to read along to the lyrics, only to see that the liner notes didn't contain them.

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