Times are changing, and so are the common objects that we use every day. Think back to the items past generations used every day that we all now balk at, from typewriters to rotary phones. So which of the things we use every day will soon be completely useless? Check out this list — before all of these items start cropping up in vintage stores.
Lock the door and throw away the key. Or, maybe just throw away the key. Pretty soon, having gigantic key chains that we all have to find room for in our pockets will be a thing of the past. No more jingling, and no more frantically making sure we left the house and remembered our keys.
Just like workplaces have chips or use other technology to sign in each day, pretty soon homes will rely on similar functions, whether that be key fobs, fingerprints, or Bluetooth technology. In fact, some newer homes already have a Bluetooth option instead of those old-fashioned manual key things.
2. Parking Meters
All those parking meters had better get their fill now, because pretty soon there will be no one left to feed them. There is nothing that ruins a perfectly good day quite like coming back to your car and finding a parking ticket plastered against the front windshield. And while tickets sadly will not soon be a thing of the past, parking meters might be.
Many cities have already begun to implement online options for parking meters, where drivers can log onto an app and pay their parking fees right from their cell phones, and that trend is only expected to catch on. No more having to dig through purses and pockets for all of that loose change!
3. Side View Mirrors
While the objects in a side view mirror may be closer than they appear, the side view mirrors themselves are closer to being extinct than anyone might realize. With the technology in cars quickly advancing, it is not the craziest thought that side view mirrors might be in the rear view mirror pretty soon.
Today, more and more cars come with the option to use cameras that show the driver what is behind them, instead of traditional rear view mirrors. Some predict that car dealers may give the side view mirrors the same treatment, letting drivers use video cameras instead, and helping them avoid those dangerous blind spots.
Password requirements these days are getting so complicated that it is hard for us to even remember our own. They need to be 17 characters long, include upper case and lower case, probably have to include a symbol and, oh wait, they also cannot be anything similar to a previous password.
With all of those rules, it becomes hard for us to sign in to our own accounts. But the new age of passwords can be seen now in just about every iPhone. Experts predict that in the next few years, using scans of thumbprints or even our own faces will take the places of passwords. And unlike written passwords, it is pretty hard to forget either of those things.
5. Headphones With Cords
The move away from corded headphones started fairly quietly. Before anyone even really noticed, more and more wireless headphones that could connect to Bluetooth were taking up space on store shelves. Then, with breathtaking speed, Apple came out with a new iPhone that no longer even included a port to plug in standard headphones.
With the introduction of Airpods, Apple solidified the death of corded headphones once and for all. Future generations, it seems, will never truly understand the character-building experience that comes with the pain of having to unraveling headphone wires after tangling beyond comprehension in a pocket or purse.
One of the worst feelings is that stomach-dropping moment when someone realizes that they have lost their wallet. But given the current march of technological advances, in the future, everyone might want to consider permanently losing their wallets, without any feelings of panic or nausea whatsoever.
Think about it. With new programs like Apple Pay and Apple Wallet, soon enough having a wallet will be unnecessary. Our technology makes it so that important credit card information, gift cards, and rewards cards are all saved to the devices that everyone already carries around. Soon enough, people might want to lessen their load and decide to ditch the wallet entirely.
7. Public Pay Phones
Public pay phone booths might make for a great photo backdrop, but that does not mean they are worth keeping around, especially because no one seems to use them anymore. Of course, back in the days before cell phones were commonplace, phone booths were a staple for most cities and towns. But those days are long gone.
Now, basically everyone has a cell phone and no one needs to pay to use a public phone. Instead, they use their cell phone to snap pictures of the now-obsolete public phones. Some places like New York City are trying to figure out new uses for public phone booths, so time will only tell what will come of these relics of the past.
For anyone who is pinching their pennies, they’d better make a wish and hold on a little tighter. In the foreseeable future, those little copper pennies might only be available in our memories. Over the years, people might have noticed that pennies are getting more and more useless as people chose to pay for things with credit cards or good old-fashioned dollar bills.
If anyone wanted our two cents, we’d say that pennies are more cumbersome than anything, and producing the small coins cost a pretty penny. They actually require more resources to manufacture than the pennies are ultimately worth. So say goodbye to all of that change jingling around.
9. Paper Bills
Sending bills by mail might not exactly fit the bill when it comes to the future of payment notifications. For the last few decades, electric companies, gas companies, banks, credit cards, and just about any other institution would send their bills through the mail. But times are already starting to change.
Due in part to efforts to save the environment and due in part to just convenience, companies are increasingly starting to deliver bills in alternative ways. Some companies are giving costumers the option to opt out of paper billing and instead pay bills online, through an app or another porthole.
10. Cash Registers
Will the next completely useless object please step up to the register? In a short while, the cash register itself will be added to the list of everyday items that are totally out of date. And anyone who has been to a farmer’s market or boutique lately has probably already noticed.
Small business owners are increasingly making sales online rather than using cash registers. And even in brick and mortar stores and in markets across the country, cash registers are being replaced with other technologies. Apps like Square make it so that with just one simple plug-in, an iPad can add “cash register” to its long list of capabilities.
11. Phone Chargers
Almost everyone has been the position where their phone is on 1% and they are trying desperately to find a phone charger. Or, perhaps worse, they have found themselves attached to a wall just because their phone needs some good plug-in time. And almost everyone has been in that awkward position where they have to shout out the question: “Does anyone have a phone charger?”
Thank goodness, some tech experts say that phones might soon be self-charging. Although so far no one is exactly sure what that might look like, phones could soon come with the ability to charge just by being connected by WiFi or by other wireless means.
12. Drivers License
It has become a rite of passage for teenagers. For years, they dream about the moment. And for months, they spend hours studying rule books and enduring driving lessons with their loved ones, all just for the special moment when they finally pass their exams and receive a coveted drivers license.
And we are not saying that this coming-of-age story will soon be gone. Instead, we are saying that the future might not mean that teens will receive a physical drivers license. Instead, these documents might be available online. And who knows, will self driving cars coming out, we might not need a license at all.
13. Shopping Malls
We’ve seen the sale signs, and we are not talking about clearance sales at department stores. Instead, we are seeing For Sale signs popping up everywhere across the country where huge, sprawling malls once stood. Now, these same malls are closing down as buildings that used to be the center of the shopping world are full of vacant stores.
Malls are becoming increasingly obsolete as online shopping is swiftly becoming the new norm. Why have to schlep all the way to the local shopping mall when we can all do the same thing without having to leave the comfort of our couch?
14. Video Cameras
Were there even family events in the 1990s that did not include a video camera? Camcorders used to be all the rage, as dads all around the world would be handed the task of having to record family events for the always embarrassing family home videos.
These days, camcorders just are not where they used to be. Instead of being a necessity for a family party, camcorders are now tucked away in the back of closets. With video recording functions on just about every phone, everyone has a built-in camcorder right in their pocket that is not nearly as bulky as an old school video camera.
Standing in a never-ending line might be one of the most frustrating experiences. And do not even get us started about those lines that truly never seem to move an inch. But instead of being one of those people who cuts the line, maybe in the future we can cut lines out entirely.
Some have predicted that long lines might be on the way out within the next few decades. We are already seeing the end to the virtual line, as more companies are starting to give the option to have a phone operator call back once a representative is ready. In the future, maybe we could see a world where our cards are automatically charged once we leave stores with items.
16. Printed Books
Does anyone else remember the days when we all dreamed of having a Beauty and the Beast-sized library with books from floor to ceiling? Maybe that’s just us. But today, anyone can basically snag just as many books, all saved onto a tablet reader like an Amazon Kindle. Not nearly as romantic or awe-inspiring, if you ask us.
The fact that actual physical paper books are becoming less popular should come as no surprise, as bookstores have been closing down at a pretty alarming rate. But pretty soon, we could be in a whole new world where one has to “turn on” a book rather than opening it up. And that’s a pretty scary story.
There was once a time when thinking about paper as obsolete would have been seen as absolutely ridiculous. But think about all of the times that anyone lately has been handed a piece of paper, and then think about the technologies that have developed that make printing that paper something that is now completely unnecessary.
Any paper bill, packet of papers, booklet, invitation, or other paper product could instead be replaced by a digital option. Not only would that save tons of money on ink and paper, but it would also help save the planet. True, getting a wedding invite emailed instead of sent via mail may not be as thrilling, but it still delivers the same message.
18. Digital Cameras
There was once a time when everyone had a digital camera. These little gadgets became the unofficial guest star of any vacation or special event, and everyone was trying to get their hands on the latest make and model. And then, something changed.
What exactly shifted? We are going to go ahead and guess that it has a lot to do with smartphones, and the fact that now everyone has a surprisingly capable camera prepackaged into their phones. Some of the cameras in smartphones have even surpassed the quality of your average digital camera. So when it comes to digital cameras, take a picture. It will last longer.
19. Hard Drives
Was anyone even technologically up to date in the early 2000s if they did not have their own personal hard drive to lug around? We think not. But times are changing, and so is the frequency at which we see anyone actually carrying around their own hard drive today.
Instead, anyone who wants to back up their information no longer has to carry around a big hunk of metal. Concepts like the Apple Cloud or Google Drive will take care of all of that without any of that heavy hardware as people move forward into a new era of computer memory storage.
20. Print Newspapers
There was a time when trains, lobbies, and buses were filled with people who had their heads down, reading the daily edition of their local newspaper. Today, that sight is usually replaced by hundreds of people staring down into the abyss of their smartphones. It’s not that people aren’t reading the news; it’s just that people are no longer reading the paper edition.
In recent years, newspapers across the world are trying to figure out how to reconstruct their business models to reflect this shift away from print newspapers. While some are setting up paywalls for their online publications, others are significantly cutting back on their paper sales. But soon we could reach a time when newspaper printing is cut out entirely — and the trees might just thank us for it.
21. Neighborhood Post Boxes
Good old snail mail is unfortunately proving in recent years that slow and steady does not always win the race — at least not the race to the 22nd century. And while the act of hand-writing and then mailing a traditional letter has gone out of style, it also means that the blue mailboxes that help deliver these old-fashioned messages are on the way out as well.
The blue mailboxes from the U.S. Postal Service that can be found on street corners everywhere across the country may soon been uprooted from their posts. As more people rely on means of communication such as email and text messages, they’re just not sending mail like they used to.
22. College Textbooks
Call it the worst coming of age story ever. When teenagers finally get to go away to college, there’s always that oh so welcoming feeling of going to the bookstore and finding out just how much that gigantic stack of textbooks is going to cost.
As if paying the sky-high prices for schooling, room and board, a meal plan, and everything else that comes with a college degree weren’t enough, the school will then require students to shell out hundreds just for a few textbooks. And after all of that, some of these classes do not even use the full textbook. Instead, some colleges are finally realizing the error of their ways and offering alternatives to textbooks, like a free packet with all of the useful information.
Yes, that’s right. Nearly everyone’s least favorite part of going to the doctor as children (or as adults?) might soon be gone. That being said, we definitely hope the lollipops and themed Band-Aids remain. For years, scientists and other medical professionals have been working on developing an alternative to vaccinations through injections.
Instead, scientists are taking time to make those who are needle-phobic a little less scared by the process of getting a vaccination. And reports say that some doctors are getting close to offering alternatives, such as the ability to take vaccinations orally through pills. In time, this new process might become the new reality.
24. Lighters In Cars
Just like seeing an ashtray in an airplane can be a pretty good hint to flyers that a plane has been around for a long time, built-in lighters in cars can be a good indicator of the age of a car for drivers and riders alike. Remember when seeing these gadgets in cars used to be extremely commonplace?
Nowadays, most if not all car manufacturers have replaced these built-in lighters with more universally useful tools. For the most part, car companies now provide their drivers with ports for charging cell phones in place of the old lighter plug-in, encouraging a habit of a different nature.
Going to pick up a few DVDs to keep a family entertained through the weekend used to be the thing to do on a Friday night — but not anymore. Does anyone else remember when Netflix used to even have its own service where it would deliver DVDs to our doors for titles it did not offer online? Oh, how times have changed so quickly.
We would not be surprised if we started seeing DVDs begin to pop up in vintage stores pretty soon. With streaming services like the aforementioned Netflix, along with Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Go, DVDs have become obsolete, and overall just unnecessary.
26. Answering Machines
“You have one new message.” We’re kidding, no one has any new messages anymore, at least not on their answering machines. For the last few years, answering machines have been on a steady decline, as less and less people are prone to leaving a voice message.
Instead, people today most likely have caller ID on their phones and will know whose calls they missed, so leaving a voice message on an answering machine has become redundant. And when all else fails, many have turned to text messages to let a friend know that they tried to call rather than the traditional voice message.
27. Television Remotes
We cannot begin to talk about how many times we have had to dig our hands deep into our couch cushions during desperate searches for television remotes. And we have to admit, usually the remote is in a much more obvious location. But those days will soon be in the past!
Many devices like Apple TV and Roku allow for users to download a remote control onto their cell phones using apps. Others have increasingly begun to use voice commands or other functions. So no more searching for the remote or arguing with roommates about who gets to control the television.
28. GPS Devices
At the intersection, make a slight right, and then throw the GPS device out of the window. Okay, maybe do not be that dramatic. We just mean to say that the GPS devices that were once connected into cars are now taking the next exit.
Just like the paper maps that came before them, GPS devices have become casualties to advances in technology. People are no longer plugging in a GPS device on long road trips, but instead they are using their phones for Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, or other apps. And when it doubt, many cars now come with built in GPS devices.
Did anyone hear that noise? We are going to go ahead and guess that whatever it was, it probably was not the ring of a landline or home phone. That is because these days no one seems to use their home phones anymore.
Instead of using home phones or landlines people are more frequently making calls using cell phones. We would be hard pressed to find anyone who knew their home phone number anymore, or even had a home phone. In 2004, over 90 percent of homes in the United States had a landline. But in 2019, that number had fallen dramatically, and only about 40 percent of people said they had a home phone.
30. Check books
The check book is about to have a huge reality check. After years when just about every functioning adult had a checkbook in their purse or buried in a drawer in their home, the check book seems like it is checking out.
That is because people just are not writing checks anymore like they used to. At work, many businesses are utilizing the direct deposit option, erasing the need for checks. Otherwise, sites like PayPal or apps like Venmo have made it so that exchanging money can be done in a way that is much easier and no longer requires anyone whipping out their check books.
31. Long Distance Charges
Long distance charges have a tendency to rack up incredibly fast. Calling a friend or partner who lived overseas used to cost an arm and leg for just a few minutes of speaking over the phone. Talk about investing in a relationship. But hold the phone, something is about to change.
It might not be long before long distance calling charges are a thing of the past. More and more often, cell phone carriers are including at least a few minutes of long distance calls to their phone plans. But with apps like Viber, WhatsApp, and Skype, there is not really even a need for a long distance plan. These apps offer calls to anywhere on the planet for free.
32. Alarm Clocks
There are few things that are less pleasant than the loud chirps that come from a standard alarm clock. And let’s be honest, it definitely is not the most calming way to wake up in the morning. And this might be one of the reasons why alarm clocks are becoming unpopular.
Beyond being generally unpleasant, there does not seem to be a need anymore for standard alarm clocks, especially when many people have their cell phones next to their beds anyway. Today, people tend to use their cell phone alarms in place of alarm clocks, and more phones and apps are offering ways for new alarms to track sleeping patterns.
33. Reference Books
We remember reference books. They were those gigantic books that usually were not allowed to be checked out of the public libraries, and required anyone who wants to use them to lug those heavy things to a table and carefully leaf through them, page by page.
But that common experience might just be a distant memory for many of us. Reference books are no longer as useful as they used to be, as other alternatives have become more popular. The Internet is basically just a gigantic, more manageable reference book anyway. And even dictionaries and thesauruses have their own websites and apps these days.
34. Thumb Drives
We are not going to thumb our noses at thumb drives. For years, these devices that could fit right in the palm of one’s hand had the power to store a ton of information. Thumb drives were easy to manage, easy to use, and extremely easy to bring around in a backpack or right in a pocket.
So why is something that is so useful and easy finding itself becoming useless? Well, the only thing easier than carrying around data in a pocket is not carrying it around at all. By that we mean that new technology like cloud storage makes it so that thumb drives are no longer necessary.
35. Fax Machines
The fax machine has been around for over 160 years. And according to some people’s opinions, the fax machine has been around a bit too long. What used to be the modern way to communicate is now seen as being old school and out of style.
The fax machine for years have been threatened as more advanced technology such as email, instant messaging on apps like Facebook and WhatsApp, and simple text messages have become increasingly popular. Still, the fax machine is holding on to its life due to the amount of government offices, hospitals, and prisons that still utilize this dying technology.
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