10 things we remember from the '80s that hardly exist today

These things got us through the '80s. Today, they hardly exist in everyday life.

As time has passed, the inventions and innovations of the '80s no longer seem that cutting-edge or sleek. They almost feel extinct. From phone books as heavy as bricks (or what felt like it!) to being able to rent a movie from Blockbuster, the '80s offered a variety of items and services that we don't see very much of today.

Below are 10 things from the '80s that hardly exist today. Some of these things are missed, while others we can thank technology and other services for replacing.

Can you think of some other things that were part of everyday life in the '80s that are hardly used or mentioned today? Tell us below. 

1. Phone Books

Oh, how we remember the 300-something paged books that would show up on our doorstep. From looking up businesses, calling an old friend and even setting up the perfect prank call, phone books were the ultimate contacts list.

Why it's on the list: Phone books still exist but they are used on a more rare occasion. With the ability to look up information at any given time and with the use of cell phones, we no longer need the hefty book. Do you still use a phone book?

Image credit: Pinterest.com

2. Payphones

Remember making phone calls for around 25 cents per call? Those were the days. We'd like the price of a phone call in the '80s with the same technology we use today, please! 

Why it's on the list: Although you may still see payphones occasionally, they have been mostly replaced with cell phones. When is the last time you have seen a payphone and where?

Image credit: Unsplash.com

3. Magazine Posters

Tiger Beat, Bop and Seventeen: the place where you could find all your favorite celebrities, juicy gossip and the best part...the posters! Many of us remember tearing out pages and taping them to our walls to look at over and over again.

Why it's on the list: While it's still common to see posters on the walls of tweens, teens and even adults... the internet has caused posters coming from print magazines to decrease. How many posters did your bedroom have on its walls?

Image credit: Pinterest.com

4. Waterbeds

Waterbeds were very common in the mid-'80s. One in five people owned a waterbed. Were you one of them? 

Why it's on the list: Although waterbeds are still around today and some people prefer them, most find them too heavy and high maintenance. Plus, with the advances in mattresses in general, you can buy a light-weight, water-free mattress without the potential for mold!

5. Blockbuster and Movie Rentals

Streaming services are everywhere and they are releasing new content daily. Thousands of shows, movies and more are available with a click of a button. With the rise of streaming services came the decline of companies such as Blockbuster. Blockbuster was founded in 1985 and shut its doors in 2014.

Why it's on the list: R.I.P. Blockbuster. 

6. Watching music videos on MTV

The first MTV music video premiered in 1981. Were you one of the first to watch it? Most kids today don't realize that before the reality TV shows and sitcoms, MTV was known for playing music videos. It was one of the original ways to find new music before the Spotify and Apple Music days.

Why it's on the list: Of course you can still choose to spend all day watching music videos, but the days of watching them on MTV are long gone.

7. Cabbage Patch Dolls

Sure, kids can still find ways to get their hands on a Cabbage Patch Doll, but will they ever really understand the sensation that started in the '80s? You can find some versions of the dolls selling on sites like Etsy and eBay.

Why it's on the list: With many other toys to choose from, nothing will be quite like getting your very own Cabbage Patch Doll.

8. Indoor Smoking

In some places, specifically in many casinos and bowling alleys, you can still get a whiff of that distinct smell from years of smoking. Smoking indoors was banned in 2007. This was due to increased health risks and complaints from non-smokers.

Why it's on the list: Although smoking is still allowed, it's rare to find someone smoking a cigarette inside any establishment nowadays.

Image credit: Unsplash.com

9. Shopping Malls

With sites like Amazon delivering anything you could want in two days or less, many people aren't rushing to do in-person shopping. There are fewer than 1,000 malls left in the U.S.

Why it's on the list: Many malls in hometowns and cities have closed, or at least a lot of the shops in them have closed. Do you still enjoy having a shopping spree in a mall?

Image credit: Huffington Post

10. Paper maps

Remember wrestling with a map while trying to pinpoint the next turn you need to make? We can all thank GPS systems in cars and in apps that tell us exactly what to do.

Why it's on the list: There are some people who still prefer to look at a map on paper, but it seems like the younger generations may never know what it's like.

Image credit: Unsplash.com

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L 18 months ago
I have three Cabbage Patch dolls. The original is Olive Myrna; if she were a real person, she'd be almost 40 years old.
Watched MTV while doing homework (college level).
I miss the malls. Meet Ma outside (name store) at (name time). Most have become "plazas" instead. Same location, different stores, different layout.
First legal alcoholic drink 1983.
bunnyhop 18 months ago
Pretty soon now the younger generation we're not even know what real money looks like even know what the physical dollar or coin is
geatornez82 18 months ago
They still make Cabbage Patch Kids.
JohnMortensen508 18 months ago
Remember these it was better days in my view.
michael 18 months ago
They missed video arcade's and remember many flavors of popcorn.
DocForbin 18 months ago
I guess you forgot about that Blockbuster that's still operating in Oregon.
Tresix DocForbin 18 months ago
Thanks, Doc. I was going crazy trying to remember where the one remaining Blockbuster was located.
wyo307pink 18 months ago
Still sleeping on my waterbed, NEVER have I had a ‘mold’ issue !?! Wtaf
Rick 18 months ago
The Sony Walkman was ubiquitous.
Bricat2001 Rick 18 months ago
My dad still has his, he has a massive tape collection that he listens to, it’s mostly classic rock and country
JimmyD 18 months ago
I miss Sears and Radio Shack. I don't miss indoor smoking, but it irritates me that the nanny state banned it instead of letting the market dictate what happens like it should. Last pay phone I noticed was the one I used in the early 2000s when my car broke down and my cell was at home. I miss the world without the internet, it was better in every way imaginable.
Catman JimmyD 18 months ago
" I miss the world without the internet, it was better in every way imaginable. "
And yet, here you are.
Pacificsun Catman 18 months ago
What an interesting discussion. Perhaps, what's needed, is a filter on the internet. Can anyone spell the word "impartial." I shall say no more.

But in terms of replacing the encyclopedia (facts and figures and real stuff) by all means, it's necessary. We can fix all kinds of things nowadays. And learn interesting bits of trivia. And hey, learn from each other! That's part of the fun of exchanging here. I mean, in decades, we never even knew how isolated we were (socially and informationally speaking). I just believe that it's objectivity should be preserved.
WayneKeith Catman 18 months ago
The world was better off when tiktoks were just a breath mint.
Moverfan WayneKeith 6 months ago
That's Tic Tacs, but I hear you...
327053 18 months ago
Miss the 80s!!! Going to the mall for an Orange Julius, Hot Dog on a Stick, and playing for hours at Aladdin’s Castle arcade. Montgomery Wards for toys! Miss the 80s! 😔
Rob 327053 18 months ago
I miss the 80’s too.
Gossemer 327053 18 months ago
So true, so true. After games and OJ we'd go to Wilson's leather store and try on jackets. The malls rocked.
Rob Gossemer 18 months ago
I loved the way that Wilson’s smelled.
Moverfan 327053 6 months ago
My sister and I used to just get the lemonade at Hot Dog On A Stick (doctor appointments and tongue depressors in childhood gave her a strong dislike for wooden sticks anywhere near her mouth). The regular lemonade was good and so was the strawberry lemonade...it did taste a bit like St. Joseph Aspirin For Children, but it was good...
MichaelVegas 18 months ago
I still go to Malls, as here in Vegas there is about 15 of them (not counting strip malls) but yes it seems all of them have some closed stores in them and I think one Mall in town here has so little stores in the food court and no one is really in it, it will probably be gone in a few years, but other ones are pretty full.
Oh and I still miss blockbuster, there is nothing like walking in and walking looking for a movie, now I probably spend more time looking for something to watch on Netflix then watching things, plus I was a manager of a blockbuster, fun times
CJLV MichaelVegas 18 months ago
❤️ my Galleria Mall in Henderson and the Premium Outlets South
Deleted 18 months ago
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musicman37 18 months ago
I agree with you except for one thing: Man made God, not the other way around. Protect yourself from all the evils you list, but stop living in a Christian-induced fantasy world. They are not God-given rights. They are HUMAN RIGHTS.
JimmyD 18 months ago
Atheism is a religion that relies on faith also. Stop trying to convert others to your beliefs.
gregm02001 18 months ago
WRONG ! ! ! GOD Made Man ! ! ! GOD Made The Universe ! ! !
gregm02001 9 months ago
Jesus Is King !
KellyTenace 18 months ago
I'm not sure I miss even one of those.

1. Phone books - The White Pages are online now.

2. Payphones - Got my cellphone, way (!) more convenient

3. Magazine posters - Um, they still have magazines, posters, and even magazine posters. If you still want that.

4. Water beds - Yuck. Great for bouncing on as a kid, terrible for sleeping on.

5. Video rental places - Yeah, uh, I am happy just to instantly stream stuff, as opposed to having to do to go to all the bother of going out to a store, having to chose just a couple or few at most, handle something that dozens to hundreds of others have handled before (more than once we found some kinda crud on ours when we opened the box, some people are real pigs!), then have to trek back to the store to return it. It also cost the same for just two or three movies as it does not for any streaming service for a month. Oh and if someone says they miss the *experience* of going to those places, okay maybe I'll give you that if that was your thing, but is it really worth the trade off?

6. Music videos - These are still all over, what are you talking about? Just not on MTV.

7. Cabbage Patch dolls - Never had one, didn't care then, can't now, I guess.

8. Indoor smoking - Um. Obviously nobody misses this.

9. Shopping malls - I dunno, I never cared for them much, and now that we can buy everything onlne or in one stop at a giant big box store, I'm pretty happy.

10 - Paper maps - Aw, come on. Does anyone really want those unwieldy things as opposed to a nice, accurate GPS system? If anyone's nostalgia is that hardcore, I dare you to take separate trips to two different places you are unfamiliar with. One with a big paper map, the other with a GPS. Then tell me how much you miss those maps.
jomo KellyTenace 18 months ago
Paper maps are the only thing I miss. They are bigger and easier to read than a phone. If you need to take a quick glance at the map while driving, it is right there. No need to fumble with your phone or risk having a cop stop you for illegal use of you phone. You can write on the map and have your route highlighted.
KellyTenace jomo 18 months ago
Wait, do you even drive? Nobody gets stopped for using a GPS. Ever. In fact it's encouraged as much safer than having to look down and fumble with a map or whatnot. You either made that up or you don't even drive.
JimmyD jomo 18 months ago
The maps I used as a tow truck driver weren't the folding tourist type, they were spiral bound over sized pages with an indexed grid. Everything was easy to find.
RichLorn jomo 18 months ago
In addition, sometimes you don't want the fastest route a GPS provides. On a road trip, the road less traveled provides more local flavor than an 8 lane interstate.
Moverfan JimmyD 9 months ago
I'm not familiar with those (sounds pretty cool though), but I remember going on vacation with my folks when I was a kid and my dad would go to AAA to get a TripTik. Spiral-bound at the top, about the same length as a school folder and the width of a paperback book with the needed maps and the route marked out...that was the sign we were leaving SOON.
Michael 18 months ago
Notice how Tiger Beat just happenns to have John Stamos on the cover. I wonder how m uch MeTV paid for that issue.
KellyTenace Michael 18 months ago
Nuthin', I'm sure. I can google it and so can you.
Pacificsun Michael 18 months ago
I believe they only have to give credit on images which have a copyright. They didn't always do that before, but within the last couple of years, they've been much more careful. I think a subscription can be acquired for Getty and Everett Images, which they use a lot for their entertainment articles.
LalaLucy 18 months ago
Really miss the Blockbuster days. It was fun to discover movies that way. We have a movie checkout at our library we use sometimes though. Our little town is pretty much in the middle of nowhere so it's kind of one of the only fun things we have. 😄
KellyTenace LalaLucy 18 months ago
Was it fun to get the box home, open it up, and find chewed food or something stuck to it somewhere? lol. Cuz we never liked that part. Although, I suppose it there was nothing else to do, though...
Bricat2001 LalaLucy 18 months ago
I miss the video rental places as well, we didn’t have blockbuster in our area, we had family video which shut down 2 years ago :(
LalaLucy KellyTenace 18 months ago
Lol. We were lucky, I guess. Never encountered that.
Charlotte 18 months ago
I still have 2 original cabbage patch dolls that were my daughter's from the late 80's.
StrayCat 18 months ago
That Amazon 2 day delivery has become a myth. I order fairly frequently from Amazon, and most orders take longer than 2 days to arrive because there's usually a rather lengthy delay between placing the order and the actual shipping, which is when that 2 day arrival clock begins.
LalaLucy StrayCat 18 months ago
Yep. A lot of my experiences have been just fine, but, I can say they are taking longer than before. Also, more than once, I have had something get "lost" only to be magically "found" once I opened a complaint.
Michael StrayCat 18 months ago
I just use the "free shipping if you spend over $35" . Usually comes fast enough, and paying is just a day or so earlier.One time I had to wait for an item to be in stock, and one time it was slow at Christmas.

Since they went to their own delivery, it's faster.

Though I ordered on the 10th, and it's scheduled for the 26th. Too late for my birthday.
Pacificsun StrayCat 18 months ago
Remember the promise of same delivery? Yeah, we have an Amazon Depot about 4 long blocks from. And if I walk to it, and they hand it to me, maybe.

All of Amazon is a myth.

They charge "X" amount of money just to play the SAME song on Echo Dots in for different rooms. And you don't even want to hear their explanation of why.
KMP50 18 months ago
You can't simply look up a phone number anymore. A phone book didn't ask your name and e-mail, possibly your credit card , just to get the phone number of a neighbor.
KellyTenace KMP50 18 months ago
Those aren't the equivalent of phone books. Albeit they do exist online, few people have their numbers listed anymore or just have cellphones so yeah, finding a number ain't like it used to be.
loucipher59 18 months ago
I miss ADC maps . Easier to use shortcuts while driving, especially if your not technically savvy
NickG 18 months ago
I miss malls. Great places for teens to get their first jobs. Miss food courts. I remember when I could a gyro and my wife could get a Chick-fil-A meal. I like Amazon, but I miss being able to go out shopping at a Mall with a variety of stores.
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harlow1313 THOMASTERRYJR 18 months ago
I suppose there is something to be said for having the entire catalog of music electronically at your fingertips, but it certainly made music less precious.

How great was it that Neil Young's "Ohio" hit the radio stations on the heels of the Kent State killings? (sorry, if you are too young for this reference)
musicman37 harlow1313 18 months ago
I REALLY miss record/CD stores.
Moverfan harlow1313 9 months ago
I didn't hear it until I was all grown up (supposedly), but that's probably for the best. I turned 8 just two days before Kent State.
Same observation here about the malls--- with so many closed/empty storefronts in the malls now, it is almost like a ghost town especially when the anchor stores such as Sears or Carsons have closed. And it seems to be a hang-out now for non-shopping thugs or wannabes awaiting their next smash-n-grab session, doesn't feel safe anymore.
And I miss cars with window cranks (no expensive window switch to burn out on you) & those little triangle windows you could open & direct the breeze at your face....old school but I liked them! 😄
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