10 Everyday Inconveniences We Don't Miss

When thinking about the "chores" we have to do these days, it's laughable how easy we have it. Our ancestors would spend hours washing clothes using a washboard and a mangle. Doing the dishes after a big meal took an eternity, with two people washing and drying. And before microwaves, reheating meals could not be done in just a few minutes. Here are 10 inconveniences we have thankfully waved goodbye to.

1. Programming the VCR

Today, we are completely spoiled by our entertainment technology. We simply pick a show from the channel guide, hit record (and that includes doing a whole series recording), and everything else is taken care of. But recording TV shows and movies used to suck. You'd have to input the day, date, and time of the show you wanted to record, making sure you had a blank VHS tape in the machine with enough space on it to record the whole show. Of course, if the ball game ran long, you recorded that, and missed the start of your show.

2. Looking Up Numbers in the Phone Book(s)

They were a staple of every household. Right next to the home phone and the Rolodex, there were a stack of books so thick you often used them as a replacement stepping stool. Yes, the phone books were essential… and really annoying. Flicking through the Yellow Pages to find a gardener or plumber, then having no clue how reliable they were, was no fun at all. Trying to find a name in the White Pages was even harder, especially if the person you were looking for had a really common name. Now, our smartphone does it all. We get instant reviews with the business phone numbers, and personal information with the residential numbers. And yet, they still keep printing those phone books!

3. Reading Printed Maps

There was a time when Google Maps did not exist, and GPS navigation was something only the rich and famous could afford. When we wanted to get somewhere in a city, we had to buy an A-Z. Rand McNally and National Geographic printed new ones every year, and if you didn't have an updated version, you could find yourself at a dead end. Arguments raged in cars, marriages were threatened, and men everywhere would happily get lost rather than ask for directions. Those days are over.

4. Paying Bills in Person or By Mail

With Internet banking came online bill pay; for most of us who choose to use it (and some don't), it's a wonderful thing. You can choose when the money comes out, to the day, and also use auto pay so that you don't even have to remember when the bill is due. In the past, paying bills was horrendous. Your home calendars were filled with reminder dates, and you had to figure out exactly when the mail would deliver your check to ensure you did not get a late payment fee. Even worse than using the mail was standing in line for an eternity to pay a bill in person. The only time that really happens now is the dreaded DMV visit.

5. Returning Movies

Oh Blockbuster, how you loved to squeeze every last cent out of those movie rentals with late fees. And how apt that you were put out of business by a company that didn't charge them, ever. When Netflix was first around, with its mailable DVDs, it spelled the end for Blockbuster and other rental chains. But when streaming movies became the big way to watch films and TV series, it was all over. No more trips to the video store, especially those frantic ones when you had five minutes to get there before the store closed, or you were paying another $4 for the night. No one will miss those days except the former CEO of Blockbuster.

6. Developing Film

Okay, so not literally sitting in a dark room with a bunch of chemicals and some photo paper. But, the new age of digital cameras, and now phones that do everything, meant we could kiss goodbye to those rolls of film and all the guesswork. Remember what it was like? You'd take a bunch of photos on vacation, bring the rolls to a one-hour photo place, and then collect your prints. How many were in focus? How many were filled with people closing their eyes, or looking away? We no longer have to deal with any of that, and it's glorious.

7. Accessing Dial-up Internet

"Dooo-de-dooooobrrrrrr-brp-brp-deeee-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeebrrrp-bzngg-bzngg-bzngg-kkkksksskkkkkkkkkskskskkkkkkskkskrhghryghsjghjkkkjhjkhgjsghjfghsfghfsghfgs." That dial-up sound, which will haunt many of us, has pretty much been made extinct by broadband. Dial-up Internet not only took forever, and was painstakingly slow, but in the beginning it was billed by the minute! To those people reading this article via dial up, for the love of your own sanity, stop and replace it with broadband immediately.

8. Using Payphones

As little as 20 years ago, many of us made sure we left the house with change for the payphone, just in case we needed it. And when we did need to use it, there was no guarantee it would work. They were the targets of vandals, and in Britain the big red telephone boxes were used as toilets by homeless people and drunken morons. Sometimes, there would be a line to use the payphone, and then there was that awful moment when you realized you still had talking to do, but had no more money left. "Call me back at this number now, it's 555-867-5…arrghhhh!"

9. Paying With a Check

Ask yourself, honestly, when was the last time you paid by check at the grocery store, the home improvement warehouse, or the hairdresser? Now ask yourself, when someone in front of you pulls out a checkbook to pay, how much do you boil and bubble inside? Paying by check was time consuming, and remembering to bring that checkbook with us, just in case, was more than a little annoying. Now, with debit cards, we have a checkbook in our wallet at all times, and they only take seconds to use.

10. Trying to Remember… Anything!

Seriously, when was the last time you had to make a mental note to do something important? You just put that reminder in your phone, tablet, or computer and let it remind you when the time comes. No need to remember birthdays. No need to commit phone numbers to memory. And facts… they are now with us in seconds. Who was that guy who played that alien in that movie that came out last year? IMDB.com. What is the main ingredient in that Thai dish? AllRecipes.com. How do I find out what is turning my lawn brown? Google it! Is this making us all a tad lazy? That's still to be decided. Maybe we're all just focusing on other things now.

What inconveniences are you glad we've left behind in the good old days?

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Guest's picture

Just applied for a building permit yesterday, CHECKS only, no plastic.

Guest's picture

Figures it's local government!

Guest's picture

Having to name one's files using only eight -- of only certain -- characters.