How different is the modern world to the one you grew up in?

This was a question I was A2A on Quora.  For those who are not in the know, A2A means Asked to Answer, as in someone feels you are an expert in this field.

Here are some things I can think of just off the cuff:

  • Banking
  • Mail
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Music
  • Telephones

Banking:  It wasn’t that long ago that you had to go to a bank to deposit your paycheck and withdraw money from your account. Direct Deposit wasn’t a thing and ATMs were just getting started. You were hard-pressed to find a bank open on Sunday and if you did, it had very limited hours.

Mail:  Before email, instant chat and whatever the kiddos are using this these days, to send a message to a friend in another city or even across town, you had to find a stamp, an envelope, and their snail mail address. If you were lucky and the stars aligned, you might send a letter out on Monday and get a response by Saturday.  But usually, it was longer because we all have other things going on and it took time to find that damn stamp.

Television:  My earliest recollection of TVs is that while most families had at least one, they cost more if you wanted color and or larger size. Remotes were a luxury and you were dependent on the OTA signal and schedule. If you were not home at 3 pm to watch Your Show, you missed it. VCRs didn’t become affordable until the late 80s, early 90s.

Radio:  If you lived in a major metropolitan area, you had the good fortune of having multiple sucky radio stations to choose from. If your taste in music was too nuanced to be captured by the Oldies Station, the Rock Station, The Pop Station, maybe the local college would have some bandwidth at the end of the dial between 10 and 2 am.

Music:  Back in the day, if you wanted a copy of a song, you had two choices.  Wait for your local radio station to play it and hope the DeeJay didn't talk over the intro or exit of the song because you were going to (illegally) record it on your cassette recorder.  Or you could buy the entire album just for that one song.  There were attempts at releasing mini albums on specific media but those cost almost as much as the entire fucking album so what was the point.

Telephone: Phone calls use to cost a bundle, even local ones. Sure some small towns let you chat with the other townies for free but anyone you wanted to talk to was long distance and it was pricey. I remember calling some people and sort of hoping their answering machine would pick up so they would have to call me back on their dime. Sometimes they did, some times they didn’t. Or they got my machine and it was a game of Hot Potato Phone Bill Tag.

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