Conveniences from your childhood which were were actually more convenient than today

What forms of “progress” make you yearn for your childhood conveniences?

I’ve come to the conclusion that DVDs really really bug me.

When I was a kid, when you wanted to watch a movie on TV, you put the tape in the VCR and hit play. That’s it. If you didn’t have it positioned just right, you would sit through maybe five minutes of trailers and whatnot, but it was no big deal.

Today, if you want to watch a movie on DVD, you need to:
[li]Put the disc in the player[/li][li]If it’s a Paramount movie you need to sit through ads that you can’t skip through[/li][li]You may also have to sit through a badly-produced and overly-loud community service announcement from the impoverished MPAA about how movie piracy is bad, and how you should feel extremely guilty for it even if you legitimately own the DVD[/li][li]You have to endure the DVD menu’s opening animation which you may or may not be able to skip through, and which may or may not spoil important scenes in the movie[/li][li]FINALLY the DVD menu shows up and you can now press the play button, and if you don’t play right away, you’re punished by having to listen to the same annoying 30-second music loop over and over again[/li][li]The movie starts, but only after the FBI and INTERPOL warnings about how movie piracy is bad[/li][li]Halfway through the movie you realize that because of how long the first 6 steps take, you’ve missed your daughter’s graduation and your teenage son ran off with someone named Opal[/li][/ol]

This painful startup time, combined with a video quality which is often poorer than VHS due to MPEG compression, leads me my opinion that, in terms of convenience, DVDs are crap compared to video cassettes.

And ranting about the situation helps me feel better about it. Egads, I’m getting old! :eek:

So I put the question to you: What conveniences from your childhood were actually more convenient than what we have today?

VCRs when you were a kid, huh?
Thanks a lot!
Nothing readily comes to mind.
One - uh - convenience is that folks weren’t as “brand conscious”, making various shopping and dress decisions easier.
And the one phone company/power company/etc.

We didn’t even have to worry about the technicalities of VCRs when I was a kid. Three channels, black & white - take it or leave it.

Buy a toothbrush was easier in the olden days, too.

The knapped flint computers I grew up with were a lot sturdier than what we have today.

-Spectre of Pithecanthropus

Taking the kids for a ride was a lot easier when I was a kid than now when I’m a parent. I come from a large family and we had only one child seat, which was used for the youngest baby at the time. Once there was a new baby, you sat unrestrained, even if you were only 1 or 2, and nobody saw anything wrong with this.

The back seat of my car is filled with three child seats, for children aged 1, 3, and 5 (the 5 year old is small and still requires a child seat by state law).

Coffee–Decaf or regular, with a choice of sugar, milk, sugar & milk, or black.

When I was a teenager you used to go to the shop to buy things. The shop assistant would tell you how much it cost, say $4.50, and you would hand over your money, in this case say $5. He would hand back 50 cents and you would go. Now of course you stand in a queue of people scanning cards that refuse to read, but eventually do so that they can enter their PIN to find that they need to use another card, and then the assistant can ask if they need a cashout so they don’t hold up everyone at the next place they shop and then they can complete the transaction…and on and on and on.

I can remember being about six or seven riding my bike to the grocery store to buy my mom and dad cigarettes.
I’m pretty sure that shit don’t fly any more.

You were lucky to have shops.

When we were hungry my father had to go out and kill a mammoth.

When I was a kid, listening to the sad plaints of geezers ruminating about the good ol’ days was more convenient then than it is now.

… mainly because the plaintive geezers back then actually were geezers, and not wet-behind-the-ears kids who equate VCRs with the Days of Yore.

grumble Get of my damn lawn, you kids!

Me too. Mom used to give me $2 to walk 2 blocks to the convenience store and pick her up a pack of cigarettes when I was 12. I got to keep the change, which was enough to get a slurpee or equivalent (I think cigarettes were a buck and a quarter then).

Telephone service. Used to be, the phone rang, you answered it if you were home, you talked to people. It was considered polite to let the phone ring ten times, to give someone a chance to get up from the couch or come up from the basement, or to wipe. There was only one phone company, so you didn’t spend sleepless nights wondering if you got the best price on your phone service, and you didn’t waste time answering calls from people wanting to save you money on your phone service. There were only three styles of phones, so you didn’t spend hours in the aisle at Target comparing features and trying to remember the difference between gigahertz and megahertz and the distance from the phone base to the back of your yard. If people weren’t home when you called, you called back later. You didn’t have to worry if they were screening their calls and ignoring you because, despite what they said, they really don’t like you, or if they’d heard your message but just don’t like you enough to return your calls. You didn’t have to try to remember four different phone numbers for each person you know, and you never, never had the embarassment of not remembering your parent’s phone number because “I never dial it, I just hit Memory 3”.

You used to could just go to the airport, plunk down some money and get on a plane, lickety-split.

We had a satellite dish when I was a kid. (My uncle was a tech buff, and as soon as something was commercially available, he pounced.) This was the early days, back when a small chip could allow you to watch ANY programming. (Later, the same chip became illegal, and we had to have it removed.)

The cool thing about it was that to change between satellites, you had to move the dish. (In the winter, it sometimes got iced into place unless you could get someone to go out with a pitcher of hot water so you could move it.) It moved slowly, so sometimes programs would come on between the movements, and you could stop the dish on one of them and watch it. I found some very interesting shit this way. news feeds in which the anchor was still having makeup patted on their faces, West Coast feeds of programs*, foreign language news, porn, and, of course, all of the premium channel movies.

You can’t explore on the sattelites the way you used to be able to do, or at least if you can, it takes more technical knowledge than I have, and it’s probably illegal these days.

  • I loved watching the shows earlier in the day and then amazing people with my “guesses” as to what would happen next.

Buying a newspaper. The newspapers were kept outside the store and you could just pick one up, put down the nickel and leave.

My mom’s Wings cigarettes use to cost a quarter. She’d give me a nickel to get an ice cream when I went. If I was real lucky, I’d have the two cents to get a double dip.

  • Beer commercials were funny.

  • Special effects were clearly a trip into the Land of Let’s Pretend (LOTR gave me a major headache, as have the recent Star Wars)

  • MTV used to show, like, non-pornographic videos of music

  • Libraries had card catalogs, where the librarians used to write in little notations

  • No identity theft

I find shopping for jeans for my daughter is a frustrating experience now. When did they stop bothering with the length? All the jeans are now one size in length (that size being ‘too long’) you are expected to have them tailored to the right length. What the hell? Pay a tailor to hem a new pair of jeans?

Buying gasoline is certainly less convenient now. Remember when you didn’t have to pump it yourself?

Buying clothes also used to be more convenient, back in the day.

All the skirts were together, the blouses were together, the slacks together. None of this stupid nonsense about hanging clothes according to label. Nowadays, if you want a blouse, you have to check out dozens of different manufacturers, all scattered throughout the department store.

I’m sure this system suits the store and the designers but it’s no fun for the shopper.

Well, not all that much has changed. Your risk of someone becoming fessie and setting up a new life under your name is extremely slim. Your risk of having your credit card compromised is more significant.

I just hate the term “identity theft” when it’s really “credit card fraud.” The cynic in me insists that it’s the credit card corporations repackaging it to make it appear the consumer is at risk of losing money, not them. That way, they can sell us “identity theft insurance” and get us to cover their losses.

Also the security was limited to sometimes keeping an eye out for someone actually carrying a bazooka. You could show up 20 minutes before your flight and be pretty sure you’d make it before the door closed. Now if you don’t arrive 2 hours before boarding you’re sweating bullets hoping to not miss your flight.