8 things we did in the ’90s that would be considered crazy today

Ah, the ‘90s.

“Seinfeld” was on TV, the Backstreet Boys were on the radio and people still called each other on their landlines.

While some of these ‘90s staples may evoke feelings of nostalgia, others seem downright strange when you stop and think about them today.

Here are eight things we did in the ‘90s that we would never, ever consider doing today.

1. Follow fad diets

Every decade has its fair share of fad diets and the ‘90s were no different. The low-carb Atkins’ diet was all the rage during this decade, which caused people to ditch pasta and bread.

Sure, the low-carb movement is still going strong in 2018, but nutritionists have a much more nuanced view of carbs today — they’re not the enemy! In fact, the Atkins diet was ranked No. 36 out of 40 diets analyzed by U.S. News & World Report as part of their “Best Diets” list.

Vegetables on table

2. Talk on the phone

How’s this to make you feel old: There are entire swaths of the population today that have no earthly idea what a payphone is. No clue!

We used to talk on the phone all the time. We’d talk to our friends, our spouses, our parents. We’d even call a restaurant to let our group of friends know we were running late.

“Now we can call or text each other if we’re running behind schedule, but back then, you had to stop, find a payphone, call the restaurant, for example, and try to describe your friend so that they could hopefully pass along the message successfully. All bets were off for blind dates,” said writer and marketer Eunice Brownlee, who loves rewatching episodes of the hit ‘90s TV show “Friends.”

Payphone on the wall

3. Smoke cigarettes

OK, sure, some people still smoke cigarettes today. But it’s not nearly as prevalent as it was in the ‘90s.

The percentage of U.S. adults who smoke cigarettes has declined from roughly 26 percent in 1990 to 15 percent today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Plus, remember when people used to smoke in bars and restaurants? Of course, it still happens in some states, but many communities have banned smoking indoors altogether.


4. Store our own stuff

Back in the ‘90s, storing your belongings went something like this: Rent a U-Haul. Call your friends from your landline and ploy them to help you with pizza and beer. Lug heavy boxes and furniture to a shady self-storage facility. Pray your belongings don’t get damaged.

All that works sounds pretty crazy, don’t you think? In 2018, companies like Closetbox do the work for you. Their team of professionals will do all the heavy lifting — and then some. They’ll pick up, transport and store your belongings in a secure facility. As an added bonus, they’ll even return your items when you’re ready.

Creepy self-storage? That’s so ‘90s.

5. Listen to boy bands and girl groups

With Backstreet Boys, NSYNC and 98 Degrees on the radio, the ‘90s was a prime decade for boy bands.

And let’s not forget the ladies, shall we? We were all pumping the Spice Girls from our boomboxes, too. “Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want.”


6. Collect Beanie Babies

If you don’t have a tub of Beanie Babies tucked away somewhere in your house, did you really live through the ‘90s?

These little animals stuffed with “beans” (what exactly were those things, anyway?) were all the rage in the 1990s — people began collecting them left and right in hopes of striking it right someday in the future.

Well, my friends, that day has come and the vast majority of Beanie Babies aren’t worth anything. Occasionally, a rare Beanie Baby will sell for an unbelievably high price on eBay (typically the Princess Diana bears), but otherwise, they’re worth a couple bucks at most.

7. Schedule our lives around TV shows

OK, to be fair, we were still doing this well into the 2000s. But today, we’d rather binge-watch our favorite shows than schedule our lives around being in front of the TV to catch the newest episode of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “The Simpsons” or “Seinfeld.”

It’s pretty difficult to remember life before Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, right?

8. Navigate using paper maps

It’s almost impossible to remember a time before smartphones. Seriously, if you’ve ever lost your phone, you know how hard it is to get anything done.

Today, our phones help us navigate the world, tell us the time, save all of our friends’ numbers and way more. But back in the ‘90s, paper maps were our jam on road trips.

Instead of typing an address into Google Maps, we had to open the glove compartment, pull out a map, unfold it and then squint trying to find the highway we needed. Yikes.

Colorado paper map


Get Your Free Quote