18 Things People Used to Love But Now Can’t Stand

Nothing is more fickle than human society’s trends and tastes! In a matter of months, an item or service considered hip, convenient, or essential can become redundant, uncool, or unwanted. Here, we explore 18 once-popular things that have since become objects of disdain or annoyance, from technological wonders to fashion trends.

Flip Phones

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According to Architectural Digest, the flip phone was one of the most popular cell phone designs of the 2000s, and lightweight, sleek designs that closed with a satisfying click were the ultimate status symbol. Protecting your screen from scratches was easy, but they’ve since been almost entirely replaced by single-screen smartphones that don’t ‘bend’ well!

Fast Fashion

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Retailers like H&M and Primark revolutionized the way we shop, making the latest catwalk trends accessible at low prices—even if the clothing items didn’t last long. Ethical Consumer says that “the rise of fast fashion has had devastating consequences, from its reliance on plastic fabrics and its enormous carbon footprint to its erosion of workers’ rights.”

Plastic Straws

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Once an essential item in a café or restaurant, single-use plastic straws have become a symbol of thoughtlessness and environmental neglect (National Geographic estimated that 8.3 billion plastic straws littered the world’s beaches in 2019). The movement against them has led to public disdain and the rise of biodegradable alternatives.

Reality TV

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Britannica reports that reality TV shows have been around since the 1950s, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that they began dominating broadcast schedules. Shows like Survivor, Big Brother, and The Osbournes captivated millions of viewers, but the formulaic, superficial nature of reality TV has since been criticized, causing a change in content.

Manual Transmissions

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Driving a ‘stick shift’ used to be a common rite of passage, giving greater vehicle ‘connection’ and an unparalleled driving experience. However, Popular Mechanics reports that manual car sales have declined since 1980, from 34.6% to less than 1.5% today. As automatic transmissions have improved, they’ve become the best option for traffic-heavy urban roads.

Disposable Cameras

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Remember when every wedding, birthday, and special event came with a disposable camera on every guest table? They were a fun, simple way to capture memories without expensive photography equipment, but they cannot compete with the convenience, speed, adaptability, and quality of today’s smartphones.

Diet Soda

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According to Business Insider, soda sales are falling in general, yet diet soda is becoming especially unpopular. Once a guilt-free alternative to regular soda, health concerns over artificial sweeteners being linked to cancer and Alzheimer’s have prompted many consumers to switch to healthier alternatives, like water, juice, and tea.


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Not so long ago, custom ringtones were a major trend, and paying for your favorite song or quirky sound to become your ringtone was common. Such personalization has since waned in popularity, with subtler ringtones offered as standard and the associated sudden blast of noise in public spaces being seen as disruptive and socially unacceptable.

3D Movies

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Once thought to be the future of cinema, the spike in popularity of 3D movies has since proved to be a mere novelty. Digital Trends explains that the poor quality of the films, the annoying glasses, and the high ticket prices put consumers off—the slightly more immersive experience simply wasn’t appealing enough to overcome these issues.

Fax Machines

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Once beloved and well-used office equipment items, fax machines are now largely obsolete space-hoggers. In the 1980s and ‘90s, they were essential for sending documents quickly across distances, but more efficient, less wasteful modern email services and smartphones with ‘scan and send’ options have made them redundant.

Shopping Malls

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Going to the local shopping mall used to be about much more than simply purchasing new items—they were the busy social and retail hubs of the community. With the rise of online shopping, however, the convenience and variety offered by e-commerce platforms cannot be matched, and many malls are now struggling to retain their previous status.

Energy Drinks

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Sales of drinks like Prime and Red Bull enjoyed massive popularity, helped by aggressive advertising and celebrity promotion. However, The Guardian now reports, “The sugary soft drinks market is finally declining in many countries as consumers become more aware of the effects of sugar on health.” Caffeine and taurine have also been linked to sleep disturbances.

Cable Television

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Before the days of Netflix and Hulu, cable was the only way to get a variety of in-home entertainment, news, and sports programming. Things have changed now, with streaming platforms supplying on-demand content without commercials at very competitive prices and without consumers having to wait or pay extra for installation.

Incandescent Light Bulbs

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Once the standard for home lighting, these heat-producing light bulbs helped warm our homes, whether we wanted them to or not! Now slated for their inefficiency and short lifespan, LED bulbs have now replaced incandescent bulbs almost entirely. LEDs are cheaper, longer lasting, and more sustainable. What’s not to love?!

Old-School Instant Messaging Apps

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Early instant messenger apps, like AOL Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, and ICQ, were once extremely popular, offering users free and unlimited chat via their internet connection. Yet, as social media and smartphone apps evolved, such platforms became obsolete—replaced by comprehensive apps integrating various services.

Public Payphones

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For anyone old enough, public payphones were a vital link in an era before mobile phones. Once again, modern technology has left them in the dust—with the unbeatable convenience, economy, and versatility of smartphones. Payphones have become virtually extinct, and making a call from one is a nostalgic, one-off pastime.

VHS Tapes

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Once the beloved bringers of Blockbuster movies to our living rooms, VHS tapes were quickly superseded by DVDs and now by digital content and streaming platforms. Before, we could choose what to watch and when; they represented choice and control, but their poor quality, large size, and tediously slow rewind function have since made them pointless.

Dial-Up Internet

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While we may not have loved the dial-up part per se, the very first internet connections were exciting and mind-blowing—allowing access to seemingly unlimited content at the click of a mouse. Now, without the five minutes of ‘screeching’ to connect and painfully slow loading times, today’s modern wireless solutions have more than improved on the original dial-up.

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17 Things That Used to Be Highly Respected But Isn’t Anymore

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17 Fairy Tales That Are Now Considered Racist

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While fairy tales weave magical narratives that span generations, many emerge from historical and cultural contexts tinged with biases. Hiding in many of these tales, racial undertones can be found. Let’s look at 17 fairy tales that have deeper implications.

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17 Things Society Can No Longer Do Because Gen Z Said So

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