17 Things That Were Part of Society That Are Slowly Being Phased Out

In an ever-evolving world, certain staples of everyday life are quietly fading away, replaced by innovative technology and changing societal norms. From the charm of handwritten letters to the tactile joy of a freshly printed newspaper, this article explores 17 items and practices on the brink of becoming relics of a bygone era.

Traditional Retail Stores

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According to CNN Business, between 1995 and 2021, more stores closed each year in the U.S. than opened. They’ve put this down to a range of factors, including “a glut of stores, people working from home, online shopping, exorbitant rents, crime and public safety concerns, and difficulty hiring workers.”

Cash Transactions

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With an increase in the use of digital and contactless transactions, as well as new digital currencies, there is a decreased need for physical currency. As well as this, the untraceable nature of cash payments and the risk of lost or stolen money mean governments and financial institutions are pushing for cashless economies.

Printed Newspapers

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With a growing amount of media and news consumed online, there is less demand for printed newspapers, and according to Fortune, “for many newspapers, digital readership has overtaken print.” Other factors in the decline of printed newspapers include a decline in advertising revenue and environmental concerns about physical copies.

Manual Transmission Vehicles

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A recent rise in the popularity of automatic and electric vehicles has seen manufacturers decrease the availability of manual cars and vans. Consumers favor automatics due to the ease of use and improved fuel efficiency of the vehicles.

Public Payphones

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The widespread use and availability of mobile phones have led to a huge drop in demand for public payphones. While many of these units still remain on the streets of our cities and towns, the high cost of maintenance may see them removed in the coming years.

Physical Maps and Atlases

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The bulky atlas or road map on the backseat of your car that needs replacing each year has been replaced with digital and GPS services. The convenience of real-time updates and directions on digital versions has seen physical copies become nearly obsolete.

Handwritten Letters

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The prevalence of emails, texting, and instant messaging services in our day-to-day lives has seen a huge decline in handwritten letters over the last decades. Faster and more efficient, digital communication methods are preferred by most.

Incandescent Light Bulbs

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According to Vox, new regulations have reduced the availability of incandescent light bulbs. “The standard now requires light bulbs to emit at least 45 lumens (a measure of brightness) per watt.” However, “incandescent bulbs only emit 12 to 18 lumens per watt while using more energy.” These standards will see old bulbs phased out in favor of LED and CFL versions.

Seasonal Farming Knowledge

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The industrialization and automation of agriculture have led to a loss of traditional farming practices and knowledge of modern techniques and machinery. This industrial-scale farming has led to a decline in the number of small, family-owned farms.

Privacy in Digital Communications

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An increase in personal data collection and surveillance monitoring by corporations and governments threatens our personal privacy and security. The inclusion of the internet in nearly all daily practices, including banking, communicating, and shopping, means it is difficult to maintain privacy.

Home Landline Phones

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According to the Washington Post in 2023, “73 percent of American adults lived in a household without a landline at the end of last year—a figure that has tripled since 2010.” Most people have found that separate telephone service is no longer needed since smartphones came onto the scene.

Physical Photo Albums

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With access to instant and unlimited photography through our smartphones and other devices, most people have thousands of photos stored in cloud-based systems. This has led to a decrease in printing photos, meaning physical photo albums are rarely maintained.

Desktop Computers

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Mobile computing allows daily tasks and work to be carried out in any location and has meant a societal shift toward the use of laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Portable devices no longer lack power compared to desktop alternatives, and they remove the need for bulky, permanent setups in the home or office.

Face-to-Face Meetings

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An increase in remote work and readily available video calling is changing the culture of professional and personal meetings. This reduction in commutes is favored due to the lower environmental impact and a better work-life balance.

Wildlife in Urban Areas

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The constant growth of cities, climate change, and habitat destruction are seeing wildlife numbers decline in urban areas. The New York Times wrote, “As buildings go up and roads are laid down, some species seem to vanish from the landscape, and animal communities often become less diverse, scientists have found.”

Cursive Handwriting

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A decline in the emphasis on cursive handwriting in schools and other educational curricula is being driven by a perceived lack of need for the skill in modern communication techniques. Constantly innovating and adopting digital practices, schools are instead focusing on typing and other forms of digital communication in their teaching.

Local News Outlets

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Widespread consolidation of media companies and easy access to digital forms of national news have led to a decline in local news outlets. Smaller, local publications are facing financial challenges as well as competition from online platforms and social media.

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

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Gen Z, our digital-native, trendsetting generation, is making waves in the cultural sea, steering the ship of societal norms in fresh and unexpected directions. As they charter new territories, there are certain practices they’d rather we say goodbye to. Curious? Let’s take a look at 17 things the rest of us can no longer do because Gen Z said so.

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

18 Common Traits Found in Adults Who Had Unhappy Childhoods

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Being a parent is a hard job, so even those who are truly trying their best will often miss the mark on creating the best environment for their children. Unfortunately, this means that many of us grow up with far-from-perfect childhoods that affect us into adulthood. Here are 18 common traits found in adults who had unhappy childhoods.

18 Common Traits Found in Adults Who Had Unhappy Childhoods

18 Things Old People Just Can’t Get On Board with Today

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Over the past few decades, society has evolved, and with it, so have a few things that older generations find it uncomfortable to get the hang of. While younger generations are easily able to adapt to these changes, some of which are drastic, others may be struggling slightly. Here are 18 things the elderly may have difficulty learning.

18 Things Old People Just Can’t Get On Board with Today

19 Big Mistakes People Make After Losing a Spouse

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Losing a spouse is one of life’s most tragic experiences, and when we’re overwhelmed by grief, we might make some decisions that we’ll later regret. Here are 19 mistakes people make after losing their spouse.

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20 Time-Honored Practices Our Grandparents Followed That We Should Bring Back

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Our grandparents had a far simpler life. There was no such thing as social media. Instead, there was more walking and meals were always fresh and homemade. With so many things keeping us busy nowadays, sometimes life would seem much easier if we lived the way our grandparents did.

20 Time-Honored Practices Our Grandparents Followed That We Should Bring Back