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Millennials have had to navigate a lot, from relying on Blockbuster to watch a movie to paying per text message. So, when Reddit user u/grassmanmattgaming asked millennials to share some of their “back in my day” moments, they had a lot to say.

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“Following printed MapQuest directions was worse than the Lewis and Clark Expedition.”

A screenshot of someone searching for pizza in San Francisco on MapQuest

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“Back in my day texting was free after nine. Before that I had to ask my mom if I could call a friend. And then ask their mom if I could talk to them.”

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“Back in my day, autosave didn’t exist. When the computer crashed, all of your unsaved work was gone, and computers crashed often — basically every day.”

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“Back in my day, we had to sit through commercials every time we watched TV.”

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“Back in my day you couldn’t just watch a whole cartoon series whenever you wanted. The cartoon played at a specific date and time, and if you didn’t know how to program a VCR or have a blank cassette, you didn’t get to watch it. Or you had to hope it would show up on a random rerun.”

Someone recording Adventure Time on a VCR tape

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“I remember when airports didn’t have security. You just kinda showed up. Loved ones could come to the terminal and watch you board and take off or land.”

People wait on the tarmac in front of the airplane

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“Back in my day, students would get hyped when the teacher brought in the TV cart to watch some Bill Nye.”

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“Back in my day, if you wanted to learn about something that nobody in your family or friend group knew about, you had to go to a library and ask if they had a book on the subject. You could also use expensive encyclopedias and hope the topic you wanted to learn about was in it.”

Hermoine Granger and Harry Potter look through a book at the library to find a spell

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“On Fridays, you’d get your mom to drive you to the Blockbuster and hope they had a video you wanted on the shelf. You had three days to watch it before rewinding it and taking it back.”

A stack of Blockbuster videos

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“Back in my day, you were genuinely excited to get a text message. They were far less common. Now it’s more or less annoying responding to texts.”

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“Back in my day, if you wanted an affordable collection of your favorite songs, you spent an afternoon sitting by the radio with a blank cassette tape loaded and hit record when your favorite songs were played.”

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“Back in my day, if you wanted to have your phone photos as your MySpace profile picture, you had to send them via text to your email address and then upload the pictures to your computer individually because you couldn’t send a file.”

The MySpace profile layout page

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“Back in my day, so many people smoked in restaurants that you could see and smell the smoke. Sometimes they tried to make non-smoking sections, but dividers didn’t stop the smoke from wafting over.”

Someone gives their friend a light for their cigarette



“We had to set a time to meet and a spot to meet up and just hope that the other person showed up! We couldn’t call on a cell phone or text.”


“You know how people camp out to get the newest drop (i.e. iPhones, PS5s, Jordans)? We did that for the Harry Potter books.”

People dressed up in Harry Potter costumes wait in a line outside the bookstore

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“Back in my day, if you wanted to ask a girl out you had to call her at home and run the risk of having to talk to her mum, dad, older brother, etc.”

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“Back in my day, if you wanted to go on the Internet, you had to ask your Mom to get off the phone.”

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“Back in my day we had ‘ringback tones’ where you could choose whatever song you wanted people to hear when they called you. When people called me they heard ‘Hot in Herre’ by Nelly.”

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“It took two days to download a four minute song.”

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“The screens on Game Boys didn’t light themselves up, so you had to have the light on if you wanted to play at night. I can vividly remember sitting in the backseat of my parents’ car and holding my Game Boy up to catch the streetlights.”

Someone holds up a dim Game Boy Color that does not have backlighting

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“Getting a busy signal when you tried to call your friends. You couldn’t leave a message. You just had to try again later.”

Squidward and Spongebob hear a busy signal while on the phone

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Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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