Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Rolodex, The Soap Dish & Other Obsolete Items

We already know that paper checks, fax machines, dial-up internet service have already become obsolete, but what about some of these every day items? Think about it... Can you name something you no longer need?

Rolodex replaced by technology.

Remember The Rolodex?

Some of you younger folks may be asking yourselves, "What is a Rolodex?" or maybe, "What is a Rolodex used for?" That saddens me. When I first began my career, a Rolodex was key. This office supply was a status symbol now replaced by LinkedIn. 

The Rolodex is/was a rotating filing system that stored one's contacts. We would keep business cards stapled to each small index-type card or neatly jot down a person's contact info and file it under a fitting initial. Today with email contact lists and cell phones, there truly is no need for the bulky plastic Rolodex. Now on that rare occasion that I see a Rolodex cluttering up someone's desk, I giggle. 

Bar Soap vs. Shower and Body Gels

Shower Gel & Body Wash vs Bar Soap? No Need For The Soap Dish

While showering today, I realized that we're using bar soap and a soap dish. I wondered if most others are using body wash or shower gel. If so, this means they no longer require a soap dish thus leading to a possible extinction of soap dishes. A quick Google search led me to an article in the Portland Tribute which said 83% of men still prefer bar soap. This article is almost three years old so I'm not sure how shower gel and body wash rank today. What are you using?

Remember disposable ashtrays?

Disposable Ash Trays

It's difficult to imagine a time when smoking was permitted in restaurants and bars. When I lived in Manhattan, New York City passed the smoking ban in 2003, with New Jersey following three years later --banning smoking in bars, clubs and restaurants in 2006. I recall reading many articles about the ban, however one stood out most in my mind. 

The reporter behind the article, spoke to a company that distributes and sells disposable style ashtrays. The business owner talked about how he was dealing with dozens of cancelled orders and feared the smoking ban would eventually put him out of business.

Although I agreed with the ban, my heart sank for this business owner. Imagine producing an item no longer needed? It happens every day and it takes creativity and passion to reinvent oneself. Sure, folks could purchase disposable ashtrays for backyard parties and outdoor weddings and events, but the demand for these tin ashtrays would never be the same. 

CD, DVD and bookshelves
will become obsolete!

Book Shelves, CD & DVD Racks & Stands Become Extinct

With today's Kindle and Nook book technology replacing the old fashioned bound book, will there still be a need for actual book shelves? As we continue to fade out CDs and download our iTunes and digital music, what will we need with CD stands? With the growing increase in DVR (more than 40% of Americans subscribe!), Hulu and streaming Netflix (20+ million Netflix subscribers!) popularity, who needs a DVD stand? This standard piece of living room and den furniture will surely fade away as did the old time record player cabinets of my youth.

GPS is already becoming obsolete.

Remember Maps? Remember GPS?

When we were kids our folks paid a visit to AAA before any road trip. They'd map out our drive and provide us with colorful maps and paper info. Today, who needs a map when you have a GPS? Better yet, who needs to purchase a Garmin or navigation system when you have navigation already on your cell phone? Not to mention, so many people break into your vehicles to steal your GPS and you have to constantly update the software - it's such a waste. My DROID does it all!

No need for an alarm clock or a wrist watch.

Remember Land Line Phones, Watches & Alarm Clocks?

Speaking of mobile phones - there's a good chance you no longer even have a land line. Though it could be wise to have an old-school dial corded phone hooked up through the phone company in case of a natural disaster. I don't have one, but when I lived in the city, this sure came in handy during 9/11 and the black out. Voice over IP or VoIP went down, but the old school AT&T phone line service was uninterrupted allowing me to connect with family and friends. 

My cell phone has replaced my need for wrist watches. I haven't worn a watch in years, a quick check of my mobile phone is all I need. Several months ago my mom said she needed an alarm clock. What's that I thought? My phone is my alarm clock and I even have a docking station to resemble an alarm clock!

Nothing I've said in this post should come as news breaking or surprising, just simple observations ... As a lover of all things retro, I am not saying these tech items are awesome replacements, just that these particular items have been replaced, thus changing our personal work and home landscape. I'm sure I've missed a ton of obsolete household items and things we no longer need. Can you help name some in a comment below? 


Teachinfourth said...

I love my Rolodex and pager...don't ask me how I can live without my 8 track player either. I've just gotta be able to listen to that good, old Kenny Rogers and Boxcar Willie.


I use a chunk of sandstone embedded shards of broken glass to clean away the grime and the sins...

Bossy Betty said...

I still have most of these items. Does that make me uncool?

Oilfield Trash said...

I will never give up paper books.

Ally said...

Don't toss out your Rolodex and please keep on buying and reading paper books and magazines.

Ms. A said...

I have ALL these things, still in use! I do know, personally, how it feels to become obsolete, outdated, behind the times and extinct.

Anonymous said...

What a cool post! I had never thought about bookshelves, but it makes sense.

Zootsuitmama said...

I know I still use these things, but I'm a strange retro weirdo! lol

mamahasspoken said...

My hubby still uses bar soap most of the time. Yes he has a bottle of shower gel in the shower but he doesn't like it as much.
I'm finding that the desk top computer is also on the way out. Or at least it seemed like it when we went to buy one as our main computer for the house.

Cheeseboy said...

Oh man, I had the SWEETEST CD case. Custom built, perfect for showing off my killer collection. Wowed the ladies every time, but never really helped me score.

Marlene said...

Hey now - I still have a Rolodex - on my home desk! (And I refuse to give it up!) LOL!


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