10 Things Gen Z Will Sadly Never Get To Experience

Driver using a map during a road trip

Cheapism / DALL-E 3

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Driver using a map during a road trip
Cheapism / DALL-E 3

Mixtape Memories

Just as older generations aren't used to documenting every mundane aspect of one’s day (thanks TikTok), Generation Z also missed out on their fair share of cultural moments. Think watching cable TV, listening to a new song on the radio, or driving somewhere new with only a printed map to follow. 

Everyone has their common reference points when thinking of different generations. This list is dedicated to the cultural moments that Gen Z probably won't get to experience for themselves.

Old audio cassette tape

1. Recording Your Favorite Song on the Radio to a Cassette Tape

Everything is streamlined these days. There's no waiting game anymore. To tell Gen Zers that it was actually enjoyable to wait and hear your favorite song come on the radio — and then record it to a blank cassette tape — would likely inspire pure confusion. But hey, that's how it was for a while. Things really heated up if you botched your recording attempt because you failed to cut out a DJ's bizarre rant. 

TikTok and Facebook application  on screen Apple iPhone XR
5./15 WEST/istockphoto

2. Actual Privacy

The fact that genuine privacy sounds like something that’s too good to be true says it all. There was a time when you could take a stroll around your neighborhood or visit your local grocery store and not encounter wild-eyed fame-seekers competing for their ultimate TikTok video. Now, if you’re not careful, you could end up being at the other end of a viral video explicitly designed to make fun of you for being yourself.

Person with a map
Image Source/istockphoto

3. Driving Someplace New With a Physical Map

Shout out to the days of busting out the MapQuest maps. If you forgot to print out one of those before a family road trip, things might head south very quickly. Now, though, smartphones are here to make sure we all get from point A to point B successfully. They also maybe here to keep an indiscreet eye on our whereabouts

Related: Vintage Photos of Classic American Road Trips

Aol website

4. Dial-Up Internet and AOL Chat Rooms

Today, we have apps like Snapchat, which deletes your messages a mere 24 hours after you’ve sent them. But there was a time when you could dial up the old internet and dive into whatever madness would be inspired by an AOL chat room. You never really knew where a conversation was going to go. It could've been a solid banter session with friends from school, or maybe you were busy writing romance novels to a crush. There was something so novel about online messaging at the time. Now everyone's just sliding into each other's DMs.

Old television in hall

5. Watching the TV for Snow Day Announcements

When it comes to snow days, Gen Zers don't know how good they have it. When there's a blizzard, they hear about school closings via a simple text to their phone or parent's phone. Back in the day, though, everyone raced to the TV to see whether their school came across the news ticket to indicate a delay or cancellation.

phone book

6. Looking Up Information in a Phone Book

Find yourself with a craving for Thai food or pizza? There was a time when you couldn't simply use whatever delivery app or contact number they had saved in their phone. Instead, you had to break out the well-used phone book to hunt down your desired restaurant. It could be a time-consuming process. But when you actually found the number you were looking for? The bliss alone was worth all the inconvenience. 

Related: 25 Delicious Facts About Pizza, America's Favorite Comfort Food

Hand putting VHS tape in a VCR

7. Rewinding a VHS Tape Before Returning It to the Store

If you didn't rewind that VHS copy of "Jurassic Park" or "Independence Day," you were about to be in hot water — or at least slapped with a fine. On the other hand, the rebellious youth must've had a field day doing the opposite of what they were told, regardless of the consequences. That'd just be a quick TikTok trend nowadays. 

Related: 21 Groundbreaking Movies That Boomers Love

Woman looking her watch stand up

8. Committing to Plans Because Mobile Phones Weren't in Business Yet

The lack of technology that we had back in the day did, at one point, inspire a greater sense of accountability and follow-through. The last thing you wanted to do was leave your buddy waiting on their lonesome at the baseball field because you found a spontaneous change of heart at the last second. Now, a last-minute "sorry can't make it" text is the norm.

open mail box with a pile of letters and newspapers

9. Waiting for Monday's Newspaper To View the TV Schedule

Can you imagine a world where you weren't able to stream everything from your phone, tablet, or computer? Not only that, but you'd have to wait for the Monday newspaper to see the TV schedule. For Gen Zers who are used to binging shows, it's hard to imagine the anticipation.


10. Preparing for the Impending Y2K Event

If you have any Gen Z co-workers, ask if they’ve ever heard of Y2K. If you’re a part of a younger generation and reading this, Y2K was commonly used to reference a massive computer programming shortcut that would, theoretically, cause insane amounts of damage as the year changed from 1999 to 2000. The change was forecasted to render computer systems useless. Suffice to say, nothing catastrophic happened.