16 Boomer Experiences That Leave Gen Z Scratching Their Heads

Boomers grew up in a time when a lot was changing fast. There was tension from the Cold War, fights for civil rights, and exciting new things like color TV and rock ‘n’ roll music.

Their everyday lives were filled with things that were normal back then but might seem old-fashioned now. Especially to GenZ, who are used to smartphones, the internet, and tons of entertainment at their fingertips.

List of 16 things that Boomers went through that Genz cannot understand.

TV Channels

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In 1950 only 9 percent of American households had televisions; by 1959 that figure had increased to 85.9 percent. Back in the day, Boomers had very few TV channels to choose from. On average, they had access to only three channels (ABC, CBS, and NBC) during the 1960s. They would gather with their families and adjust antennas on their TVs just to get a clear picture.

Things are quite different for GenZ. They have tons of options thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. According to a Deloitte latest study more than half of them say they watch TV mostly through these streaming services.

Handwritten Messages

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Back then, before phones and emails, people used to write letters to talk to each other when they were far away. Writing a letter was a special thing because it took time and effort. You had to write out your message by hand, put it in an envelope, stick a stamp on it, and then mail it. It used to take some days to reach the receiver.

GenZ, with phones and computers, can send messages instantly, but there’s something special about getting a handwritten letter that electronic messages just can’t capture.

Cold War Tensions

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During the Cold War, there was tension between two powerful countries: the United States and the Soviet Union. They had a lot of nuclear weapons and people were scared that these countries might use those. Because of this fear, schools and public places often had drills where people would practice going to safe places, like underground shelters, to protect themselves from the bombs.

For GenerationZ, it might be difficult to imagine living in such a stressful and unpredictable period. They are lucky to be in a time where nuclear threats are not a daily concern.

Physical Maps

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Earlier boomers used physical maps and atlases to find their way around during travel. Drivers would keep them in their glove compartments and take them out to figure out how to get where they were going.

Reading these maps was an important skill because they didn’t show you exactly where you were like GPS does now. It was a lot different from today when GenZ can simply rely on their phones to tell  where to go every step of the way.

Polaroid Cameras

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Earlier boomers only had a number of pictures they could take on each roll of film. Boomers thought carefully about each shot they took, making it feel more special. They couldn’t even see the photos right away like GenZ can on a digital camera or smartphone.

Taking pictures for GenZ is much easier. Digital technology has made photography more easy and accessible.

Car Dining

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Boomers grew up in the time of drive-in restaurants with carhops. A waitress  would deliver food to your car window. Even though you could eat inside the restaurant or bring the meal home, boomers enjoyed eating in the car. It was a unique method for families to have a meal together.

Drive-in restaurants with vehicle hops may appear to be outdated for GenZ. They have the convenience of meal delivery apps and fast-food availability.

Internet Pace

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Boomers had to be patient and wait a long time for things to happen online. The speed was slow, and there wasn’t so much available. However for GenZ, things are different. They’re used to instant gratification. They can send messages, load webpages in just a few seconds, and hop between a variety of content.

Rotary Phones

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Instead of tapping on a screen to make a call, boomers used rotary phones. These phones had a round dial with numbers on it. To make a call, you had to put your finger in the hole of the number you wanted, then spin the dial all the way around until it stopped. It took a while, especially if the number had lots of nines or zeroes. If you messed up, you had to start all over again.

GenZ would never experience this with their touchscreens and smartphones that make a call within seconds.

Civil Rights Movement

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The Civil Rights Movement was a important time for Boomers. It was when people fought hard to make sure everyone, regardless of their skin color, was treated equally. They did big things like the March on Washington and making laws like the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Boomers also had leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. who gave powerful speeches and showed everyone how to fight for fairness. The Civil Rights Movement changed America a lot. It made sure that everyone had more equal rights. It was a big deal and made history in America.

GenZ won’t have this, or understand those times.

Hands Me Down

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Boomers experienced an era when clothing was often costly, and garments were frequently passed down through family lines. However, the rise of fast fashion has transformed this dynamic for many Gen Z individuals, who have seldom encountered hand-me-downs. Instead, they have the luxury of purchasing new clothing and expressing their unique style preferences.

Mending Clothes

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Boomers commonly mended clothes due to limited resources and a frugal mindset. However, Gen Z, growing up in the age of fast fashion, often opts to discard damaged items for new ones rather than mend them, contributing to a culture of disposability.

Waiting For A Phone

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Boomers experienced a time when waiting for phone calls was the norm. Waiting for a call meant being tethered to a specific location, such as home or work, until the anticipated call came through. In contrast, Gen Z has grown up in an era characterized by ubiquitous access to communication technology. With smartphones and other mobile devices, they have instant access to various communication channels, including calls, texts, social media, and messaging apps.

Using encyclopedias for research:

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Before the internet became commonplace, Boomers relied on encyclopedias and other reference books for research and information. They spent hours flipping through pages, searching for answers to their questions or completing school assignments. However, with the availability of search engines like Google and online databases, Gen Z has it all easy.

Memorizing phone numbers:

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Boomers relied on memorizing phone numbers to stay in touch with friends and family. However, with smartphones and digital contact lists, Gen Z may find it unnecessary to memorize phone numbers, as they can easily store and access contacts with just a few taps on their devices.

Using typewriters for writing:

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Boomers learned to type on manual or electric typewriters by correcting mistakes with correction tape or liquid paper. They often had to retype entire pages to make revisions or corrections. In contrast, Gen Z, who grew up with computers and word processing software, may find the idea of using typewriters for writing inefficient and labor-intensive.

Waiting for the mail:

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Boomers relied on postal mail for receiving letters, bills, and packages, experiencing the anticipation of waiting for important correspondence to arrive. They often had to wait several days or weeks for mail delivery, especially for long-distance communication. However, with the rise of email and instant messaging, Gen Z may find the idea of waiting for physical mail slow-paced and inconvenient compared to instant digital communication.

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