Top 10 Things From the 80s We'll Never Do Again

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Top 10 Things From the 80s We'll Never Do Again

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Matt Klem
You'll be shocked when you find out what people used to do in the 80s! For this list, we'll be looking at popular trends from the 80s that are now unfathomable. Our countdown includes Get Glamour Shots, Attend Chickenpox Parties, Skip Seatbelts, and more!
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Top 10 Things From the 80's We'll Never Do Again


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things From the 80's We'll Never Do Again

For this list, we’ll be looking at popular trends from the 80s that are now unfathomable.

What’s something else from the 1980s that no one does anymore? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Get Glamour Shots

Glamour photography has been around a long time. In the 80s, young women would pop into the glamour studio at the mall and have an extra fancy photo session. There was typically at least one shot with some stylish hat, and the same recognizable backgrounds used for almost every customer. Clients were often accessorized with heavy makeup, and clothes far too extravagant for them to wear on a daily basis. Throw in a feather boa and some gloves, and you’ve ticked off every glamour box from the 1980s. Glamorous pictures are still taken today, just minus the 80s accessories and massive hair!

#9: Watch Videos on MTV After School

On August 1st, 1981, Music Television, or MTV for short, launched on the airwaves. Music channels had been tried before, but MTV found its niche with younger audiences. Kids would come home from school, flip on the TV, and watch countless music videos of bands they had heard on the radio. Soon, it became every musician’s goal to have their newest videos shown on the network. The format was copied time and time again by other countries, but MTV was definitely at it’s heyday in the 80s. Music videos are now mainly seen on YouTube, while MTV-style stations run more reality style shows.

#8: Go to a Video Rental Store

Video might have killed the radio star, but it didn’t take too long for streaming to obliterate the video store. The 1980s saw the VCR land in countless homes across the globe. And with it, video rental outlets began thriving. Not only could you rent the latest films, but kids had access to dozens of video games they could try at home. It was a welcome surprise, although at first, movie studios opposed the entire concept of at-home viewing. Despite their decline, it’s important to remember that if these stores hadn’t existed, companies like Netflix may have never been born. After all, they started as a DVD rental company!

#7: Do Jazzercise

While visiting the aforementioned video store, you might’ve picked up a Jazzercise tape. Workout fitness videos were all the rage during the 80s. Jane Fonda had her own series, as did Richard Simmons. A lesser known name might be that of Judi Sheppard Missett, who founded the Jazzercise franchise in the late 1960s. While teaching dance, she learned that her students cared more about looking good than dancing well. That’s when she had her proverbial lightbulb moment. She franchised the concept in the ‘80s, which meant the workouts became available across the US. Like many other fitness fads, Jazzercise is still around — but it’s long past its peak.

#6: Make a Mixtape

If you dig around your house, you might be able to find one of these. It’s hard to fathom now, but mixtapes were pretty important back in the 1980s. At the time, people had to buy entire albums. So they’d often end up with dozens of tapes that only had a few songs they really liked. Music lovers would therefore record their favorite tracks onto their mix. After some waiting, they’d have the best collection of tunes from their catalog all in one place. And making someone a mixtape was just about the most romantic thing you could do! Yet with the introduction of single song purchases - and eventually streaming services - playlists took over.

#5: Attend Chickenpox Parties

They’re far less common now, and certainly highly frowned upon. But there was a time when this was a real thing. Normally, chickenpox runs through your system and you never get it again. So the logic was to catch it as a child, when it’s far less dangerous. Parents would take never infected kids and put them in the same room as someone with the pox, in hopes that everyone would get sick. This practice fell out of favor in the mid-90s, when a vaccine for the disease became available. But although pox parties are a thing of the past, some families still have such gatherings for other viruses.

#4: Wear Shoulder Pads in Clothes

Football players have been sporting shoulder pads for ages. The fashionable version was born in the 1930s. Although the trend continued here and there, the 1980s saw the square shoulder look for women make a huge comeback. It was thought to create a more outlined shape, and helped define the business suit look of the time. Popular TV shows like “Dynasty” showcased high-class women wearing the notable look, making it all the more desirable. But much like parachute pants, it’s a clothing trend that later died off. We’ll still catch glimpses of shoulder pads from time to time, but they certainly don’t carry the same weight as before.

#3: Get Cassettes From Columbia House

When Columbia House first came along, they changed the music buying game. For just a penny, they’d send you roughly eight albums if you joined their “club”. It seemed like a revolutionary, cheap and easy way to get lots of music very quickly. But things soured just as fast. Members didn’t necessarily realize that they’d signed up to automatically be sent cassettes they didn’t want. And they were on the hook to pay higher than retail value for them if they didn’t opt out in time. Needless to say, it didn’t take long before the company’s billing tactics caught up with them!

#2: Skip Seatbelts

In most parts of the world today, people automatically put their seatbelts on when entering a car. They’ve been proven to save lives time and time again. Yet in the 1980s, buckling up wasn’t as commonplace. Many boomers and generation Xers have stories of riding around town without having to put theirs on. It was a time when safety laws were far less strict, and consumers had a bit more choice as to how safe they could be. Even the requirement for bike helmets didn’t come into play until many years later. As the decade moved along, seatbelts became the norm, and are now a standard part of our driving routine.

#1: Buy Cigarettes with a Note From Your Parents

In 2021, you can expect to get carded when buying cigarettes. But if you roll the calendar back to the 1980s, all you needed to make such a purchase was a note from your parents. It sounds baffling today, but it’s true. Crossing the street and going into the gas station, kids simply had to show a slip to the cashier that said they had permission to get the product. Often, the workers would know the families, so sales were made all too easily. Obviously, this practice is now long gone, as far tighter restrictions have been put in place.
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