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Deader Than Disco: Real Life

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     Businesses — Restaurants 
  • Internet cafés (in places that have strong Wi-Fi and smartphone/tablet penetration). They were created at first to allow travelers to access the Internet away from home while concurrently capitalizing on the coffeehouse trend. The concept's pretty much been done in by the increasing presence of Wi-Fi in public venues, not to mention the ease of accessing the Internet via cell phone or tablet. The gamer version also hasn't been doing well due to newer games being LAN unfriendly (Blizzard for example went from being the most Lan friendly to DRM forbids multiple copies and thus preventing people who doesn't own the game from playing.) with the sole appeal now being the performance computers being available to cash strapped PC owners.
    • Note, however, that internet cafés still thrive in the developing world, where home internet is too expensive for many if not most to install and what libraries exist tend not to have particularly reliable access, either.
    • This is inverted for Japan, where Internet cafes provide a wide variety of entertainment, from Internet access, video games, karaoke, darts, and reading manga comics.
  • Chuck E. Cheese's and similar children's restaurants/play areas are zig-zagging. In its heyday in the '80s, Chuck E. Cheese's was the most popular party spot for kids. Along with similar copycat businesses, fast food joints such as McDonald's and Burger King developed their own giant playgrounds in the '90s. Over time, however, such places came to be viewed as hunting grounds for pedophiles and/or targets of Urban Legends related to disgusting unmentionables lurking in ball pits. While Chuck E. Cheese's is still doing well, most of its competitors (including Show Biz Pizza and Discovery Zone, which it bought out, and regional players such as Jeepers!) are long gone, and most fast-food places have removed their playplaces. On the other hand, Dave & Busters came up with a successful spin on the concept by targeting adults (on-site bar, bowling, billiards, arcade, etc.). A further zig-zag is in the playplaces. There are still some around, but they're not as common as they were in the 90s. However, one artifact of playplaces that is most definitely Deader Than Disco is the Ball Pit, which is pretty much the only thing that's been removed from playplaces due to sanitary purposes. (As any McDonald's employee who worked there in the 90s can tell you, some of those Urban Legends of discarded food or underwear being found in the ball pits were actually true.)
  • Drive-thru pretty much killed off drive-in. A&W has caught somewhat of a second wind, but they're most often combined with Long John Silver's or KFC, or in some other location that's more conventional (food court, gas station, conventional drive-thru). Lesser drive-in chains like Dog n Sudsnote  and B & K were crushed in the 70s as McDonald's and the like became more popular, not to mention more practical in colder climates — drive-ins in northern states generally had to close in the winter months unless they also had indoor seating, which many did not. Sonic Drive-In has survived likely because its core is in the South, where climate is less of an issue.note 
  • Increasing fish prices weren't kind to the concept of fast-food seafood. Long John Silver's dropped a ton of locations in the 1980s and 1990s under multiple ownership changes, but had a minor resurgence in the 2000s through co-brands with KFC, Taco Bell, and A & W. Former nationwide players H. Salt Esquire and Arthur Treacher's have mostly retracted to their respective home bases of California or Ohio, although you might still find a stray Arthur Treacher's tacked onto your local Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs. Captain D's is still somewhat popular in the South, although even it had its turmoil under the ownership of the long-troubled Shoney's.note 
  • Fast-foods specializing in roast beef. Heap Big Beef came and went in the 1960s; Roy Rogers was slowly whittled down to a handful of New England locations between the late 70s and 2000s thanks to a bunch of Executive Meddling; and Rax (once found in 38 states and Guatemala) is down to 14 locations in Ohio. The most famous of the bunch, Arby's, has been slowly slipping for years, despite adding subs, salads and chicken to its menu to diversify.
  • Diner/gift shop/gas station combination chains like Stuckey's, Horne's and Nickerson Farms. Stuckey's was heavily wounded under the poor management of Pet Milk in the 1970s, and the oil crisis didn't help. It began a bit of a comeback in the 90s when a former congressman purchased the chain and began revitalizing it. Even so, very few of the original, blue-roofed Stuckey's are still in business; most these days are "Stuckey's Express", which amounts to a few aisles of candy and gifts in an otherwise normal truckstop, often with something like Dairy Queen replacing the former in-house Stuckey's diner. But hey, you can still get the pecan logs!
    • The format was subverted by Cracker Barrel, which started out much along the same lines as Stuckey's but ditched the gas station part early on.
  • Truckstop diners are almost entirely a thing of the past. If a truckstop has a restaurant in it now, it's very likely to be a conventional fast-food chain (or several), or even a diner-type chain such as Denny's or Waffle House (though Petro stations include their own Iron Skillet brand of restaurant).
  • Restaurants that emphasized extra-low prices and fast drive-thru service. Such restaurants had extremely small buildings that lacked dining rooms, and often had two drive-thru bays. Started in 1984 by Hot 'n Now, the concept also spawned Rally's in 1985 and Checkers in 1986. Hot 'n Now pretty much crashed and burned in the mid-1990s when Pepsi got out of the restaurant business. Burger King and McDonald's both tried drive-thru-only concepts in urban markets in Michigan, but none really took off. Checkers and Rally's merged in 1999, and now (much like Hardee's and Carl's Jr.) the chains differ only in name and maintain the look of Checkers. To help maintain their foothold, Checkers shed a lot of less-profitable locations, and most new openings in the past decade have been more conventional fast-food restaurants.
  • "Express" versions of fast food chains. In The Nineties, many of the major fast-food players (including McDonald's, KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut) tried scaled-down locations that had a limited menu, little to no seating, and a small footprint, in order to emphasize quick service, high volume, and takeout. Such locations were usually in college campuses, convenience store/truckstops, or busy downtown districts that lacked the space for a full fast-food operation. (McDonald's also tried the "Express" concept inside many Walmart stores, while Taco Bell Express and Pizza Hut Express found their way into select Target stores.) Despite initial success, the concept fizzled out in the 21st century, although a very small number of "express" locations are still around. Most Walmart stores now have Subway as the fast-food of choice, while Target has reverted to just having their own in-house snack bar, and McDonald's has pretty much shifted its focus almost entirely to "standard" locations.
  • Quick-serve restaurants specializing in rotisserie chicken and "homestyle" sides such as mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, etc. The concept started in 1985 with Boston Market, and continued in 1991 with Kenny Rogers Roasters (yes, it was co-owned by that Kenny Rogers). The latter pretty much imploded after a 1998 bankruptcy filing, although (as with Arthur Treacher's) Nathan's Famous sometimes sells Kenny Rogers Roasters-branded items and the chain is still popular in South East Asia. Boston Market declared bankruptcy around the same time, languished in the 2000s under the ownership of McDonald's, and got sold off again in 2007. One must wonder if that Seinfeld episode had anything to do with Kenny Rogers Roasters' bankruptcy.
  • In a Cyclic Trope, fast food gradually took chunks out of the more traditional "sit down" restaurant chains throughout the 1970s through the 1990s, grinding down chains like Howard Johnson's, Big Boynote , Shoney's, Ponderosa, Sambo's, and Friendly's. Fast food itself has been slowly declining since the 2000s with the advent of "fast casual" options like Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Chipotle, and Panera Bread, which offer nearly the speed of fast food and fresher, healthier ingredients and choices at reasonable prices. Even some of the fast food chains have gone upscale in an attempt to compete — for instance, McDonald's now offers pricey coffee drinks to cater to the Starbucks crowd, while Hardee's and Carl's Jr. have table service.
  • Sambo's once had more than 1,100 locations in 47 out of 50 states. Their death was rather rapid, fueled both by a complex financial management system that was little more than a pyramid scheme, and — more importantly — controversy over the name, which was seen as pejorative to African Americans. (This, however, was completely unintentional; it was merely derived from the names of the two founders.) Sambo's tried to reinvent its image by re-branding some of its restaurants to Jolly Tiger and later to No Place Like Sam's, but they completely went under except for one restaurant in 1981. Many of their locations were sold to similar diner-style chains such as Denny's, Village Inn, and Friendly's.
  • In the 2000s, less conservative sit-down chains with alcoholic licenses such as Applebee's, Chili's, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Red Robin seem have taken a significant (pun not intended) bite out of traditional sit-down chains, as have independently owned family restaurants, which typically offer the exact same food as traditional sit-down chains but for more reasonable prices.
  • Overly large food and drink portions were popular items in many fast food chains during the 1990s, but after several lawsuits popped up from people that blamed the fast food companies for making them fat, the super large sizes were briefly removed from the menus and were replaced with healthy alternatives. McDonald's used to have the Super Size option, which was the largest size for drinks and french fries, but thanks to the lawsuits and the Super Size Me documentary, the chain buckled to pressure and no longer have the Super Size option. Some restaurants in certain chains still have their largest offerings depending on their location and most independent restaurants still offer their biggest sizes.
  • Spudnuts. It evidently was a very popular donut chain, notable for using potato flour. The parent company meanwhile is pretty much gone, but you can still find a few independent stores (as well as one in Washington).
  • Krispy Kreme had been around since the 1930s, with several stores in the South, but it exploded in the early 2000s. However, overexpansion and the low-carb craze of the mid-2000s did a lot of damage (it didn't help that grocery stores and convenience stores also started selling Krispy Kreme brand doughnuts even if a given town had multiple locations). The chain is still around, but on a much smaller scale — although that said, the "much smaller scale" means it's still present in most major metropolitan areas, which is more than it was before the early-2000s overexpansion.
  • Many department stores often had full-service restaurants. However, the high maintenance these require, as well as the fact that many of the big names in department stores started closing their doors in the 2000s (see the retail section) caused this practice to fade away. However, as mentioned above, this is not completely dead in the discount side: Walmart stores still feature a fast food (usually Subway), while Target still has a snack bar. (Kmart, on the other hand, has gradually phased out most of its in-store snack bars, some of which were supplied by Little Caesars.)
  • "Mom and Pop" pizzerias, while not totally vanished, are not as ubiquitous as they used to be. These were privately owned pizza places that often served a unique or regional style of pizza such as variants of New York style, Sicilian or occasionally the sheet pizza. They were usually barebones establishments with minimal decor and seating (sometimes bar style seating). Although some pizza parlors also doubled as (or more often operated in tandem with) a pinball/video arcade and acted as a general teenage hangout. Such establishments have been eclipsed by the corporate chains such as Domino's, Papa John's, and Pizza Hut. There are the smaller chains that sell pizza along with submarine sandwiches, cheese sticks, buffalo wings and other popular snacks as well. Most independent places also follow this second model instead of being devoted to pizza exclusively. There are very few independently owned pizza establishments left that specialize in pizza and nothing else (with the exception of calzones, pizza's cousin). While corporate chains, on the other hand, cut costs for themselves by using highly processed ingredients, it has become quite expensive to create quality pizza with quality fresh ingredients, something that most privately run pizzerias pride themselves in. Smaller establishments or local chains often use Sysco supplies resulting in little variation in taste. It is also noted that independent pizzerias typically did not offer the convenience of delivery or mass production. Non chain pizza is generally found either in association with a connecting Italian restaurant or as part of the menu in bars or pubs. For the most part, genuine multigenerational mom and pop pizzerias are now rare outside of historical pizza hubs such as the East Coast Tri-State (NY, NJ, CT) area, Philadelphia, or Chicago.

     Businesses — Howard Johnson's 
Howard Johnson's is a poster child for this trope. The chain pioneered several concepts both in restaurants (begun in 1925) and motels (1954). Increased competition, rising gas prices, and a great deal of Executive Meddling have pretty much washed away what the once-mighty chain did:

  • The general concept of a singular motel franchise. Before then, most motels were mom-and-pop outlets that could be pretty dire, and while "referral" chainsnote  existed before them (and still do), Ho Jo helped codify the concept of a brand identity for motels as a whole (although the likes of Holiday Inn, Quality Inn, and Ramada played no small part), thus ensuring that you could stay at any of their properties anywhere on the planet and get a reasonably consistent experience in terms of price and amenities. Nowadays, most motels change brands as often as people change their underwear, thus blurring the lines from chain to chain. That Motel 6 you're staying in now might be worlds apart from the one you stayed at in another town, just because one used to be a Knights Inn and the other used to be a Hampton Inn.
  • Unique architecture. Ho Jo motor lodges and restaurants had A-frame lobbies with bright, orange porcelain tiles and standardized floor plans for rooms, so that travelers could always know what they were getting when they stopped. Compare to the glass and stucco boxes of today, and often oppressive sign ordinances. Even worse is that Ho Jo began drifting from their own A-frame image in the 1970s. Later motels had a more conservative mansard roof, and several experimental hotel styles were built — including boxy, upscale hotels in urban settings, and yes, even conversions from other hotel brands. During the 1990s, the chain's then owners mandated that any Ho Jo still sporting an A-frame had to make massive renovations on it.
  • Curb appeal. Floor-level rooms were directly accessible from the parking lot, and even two- and three-story Ho Jo lodges had easy access. Nowadays, rising real estate value often leads to compact multi-level box motels, which require walking down the hallway and up the stairs several times to reach your room. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the curb appeal was also axed by the aforementioned 1990s mandates.
  • An on-site Howard Johnson's restaurant. For most of its history, the restaurant side could be trusted to serve signature dishes such as fried clams, macaroni and cheese, and 28 flavors of private brand ice cream. As with the motels, the restaurants relied on uniform floor plans and architecture to catch travelers' eyes. But as they had done on the hotel side, Ho Jo began experimenting in the 1970s when fast food began to dominate. Some were changed to more "casual" concepts, the most prominent being the still barely-existing Ground Round. They also tried a more "coffeehouse" type franchise, limited-service locations on turnpikes, bars, a deli/ice cream shop concept called Deli Baker Ice Cream Maker, a handful of shopping mall based locations in California, and yes, even a couple fast-food concepts. But their many prototypes and concepts all failed, largely due to lack of commitment.
    The restaurant division got sold to Marriott, who dumped all of their restaurant holdings in 1985 (including the aforementioned Roy Rogers, Big Boy, and all of the company-owned Ho Jo restaurants). This left only the franchised restaurants, whose owners founded a new company called FAI in 1986 to maintain what was left. While FAI was able to reopen at least one of the 1985 closures (Bay City, Michigan) and even opened a couple new ones, the company had too little money to do more than just barely keep the last few afloat. By 1991, only 17 were still in business, with at least five of those closing before 2000. After FAI went under in 2005, the restaurant rights went to a new company, and the chain was slowly whittled down to two as of 2013 (Lake Placid, New York and Bangor, Maine). Even worse, the original recipes for many of their signature dishes are now gone, so these last two are pretty much Ho Jo In Name Only.

    Businesses — Retail 
  • Both butchers and fishmongers are rarely seen these days, at least in the United States, modern supermarkets having made both professions obsolete.
  • Souvenir stores just aren't what they used to be. People can now store all their memories from a trip on a digital camera or cell phone, so they don't need kitsch or souvenir clothing. It doesn't help that many souvenir stores have not updated their decor OR their inventory in decades, which makes them look old, cluttered, and uninviting.
  • Local department stores. Particularly in the 1990s and 2000s with the long string of mergers that turned Macy's into the giant it is now note . Figuratively dozens of local department store names are now under the Macy's banner, but with little change to the merchandise mix, they're pretty much Macy's In Name Only in most markets. Dillard's and Belk have also saturated the South with countless buy-outs of other chains, and the Bon-Ton family takes care of the Midwest through Pennsylvania and New York with a line of pretty much interchangeable brands that were bought out through the yearsnote , while other regional players such as Mervyns and Gottschalks (mostly found in California and the West) just went under entirely. It was also the case with Eaton's in Canada (which was sold to Sears), Simpsons, and the regional chain Woodward's (found in Western Canada only), both of which which were sold to the Hudson's Bay Company, the owners of Zellers and The Bay.
  • Department stores as a whole have shifted their focus. It used to be that you could go into J.C. Penney, Sears, Montgomery Ward, or your local equivalent and buy clothing, hardware, electronics, appliances, home furnishings, and the like all under one roof — some even had candy counters and full-service restaurants. Nowadays, most department stores have shifted entirely to "soft" lines (clothing, bedding, etc.), and the once-omnipresent all-in-one department store is now mostly limited to the discount sector (Walmart, Target, etc.) or the long-struggling Sears, the only major department store left that still sells "hard lines" like tools, hardware, electronics, and appliances. This shift has also coincided with said department stores moving from massive downtown locations to often smaller locations in shopping malls. Both the relucatance to move out to suburbia and competition from Walmart were among the factors that ultimately killed Montgomery Ward in 2001.
  • Five-and-dimes. Kresge began moving away from the concept as early as 1962 with a little thing called Kmart, in the same year that also brought Walmart, Target, and a host of similar discount department stores (see below). Kmart was so initially successful that the parent company finally abandoned its Kresge dime stores in 1987. The concept died in part due to many dime stores being ancient buildings located in downtowns that were rapidly decaying due to suburban development. Even though some malls built in the 60s and 70s had dime stores in them, they were often more modernized, scaled-down variations that didn't have the same merchandise mix as the Woolworth downtown. Also, the discount stores offered a wider variety, so Kmart basically ended up cannibalizing itself. The rise of the price-point retailer (e.g. Dollar General) in the late 90s-early 2000s was also a factor.
  • The traditional discount department store is pretty much dead. The first wave in the late 1970s-early 1980s killed off four discount chains started by Kresge's rivals: Murphy's Mart (G.C. Murphy), Woolco (Woolworth), Grant City (W.T. Grant), and Britt's (J.J. Newberry), along with regional players like Tempo, E.J. Korvette, J.M. Fields, Arlan's, and Sky City. It was also at this time that Kmart had a brief rise to the top, even increasing their numbers by taking over many former Grant City, Britt's, Tempo, and Korvette locations. Kmart eventually lost its way thanks to rampant mismanagement in the 1990s, allowing Walmart (which at that point was still limited mostly to the South) and Target to rise to the top. The resulting rise then killed off players such as Amesnote , Bradlees, Jamesway, Venture, and Caldor, many of which ended up giving their own buildings to fuel Walmart's kudzu-like expansion. Nowadays, nearly every Walmart is a "supercenter" with a grocery section (although that name is no longer used), Target has distanced itself from the race by moving more upscale, and Kmart has been confusedly staggering its way to oblivion since the 1990s. Pretty much the only "real" discount store of this sort now is Shopko (found mainly in the Upper Midwest and mountain states), and the only "supercenter" competition is similarly regional (Meijer in Michigan and surrounding states, and Fred Meyer {no relation} in the Pacific Northwest and mountain states).
    In Canada, many department stores shared the same fate. Woolco lasted longer in Canada (staying until 1994, when it was acquired by Walmart) than in the U.S., where it ceased to exist in 1982. The Woolco stores that Walmart did not acquire were mostly either downtown stores or unionized stores. Kmart had stores across Canada until 1998, when they were sold to Zellers, which also took over some stores of the aforementioned Woodward's, as well as similar regional chains Miracle Mart and Towers (Bonimart in Quebec) in the eastern provinces. Zellers itself was sold to Target, which closed some stores and converted others in late 2012. Other discount chains with smaller stores, such as BiWay and Consumers Distributing, have also ceased to exist.
  • Speaking of Sears and Kmart, if those two retailers (who merged in 2005) aren't Deader than Disco yet, they've been heading that way. There was a time when Kmart was top dog in the discount sector, with stores in all 50 states and a wide variety of sister chainsnote , but a lack of a coherent brand image, slowness to adopt computer-based stocking, poor location choices, and failure to maintain their stores, all allowed Walmart to take the lead in the discount store wars. Kmart started closing stores in 1994 and 1995, shed all of its associated chains, then had another bout of closures after filing for bankruptcy in 2002. Sears was also plagued by a large number of rundown, unremodeled stores, not to mention getting crushed on all sides by competition (Sears's softline sales constantly lagged behind J.C. Penney, Kohl's, etc., while their bread-and-butter hardlines were slowly losing ground to the likes of Home Depot and Lowe's). They were also dragged down by their shopping mall development arm, Homart, which was sold off in The Nineties as shopping malls slowly fell out of fashion (see below). The merger of the two lagging brands in 2005 seemed to do little more than combine the two chains' troubles into one bigger ball of troubles, as both have only been hit with ever-larger numbers of store closings since the 2000s. Outside a handful of "Hometown" stores (scaled-down Sears stores which sell only the hardlines, most often in smaller-town markets where competition is scarce) and a few Kmart stores that briefly rebranded to a Flawed Prototype called "Sears Grand" which attempted to combine the remaining strengths of both chains (but quickly fizzled out due to the mid 2000s economic crisis), neither Kmart nor Sears has opened a new store since the very beginning of the 21st century.
  • The concept of ordering from a catalog — including both the big catalogs sent out by Sears, J.C. Penney, Montgomery Ward, etc., and the "catalog showroom" stores like Service Merchandise and Best Products — got a one-two punch from the rise of specialty "big-box" stores and the advent of online shopping. There are still a few specialty food companies, like Harry and David's and Swiss Colony, that still do good business from catalog orders, possibly due to their nostalgia factor as a traditional holiday gift in many families. Zig-zagged in the UK: Argos is a huge chain famous for 'only' putting their products on display in catalogs (later on, online). The unique practice has somehow managed to make them lots and lots of money. But queueing to buy in Argos is seen as a grim and dull process, the only other big chain that employed this method (Index) was bought out by Argos in the early 2000s.
  • Steve & Barry's, an off-price sports-themed clothing store that originally had select locations near college campuses, but was everywhere in the early-mid 2000s. They expanded rapidly throughout the U.S., often snatching up abandoned "big box" stores, or vacant anchor stores in shopping malls. Such expansion was part of what helped do it in. Most of their stores were in distressed shopping centers, and seemed to exist mainly to prevent the eyesore of a vacant storefront; no one wants to buy $7 T-shirts in a hastily converted former department store at the "dirt mall". (To be fair, they did have locations in even popular malls, starting with a massive store at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills.) Dodgy financial practices and a failed attempt to expand the retail base beyond sports apparel didn't help.
  • The rise of large-scale large-selection franchise chain book stores such as Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Books-A-Million (as well as Chapters/Indigo in Canada and WH Smith in the UK) seemed to mark the end for not only small-business locally owned book stores, but also smaller, mall-based bookstores like B. Dalton and Waldenbooks (which, for the last several years of their lives, were respectively owned by Barnes & Noble and Borders). However, with the competition eliminated, the price of books generally rose and service declined. With the rise of book sales on the Internet (with price, selection, and convenience far greater than any physical store could have), said chain stores failed to capitalize on advantages (physical browsing, instant service, community, fairly good coffee), with the outlook looking grim for the big-box stores, particularly Borders, which went out of business in 2011. Interestingly, this has also led to a rise in locally-owned used book stores, with several such stores (e.g., 2nd and Charles primarily in the South, and Vintage Stock in the Lower Midwest and Texas) even developing into regional chains, often by taking over former Borders locations. Also contributing is the rise of the e-book reader, which takes up less space, has adjustable font-size and built-in back-lighting.
  • Chain music stores. The concept had already become homogenized as dozens of local and regional chains such as Camelot Music, Record Town, Strawberries, The Wall, Coconuts, Disc Jockey, Wherehouse Music, etc. were all merged with f.y.e., while Sam Goody struggled under the ownership of Musicland (who also owned Suncoast Motion Picture Company and Media Play) and crumbled even further under the ownership of Best Buy. The last handful of Sam Goody stores were ultimately sold to f.y.e., although one store in San Diego maintained the Sam Goody name until closing in October 2012. The concept is pretty much dead thanks to the rise of iTunes and an overall decrease in album sales, not to mention better album prices at online outlets or Walmart.
    • The two front runners in "big box" music stores (Tower Records and Media Play being the biggest two) both went under in 2006 thanks to the Internet's grip on the music industry. In fact, the first f.y.e. stores were megastores along the same scope, but that business model was slowly abandoned.
  • Video stores. Although they were reasonably quick to make the jump from VHS to DVD, the rise in popularity of Netflix dealt a major blow. Blockbuster closed its corporate-owned stores in 2012-2013 (the remaining ones, clustered in Texas and the Pacific Northwest, are franchisees Still Wearing The Old Colors), Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery closed in 2010 (the two chains were merged for their last few years, and were probably a poor fit for each other, as Hollywood was usually only in urban areas, but Movie Gallery usually in rural areas), and only Family Video seems to be holding its own. The only real chain specializing in video sales instead of rental, the aforementioned Suncoast Motion Picture Company, is almost entirely a goner for the same reason. This was lampshaded by the South Park episode "A Nightmare on FaceTime", which in turn is a parody of The Shining, with a Blockbuster Video replacing the abandoned hotel.
  • Adult book/video stores: Many communities' discomfort towards owners of such a business, as well as the seedy nature associated with many of them, is now avoided by simply going online to sell their wares. The fact that these places were considered havens for sleazy, male perverted types didn't help patrons who may have felt awkward being seen entering such stores. It's only a matter of time now before print pornography and hard copy porn movies are rendered obsolete. There are still places that specialize in adult toys and erotica paraphenalia, however. These tend to be more upscale and respectable in appearance. All the better to cater to a more varied and less sleazy clientele as well as a significant female demographic.

    Businesses — Shopping malls 
Shopping malls, from about the early-mid 1990s through the beginning of The New Tens, fell under this trope for many reasons:

  • Development slowed to a crawl in the 1990s, with no new indoor malls being built in the United States between 2006 and 2013. "Dead malls", though they have been around in some capacity since The Eighties, have only become more and more common in the 21st century. The concept fell hard due to many factors: rampant overbuilding that saturated many retail markets; a declining economy that not only killed off boatloads of retailers and caused many more to scale back their locations, but also stifled many customers' disposable incomes; "white flight", particularly around the earlier generations of malls, thus leading to what Chris Rock called "the mall white people used to go to"; the cost of providing HVAC in enclosed malls; rising land values in some areas that made malls no longer the highest and best use of land; and again, the rising popularity of online shopping. Also not helping was the aforementioned Macy's merger — many malls were anchored by two or even three chains that Macy's had bought out, causing developers to scramble to fill the space.
    For most of the 90s and early 2000s, any new shopping centers were usually power centers (clusters of "big box" retail like The Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.) or lifestyle centers (built as a streetscape or outdoor mall, often featuring upscale stores). For nearly every year of the 21st century, several more malls are closed or torn down for redevelopment. Those that aren't have tried to stem the loss of retailers by adding nonconventional tenants such as college campuses, gyms, or libraries. Others will tear down a vacant anchor, or even an entire wing, for a "big box" store or "lifestyle"-themed wing. Some malls have weathered the storm and maintained close to full occupancy, but far more are showing signs of wear — even Mall of America, the biggest in the United States, lost one of its four department stores in 2012. And what isn't redeveloped is often times just abandoned, leaving an enormous eyesore that can sit vacant and deteriorating for years.note 
    However, the The New Tens have hinted at a reversal of this trend, as new, enclosed shopping malls are finally being developed, and many mall developers seem to be on massive renovation sprees that are bringing in plenty of new stores.
  • Early malls were more community-oriented, usually with tenants such as drugstores and supermarkets, with maybe one department store at best. This style of "community" mall pretty much died out in the 70s, as malls became larger and more regional in scope, as opposed to being a smaller center serving a neighborhood — it's just not practical to buy groceries or toiletries at a huge mall that has over a hundred other stores. (Furthermore, grocery stores also became much larger around this point, making them less practical as mall anchors, while many of the neighborhoods in which smaller malls were built started becoming victims of white flight — or were otherwise just left to die when the newer, bigger malls opened.) Pretty much the only exception to "no grocery stores in malls" is the aforementioned "lifestyle center" concept, which might include a trendy grocer like Whole Foods or Earth Fare. The more "community" style malls lasted a bit longer in smaller towns (about 10,000-20,000 people), but again, the general decline of the mall scene as a whole has helped to do almost all of them in. In these cases, the small-town malls were often owned by local developers who lacked the resources to renovate them, thus exacerbating the "small mall"'s death.
  • Fountains, likely killed off because of high maintenance costs; also likely to prevent people from harming themselves by fishing coins out of them, or causing havoc by dumping liquid soap into them.
  • Food courts. While some are still doing well, many malls have struggled to keep their food courts occupied even when the rest of the mall is holding its own. This may be due to a food court's limited business hours and the rise of "fast casual" and alcohol-oriented sit-down chains mentioned above. Some well-to-do malls have ripped out their food courts entirely for more retail space, most often yet another "big box" store. Also not helping was the 2014 bankruptcy filing of Sbarro, a pizza chain whose mainstay has long been the food court.
  • Until the late 80s-early 90s, a lot of malls had ice skating rinks. Sometimes, the big open space pulled double duty as a food court surrounding an ice rink. These were likely retired due to high maintenance.
    • One aversion: The ice rink at the Diamond Run Mall in Rutland, Vermont is arguably the healthiest part of the whole place, because it was built regulation-size and with full spectator seating. It's home ice for Castleton State College and most of the local high schools' hockey teams.
  • Factory outlets, for a long time. The fad came in the 1980s and 1990s, with many small ones located off freeways. Most of them were hastily-built strips, often in markets not suitable for onenote  and died swiftly. Others were poorly-located, cramped, enclosed centers that often lacked a big "anchor" storenote . Pretty much the only exception was the Mills Corporation (originally known as Western Development; now part of Simon, the US' largest mall management company), which built enormous suburban outlet malls, starting with Potomac Mills in suburban Washington, DC in 1985. Mills malls stood out because they were anchored by large numbers of off-price and/or big-box stores such as Burlington Coat Factory, TJ Maxx, or Bed Bath & Beyond; their tenant rosters included both outlet and "normal" mall stores; they also boasted entertainment options such as movie theaters and bowling alleys; and they often included trendy restaurants such as Rainforest Café. Almost all of the Mills properties are still rather successful.
    However, many new outlet malls have been built in The New Tens, particularly in more tourist-heavy or financially stable areas. Many of the newer ones are scaled-down variants of the Mills prototype, featuring full food courts and anchor stores as opposed to just being long strips or tiny, enclosed buildings. Many others set themselves apart by featuring outlet versions of upscale stores such as Nordstrom or Saks Fifth Avenue.
  • Individual clothing chains can go through this. Fashion changes constantly, and clothing chains need to either keep up, or get left in the dust. The 90s and early 2000s killed off a lot of once massively-popular chains that failed to keep up with the times, such as County Seat, Merry-Go-Round, Gadzooks, Foxmoor, Jeans West, and Chess King, while formerly niche stores like Aéropostale, American Eagle, Hot Topic, and Pac Sun took their place at the turn of the millennium… only for those to stumble in The New Tens with the rise of Zumiez, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Forever 21, and rue21 (no relation). Other chains like Gap/Banana Republic (same ownership), American Eagle, and Abercrombie & Fitch have survived only by completely overhauling their merchandising mix, and even those have been hit with closures.

    Businesses — Other 
  • Boardwalk Amusement parks. You still do see a few of them around (Such as the Jersey Shore), but it can be a bit hard to believe that in the 1950s, that was pretty much what an amusement park was, and in fact, Disney wanted Disneyland to stand out from those. Nowadays, the Disney Theme Parks model is, along with Six Flags, pretty much exactly what people think of when they hear the words, "Amusement Park." In a Hilarious in Hindsight moment, California Adventure Park is actually trying to be reminiscent of those because that is the "Nostalgic" model for the older generations who grew up with the Boardwalk Amusement park.

    Of course, most people in Flyover Country and Canada, Eh? think of Disneyland or Six Flags for amusement parks because that's pretty much what most amusement parks out there were. Amusement parks on boardwalks and piers were pretty much only seen in Fiction (such as in Rocket Power), except for maybe a few people who lived by the great lakes.
  • Subverted with the Drive-In Theater. Hundreds of them died off in the 70s and 80s due to many reasons: rising land costs, urban sprawl, high maintenance costs, better quality at increasingly-large multiplexes, the almost-inherent necessity of closing in the winter. However, the concept caught a second wind in the 2000s, with several new ones opening and existing ones undergoing renovation.
  • Large single-screen movie theaters have almost entirely been replaced by multiplexes. In turn, the first batches of multiplexes (which usually had only two to four screens and were bland beige boxes) were killed by much larger multiplexes that feature smaller auditoriums with stadium-style seating, cupholders, IMAX, and can have upwards of a dozen screens. These days, single-screen movie theaters and older multiplexes often show independent art-house films, special screenings of classic films from decades past, or second-run movies at a discount price. Others convert the theater space to other uses, such as laser tag ranges.
    • Theaters located in shopping malls are a subversion. Many malls gutted their theater spaces for more retail stores, food courts, or "big box" stores, likely due to the space being impossible to expand or upgrade to a "better" theater — not to mention the fact that many theaters hold screenings at times in which most malls are not open for business (e.g. midnight screenings). But as malls are losing more and more of their anchor stores, a quick and easy way to eliminate the vacant space is to knock it down for a huge multiplex. A lot of the time, said multiplex isn't directly connected to the mall, thus eliminating the schedule problems.
  • "Badge engineered" sub-brands of major automotive manufacturers — Asüna, Geo (General Motors), Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Plymouth and Mercury are all gone due to things such as the global economic crisis. Once upon a time, the expectation was that new car buyers would start with a model from the "low-priced three" (Chevrolet, Ford, and Plymouth), move up to the midrange brands (Buick, Mercury, Dodge) as their income went up, and end up with a luxury brand (Cadillac, Lincoln, Chrysler). This rarely ever happened. In fact, this belief in a "ladder" model of car buying that really didn't exist was what caused Ford to embark on the Edsel debacle in the late 50's. As time went on, many of the midrange brands became an albatross around their manufacturer's neck, largely kept alive to placate die-hard brand loyalists, and shut down one-by-one as those groups shrank to unimportance with age. It's no coincidence that most ended their runs with a stigma of being the kind of car only someone's grandparents would own.
    • It's not quite that simple — before WW2 a Pontiac was bigger and more powerful than a Chevy, a Buick more so than a Pontiac and so on. Going into the '50s, low-priced lines got bigger and flashier while the top end of the market went from coachbuilt custom limousines to mass-produced sedans that differed little from their cheaper cousins. In the '60s and '70s the market expanded into compacts, midsize and pony cars. Since each of the old brands had its own dealer network and every dealer wanted to be in every segment, the result was that each manufacturer had two (or three or four) car models that differed only in name and trim details in every size class. The nadir of badge engineering came in the eighties with the Cadillac Cimarron. Buyers quickly saw the Cimarron for what it was, which was a hastily rebadged version of the Chevrolet Cavalier economy car.
  • 18+ nightclubs: usual shorthand for 18 to enter, 21 to drink. Once, they were located in the vicinity of many college campuses. These were often perceived as havens for fake I.D.s, underage drinking, and teenage drug dealers. They tended to shut down whenever there was the slightest incident due to the heavy paperwork and legal wrangling involving ABC licencing for such venues. Also, venues that are frequented by kids will drive away a more mature crowd which is likely to have more money to spend as well as being better behaved. Today, these are usually restricted to smaller, more conservative towns, where there is little outside urban influence regarding youth culture. Underage college kids who still want to party (and drink) in more metropolitan areas are now generally seeking out private parties, even in college towns.

    Politics 
  • For most of the Cold War, the idea that revolutionary communism (specifically of the Stalinist variety) was a) a valid alternative to the Western capitalist system, and b) inevitable became very widespread among Western intellectuals. After The Great Politics Mess-Up, it's very much a niche opinion. While democratic Marxist parties have enjoyed considerable success in several countries (e.g. Brazil, South Africa, Nepal, Uruguay, Cyprus), the radical revolutionary brand is limited to a few far-left fringe parties, mostly in ex-communist countries and on college campuses. China is also pretty much communist In Name Only at this point, having adopted a market economy and is better characterized as a state capitalist country rather than a communist one.
    • The Soviet invasions of both Hungary and Czechoslovakia also helped discredit the Soviet Union and communism long before the fall of the Iron Curtain for left-wing intellectuals in the West. Those who still believed in communism gravitated toward Maoism and the Cuban Revolution, before discovering that they also had their own problems.
  • Communism's old arch-enemy, fascism. During the interwar period, a considerable number of intellectuals felt that liberal democracy was a fundamentally flawed system that was doomed to collapse, and that fascism was the only thing that could save the Western world from the decadence and materialism produced by that system. After World War II, though, it's tough to find anybody, other than the most die-hard neo-Nazi fringe, who will openly admit sympathy for fascism, and the mere existence of Godwin's Law shows how hated fascism is in all corners of the political world (and even in many debates wholly separate from politics).
    • Likewise, Adolf Hitler is not only no longer popular in Germany, but today's Germans regard him as the worst thing that ever happened to their nation (not that non-Germans wouldn't agree with that). During the 1990s both himself and the Third Reich enjoyed great popularity in some Eastern European post-Communist countries, as the man who fought Communism to the last breath. After 2002, his popularity waned even there. Generally, the only people who don't hate Hitler are racist white nationalists like George Lincoln Rockwell or the Ku Klux Klan.
      • This is quite oddly subverted in the case of Russia. Despite the fact that the Nazis killed over 20 million Russians in WW2, and wanted to turn Russia into a Germany colony with ethnic Russians either being killed or enslaved, modern Russia has more neo-Nazis than pretty much anywhere else.
  • At least according to some, Globalization as we know it is either heading this way or already has, due in no small part to continued economic turmoil, the rise of populist nationalism and persistence of regional conflicts along with many other factors. This is in contrast to earlier expectations (especially right after the end of the Cold War) of an inevitable, inexorable drive towards a borderless "End of History." But while there is considerable debate over the specifics note , it's generally agreed that it's still a long way off.
    • However, globalization's end may spell resurrection for some of the aforementioned radical ideologies; both communism and fascism may prove to be prematurely buried once global economic interconnection is no longer able to prevent wars and revolutions.
    • Some believe it's a cyclical process, and globalization is way Older Than They Think; its previous peak was originally known as "imperialism" in the just-before-WWI sense of word. In fact, there was a sentiment at the time that with the world as they knew it ever more interconnected, the notion of a massive war was unthinkable.
  • For a long time in the United States, a politician's military record — or lack of it — could be a liability or an asset to his career, especially as far as the Vietnam War was concerned. Bill Clinton was often called a "draft dodger" by political opponents, even though he avoided the draft by a perfectly legal and very common means used by students. Nowadays, this becoming less and less of an issue, and will likely become obsolete entirely, as the passage of time makes politician running for office from that time period, veteran or otherwise, scarcer; President Barack Obama was the first presidential candidate for whom service in Vietnam was not an issue at all, because he was too young to have served.
  • The concept of austerity as a political economic strategy (first proposed by President Ronald Reagan) may be abandoned soon; at Peter G. Peterson's annual Fiscal Summit in May of 2014, most of its supporters admitted the idea was a failure (with its biggest supporter, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, not bothering to show up).

    Science 
  • In the late 19th and early 20th century, eugenics was viewed as a serious field of research. Nearly every Western nation (and even some non-Western countries) had a eugenics program designed for the "betterment of the national race" through keeping out undesirable immigrants and sterilizing criminals and the disabled. Nearly everybody was in favor of eugenics, whether conservative or liberal, religious or atheistic, even racist or not. Those who weren't were seen as soft-hearted, weak-minded sentimentalists who would destroy society by allowing morons, cretins, and imbeciles (all of which were actual medical classifications at the time) to run rampant and out-breed the more genetically fit.

    Eugenics first began to seriously fall out of favor in the 1920s and '30s, when the work of various biologists and anthropologists revealed that environmental factors played a significant role in traits that were once thought strictly hereditary.note  However, what truly sent eugenics from an outdated biological theory to the collective Old Shame of both biology and the Western world was the revelation of the horrors committed by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in its name. Today, there remain very few proponents of eugenics, and many of them are associated with fringe politics. Merely suggesting that you support it is enough to bring up major accusations of Unfortunate Implications, and it's popular to tar historical figures that one doesn't like by bringing up any support for eugenics that they might have had. How far has it fallen? In 2004, a eugenics proponent in Tennessee's 8th Congressional district won the Republican nomination for the House of Representatives. He got less than a quarter of the vote, in an district that's normally a lock for Republicans. His support for eugenics singlehandedly destroyed his campaign.
  • The various racial and cultural theories put forward by anthropologists and biologists which were often used to justify, among other things, eugenics programs and European colonialism. The work of Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, and other leading anthropologists in the early 20th century caused many scientists to call into question their assumption of the "natural superiority" of European people and culture, and served to kick off the above-mentioned decline in the popularity of eugenics.
  • Phrenology, the study of skull shapes in order to determine various intellectual traits. Not only has decades of neurological research discredited much of phrenology's underlying assumptions about which parts of the brain do what, but Franz Boas, in one of his more famous experiments (comparing the children of Southern and Eastern European immigrants to their parents), found that environmental factors played a significant role in determining how one's skull would come to be shaped as he or she grew up. Now, when characters are displayed as having an interest in phrenology, it's usually to show that they're racist, and often amoral at best (see: Calvin Candie in Django Unchained, Professor MacDougal in Red Dead Redemption).
  • Ancient Astronauts: It's slowly but surely getting there. Popularized by Erich Von Daniken's Chariots Of The Gods, The majority of scholars never really took this seriously. But it did catch on with the general public as well as Science Fiction/comic book writers. Today, the theory still has its exponents, but there are now more rationales emerging as to why it should be discredited. Mainly, that it suggests that primitive ancient peoples were simply not smart enough to create these engineering feats that still mystify us today, such as the Easter Island Statues and the Pyramids. That a significant majority of these ancient wonders exist in areas historically dominated by non-White civilizations has also been brought to that argument (after all, no one questions who built the great castles of Europe). The records left by these lost civilizations are open to interpretation. Also, too many unreliable translations of existing ancient records heavily suggest that the ancient aliens themselves had European features. The idea of ancient astronauts influencing ancient civilizations also fails to mesh well with a lot of religious scriptures, especially the Abrahamic religions.
    • They also lost the first and foremost sponsor of the theory, Eastern Bloc governments, who sought to drive people away from established religions (Christian, Jewish and Islamic).

    Technology 
  • Various "people-moving" automobiles over time. In order: station wagons became Deader Than Disco in the late '70s/early '80s thanks to the energy crises of The Seventies, their perception as gas-guzzling land yachts, and the rise of minivans that could carry more cargo and get better fuel economy. Minivans, in turn, went out of style in the late '90s/early '00s thanks to the growing perception that they were uncool and boring to drive, and a sign that their owners were bland suburbanites. Their replacement, sport-utility vehicles, suffered a huge backlash in the late '00s, for the same reasons that the old station wagons did, to be replaced by "crossover" utility vehicles and smaller, more efficient wagons. And minivans.
  • Various automobile aesthetic styles have died as well, such as the big, cartoony fins of The Fifties and the "box-on-wheels" look of The Eighties. The Eighties also had the Delorean, The Nineties had the EV-1, and the Turn of the Millennium had...
  • The Hummer. Created in 1992 as a civilian version of the military Humvee, its parent company was purchased by General Motors in 1999 and shortly after became one of the most popular SUV brands in the United States, especially after the launch of the smaller, less expensive H2 and H3 models. The original H1 model earned a reputation as the ultimate off-road vehicle, made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger (who owned several of them), while the H2 and H3 offered the same swagger to people who didn't have six figures to shell outnote . All of them were status symbols, popular for limousine conversions and modifications; custom H2s with massive rims and chrome plating were a common sight in the Glam Rap videos of the era.

    However, sales for the brand started to plummet in the summer of 2008 during the gas crisis, and stayed low once the financial crisis and subsequent recession hit later that year. Production was halted when GM declared bankruptcy in June of 2009, and after the company emerged from bankruptcy a month later attempts were made to re-brand the Hummer as a more eco-friendly vehicle with a smaller hybrid electric/gas version, which didn't get very far. After GM's attempt to sell the brand to the Sichuan Tengzhong Automobile company in China failed, they completely discontinued the Hummer in late 2009. Today, it's remembered as a symbol of the excesses of Turn of the Millennium consumerism, and not many people will admit to having owned one.
  • Various cell phone styles. Any phone that isn't a smartphone definitely applies. If you really want people to laugh at you, whip out your flip phone. Among smartphones, however, the BlackBerry line is definitely heading into this due to the popularity of the iPhone and various Android-based phones, as well as the current line's outdated nature and the severe delays for the next model. On the other hand, the latest models have been pretty well-received, and the company has returned to profitability. The original brick-sized phones from The Eighties are good for Anyone Remember Pogs? jokes.
    • Non-smart cellphones are still used, but mainly as assigned/work-related phones or for older people who don't use or are not familiar with cellphones enough to need a smartphone. If you have an old cellphone somewhere, it's probably only useful as a backup alarm clock.
  • Universal Serial Bus (USB) and Serial ATA (SATA) killed off a lot of connectors. PCMICA, SCSI, most of the "serial" and "parallel" connectors. Before The New Tens it was common for printers, cameras and other devices to have special connectors so they could be hooked into a computer. Aside from Apple, most now use USB and most drives use SATA. Older devices are still used by governments and industry. Some legacy connectors are provided for the DIY computer marketnote . Like the 80's cell phone, an old printer cable or laptop with PCMICA is good for an Anyone Remember Pogs? joke.
  • Amiga and Commdore were fixtures of The Eighties and The Nineties. Season 1 and 2 of Babylon 5 was made with the Video Toaster software, Dick Van Dyke was an avid Amiga user. What went wrong? Like with Blackberry and Palm the market shifted, clones dominated, management made a lot of poor decisions and they just never caught on in the US. Ahead of its time it could have ushered in graphics and sound that had to wait until the mid Nineties.
  • The personal digital assistant (PDA). From the stylish Sony CLIÉ to the Apple Newton (the iPhone's granddaddy), they were the cool toys to have in the 90s, until smart phones and tablets swallowed them wholenote . Palm went from being the pioneer of PDA's to a footnote in tech history. RIM survived because they moved into smartphones, though this trope appears to have caught up with them there, as noted above; RIM's spectacular mismanagement certainly isn't helping.
  • Ordinary roller skates are on their way out, usually only seen in amusement facilities designated for that purpose; everywhere else, they're being quickly replaced by rollerblades.
  • Tablets have pretty much killed off netbook computers, and are increasingly taking out a bite of the laptop market.
  • Pagers have been effectively outmoded by the rise of mobile e-mail and text messaging with cell phones (though hospitals still use them, as they operate on frequencies that do not interfere with medical equipment where cell phones would). During their use, pagers were nothing more than a portable one way caller ID that lets the user know someone wants to contact them. The user would then have to find a phone to call the number back.
  • Advancements in electronics technology have made older versions of television sets obsolete. For decades, the typical TV were CRT (cathode ray tube), which made the TV extremely heavy to carry and move around since most of the bulk was from the giant tube that made up the screen. By the mid 2000s, flat screen LCD based television sets quickly became popular due to having better picture quality, easy to move around due to their lighter weight, and quickly became cheap to purchase. CRT based television sets are still in use, but they are mostly used in schools and offices for simplicity's sake and saving money by not upgrading.
  • Telephones used in homes today mostly consist of multiple phones being connected to a phone base and being wireless. Corded telephones, which are still in use in the workplace, are pretty much gone and is mostly inconvenient due to the cord.
  • Typewriters were the most common way to type up documents for decades until the invention of the computer and printer. Typewriters left very little room for error; every key pressed would imprint its symbol onto the paper and could not be undone. Users of the typewriter also had to manually insert a new piece of paper to continue typing when it was time to type the next page and ink ribbons had to be replaced once they ran out of ink. Typewriters fell out of use by the 1990s and no one uses them anymore unless it's for a collection or if they are working in a courthouse where everything that is said during a trial must be typed for the record. Computers allow people to easily correct mistakes, save their documents for later editing, and the printer can print up documents more effectively and quickly than a typewriter. Typewriters can still be found in many offices, if only taking up some space on a shelf or a spare desk, because they were acquired in the '80s or '90s and are still working just fine. They can be occasionally useful for filling out pre-printed forms and such.
  • Payphones are pretty much extinct thanks to cell phones becoming extremely cheap to buy. In the past, payphones was the only way to call someone when you were not near a phone and you had to insert coins (usually quarters) to not only use the phone, but you also had to keep paying if you were planning to be on the phone for an extended period of time. Payphones were very prone to breaking down or being vandalized (and often were used as "office phones" for drug dealers) and when cell phones became very common, most cities found it too expensive and a waste of money to keep payphones in working order. Very few payphones exist in a few cities, but it's very likely that any payphone you run into today is broken or disconnected.
    • If you do find payphones, they're usually in malls near the doors.
  • Another related to phones, between cell phones, the internet and online phone directories, the idea of calling for assistance (either zero for the operator or a number such as 411) has completely disappeared.
  • CDs are quickly becoming outclassed by DVDs and Blu-Ray discs due to the latter having better storage capacities and writing speed.
  • VHS tapes (and by proxy, the VCR) are no longer in production due to DVDs being cheaper to produce, having bigger storage capacities, having better video quality, and also being less prone to breaking down.
  • Portable music players have gone through several iterations over the last few decades with each new iteration making the previous one obsolete. Cassette players (also known as a "Walkman") were highly popular in the 1980s and early 1990s until the CD player overtook it due to the CD format having better music quality and being less prone to breaking. MP3 players by the 2000s quickly outclassed CD players by allowing people to hold as many songs as the player could allow, eliminated the need to swap out a CD to change songs, and were much smaller than a CD player, which made it easier to carry around. MP3 players are slowly being phased out in favor of cell phones that can also play music and have more features, just as PDAs were largely phased out in favor of smartphones.
  • SOX (Sodium Oxide) streetlighting like the Thorn Beta 5 is now out of favour, as are concrete columns, in favour of newer, more environmentally friendly SON (Sodium vapor) lighting like the Philips Iridium. Only a few specific locations cling to old SON installs (e.g. Worsley, near Manchester).
  • Several dedicated e-book readers have been killed off in favor of general-purpose tablets.
  • Buttons at major crosswalk intersections used to be able to call up a red light for cars a lot sooner so you can have the right of way to cross the street. Thanks to improvements in the timing of the traffic signals and cities not spending money to maintain the crosswalk buttons, many of them have become useless, but some people still press them because they still think that they work.
  • For decades, people that went to work used a machine to "punch in" by putting their time card in the machine and pulling a lever, causing the machine to punch a hole (and then later a date and timestamp) in the time card with the indicated time next to it. Leaving work would also be called "punching out". Nowadays, many time cards are either written by hand or done electronically with a swipe card (or a fingerprint sensor is used instead), though many people still use "punching in/out" to express they are heading into/out of work.
  • Video inputs used for televisions were always composite based (yellow/red/white plugs) for a long time, but thanks to improvements in picture quality found on a typical TV, composite and even S-video are being phased out for component video and HDMI since they offer vastly superior image quality compared to the former.
  • The methods used to connect to the internet has vastly changed and improved since the 1990s. Dial up was the most common way to connect to the internet when browsing the internet became more accessible to the public. However, dial up required the user to connect their computer to a phone line and the connection was extremely slow, averaging around 56 kbps. You also had to hope that no one at home tried to use the phone while you were online because if they did, you would lose connection to the internet, unless you were one of the lucky ones who had a second phone line just for the modem. DSL came along years later and it was significantly faster than dial up with speeds averaging at 700+ kpbs. DSL still required a phone line for connection, but users could connect to the internet and have the phone be used at the same time. Cable topped DSL in connection stability and speeds that reached well over 5 mbps. Internet speeds have only increased since then, with some areas giving users over 200 mbps for download speed.
    • Despite advances in internet technology, many developed areas around the world (including the United States) still use cheap and out of date methods of internet connection; namely dial up or DSL. This is due to ISPs not offering faster internet speeds in small towns since the companies don't want to waste money building an infrastructure in an area that won't generate much revenue back in return.
  • While not outirght dead, Handheld Gaming Consoles have taken a massive hit in the past decade due to the rise Smart Phones and Tablets. Even the Nintendo 3DS has showed a smaller adoption rate than its predecessor due to having more competition.
  • "Big Screen TVs" were once the go-to equipment for cinephiles and their home theaters. The creation of Flat HD-TVs and even household HD Projectors have completely killed the Big Screen market dead.
    • Related to this, the ubiquity of widescreen television as the standard has all but killed the 4:3 aspect ratio in movies, to the point that using it in a movie today is now considered to make the movie more claustrophobic. That's right, the old standard has now turned into its own trope.
  • Dedicated stereo systems are heading this way, thanks to the shift to digital music formats mentioned elsewhere on this page. Many people under 30 don't even have them. People who want high quality sound generally plug in good headphones or speakers into their computers and mobile devices. Vinyl fans still swear by stereo systems, of course, but it's also possible to plug turntables into a computer using special USB turntables or the audio in jack. Home theater systems are still popular, but even those are being challenged with more compact "sound bars".
  • Despite the fact that António Egas Moniz, the physician who first developed a way to administer a practical leucotomy (better known as a lobotomy) shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine of 1949 for the procedure, few doctors would ever consider doing the now-controversial surgical procedure now. Study since the time it was popular has proven that the procedure, which was originally believed to sedate the mentally ill through surgery, can have unpredictable and rarely beneficial effects on the patient. (It has often been called "surgically induced childhood" and at times, "mutilation"). At any case, few doctors have been willing to consider it as an option since around 1970, and the practice is actually illegal in Russia, Germany, and Japan. There have even been several petitions to the Nobel Foundation to posthumously rescind Moniz's Noble Prize, but as late as the 21st Century, they have defended the decision.
  • The 8-track tape was the most common portable music format in The Sixties and the first half of The Seventies, especially in cars, yet the tapes suffered from sound quality and mechanical problems. It was impossible to rewind or fast-forward, with the ability only to switch between the four "programs". Even worse, record companies would tinker with the running order to try to make their albums fit evenly into the programs. Once cassette playback functionality improved by the middle of the decade, including Dolby noise reduction, consumers moved from 8-track to cassettes, which were cheaper, smaller, more durable and had better sound quality as well as the ability to rewind and fast forward. Record companies stopped issuing them by the early '80s, but record clubs kept the format on life support until the late '80s. The 8-track became the music format equivalent of the Trope Namer and the butt of many jokes. Anyone admitting to owning them was portrayed as hopelessly out of touch.

     Food and Drink 
  • Ecto Cooler: A Hi-C juice drink packaged to tie in with The Real Ghostbusters cartoon show. It debuted in 1987 and although the show was cancelled in 1991, Ecto Cooler continued to be marketed (with a picture of Slimer on the packaging) until 1997. Contrary to belief, that wasn't the true end of Ecto Cooler. It was still marketed as such but without the Slimer/Ghostbusters images. In 2001, the formula was repackaged and renamed Shoutin' Orange Tangreen, and finally renamed Crazy Citrus Cooler. The formula was completely discontinued in 2007.
  • Snapple Sodas: During the late 1980s, Snapple marketed a large variety of gourmet sodas. Some flavors included French Cherry, Clear root beer and Clear Cream Soda (in keeping with their stand on unneccesary artificial colorings), Passion Supreme (Passion Fruit flavor), Kiwi Peach, and Jamacian Ginger beer. The entire soda line dissapeared by 1991. There have been numerous letter writing campaigns in an attempt to convince the company to bring them back. Unfortunately, according to the company, the formulas for most of these sodas was lost or stolen.
  • "Clear" pop was a brief trend in the early 90s, most famously with Crystal Pepsi. Although it initially sold well, it imploded quickly when people realized it wasn't the same as regular Pepsi.
    • Since then, pretty much every line extension from Coke or Pepsi has been touted as "limited time only", so it can be withdrawn quietly if it doesn't sell.
  • Wine Coolers: These were popular before increased wine taxation caused them to no longer be cheap to produce and market. Thus, true wine coolers were quietly replaced by flavored malt beverages as represented chiefly by Bartles & James. Although, for years, people would continue to call them wine coolers despite the obvious difference in flavor.
    • Another reason that wine coolers and alcopop beverages have declined in popularity is because critics have accused them of being marketed towards teenagers. This has caused some states to enact laws restricting how these drinks can be advertised and also where they can be sold.
  • The McDLT: McDonalds' mid to late 80s answer to the Burger King Whopper. The gimmick is that the burger was packaged for the customer in a dual compartment package. As the ad went: "The hot stays hot and the cold stays cold". This way, the burger didn't get cold too quickly due to the lettuce and tomato topping. Additionally, the lettuce/tomato/optional mayo topping would be kept from becoming soggy and losing its crispness too quickly due to the transfer of heat and steam from the burger. As a result, the burger could be assembled fresh (the two sides put together) at the precise time you were ready to eat it. The insulated styrofoam dual compartment packaging was costly and environmentally unfriendly, this being a time when fast food restaurants were moving away from polystyrene packaging. This led to the McDLT's demise in 1990-91. Hoever, it was later Re Tooled into the Big 'n Tasty, which was retired in 2011.
  • Zima was a clear alcopop beverage that popped up in the 1990s during the "clear craze" where beverage manufacturers started selling clear drinks (such as Crystal Pepsi and Tab Clear). Zima was marketed heavily by its manufacturer, Coors Brewing Company, as a manly alternative to wine coolers for guys who didn't like beer. For a while the drink became very popular, but to Coors' horror the most of its drinkers were women in their 20s. Coors then attempted to sell Zima to the male demographic by releasing a bourbon-flavored variant, but was unsuccessful. After a while Zima began to gain a reputation as a "girly man" drink and became the butt of jokes by stand-up comedians. The drink's popularity plummeted after its first year, but it managed to linger for another decade before Coors quietly decided to discontinue domestic sales of the drink. These days the only place you can still buy Zima is Japan. To this day men still make jokes to each other about Zima being a drink for wimps.
  • Tab soda is often touted as the first diet soda (even though competitor Diet Rite precedes it by five years). It was created in 1963 and has come under fire despite its honest packaging. Originally, it contained saccharin which had been later reported to be carcinogenic, a revelation that has been recently overturned. Despite the fact that Tab is still produced, Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi have both eclipsed Tab sales. It is easy to miss in the soft drink aisles, if the store even bothers to stock it.
  • Bum wines (also known as low cost fortified wines). At least among anyone other than actual bums. They were once a staple among underage drinkers who would often pay bums to buy it for them. These wines were noted more for the quick buzz than the taste which was usually abyssmal. Popular brands include Thunderbird, Nighttrain, Cisco, and MD/2020. Many convienence stores no longer carry them in order to discourage loitering by winos.
    • At the very least Nighttrain was immortalised in a Guns N' Roses song.
  • Celeste brand frozen pizza: One of the top selling brands of frozen pizza during The Seventies and The Eighties. They also introduced the first successful microwave pizza. Today, their distribution is largely limited to regional markets. And now, only the microwaveable "Pizza for One" is still produced. The place they are most likely to be found is in dollar stores with a frozen food section.
  • Hard apple cider, at least in the US. Lager beer being preferred by much of the immigrating population and the Prohibition movement of the 1910s seems to have killed interest in brewing this fermented apple drink for the longest, and only 100 years later in The New Tens does the drink seem to be recovering.

    Other 
  • Punk as a culture has suffered so much from Seinfeld Is Unfunny in the past decades that most people don't even consider it a thing anymore. The few people who do avert this trope run under the slogan "Punk's not dead" for this very reason. The spin-off cultures are still well-embraced, however.
  • The fear of a nuclear holocaust seems much more laughable now than it did during the Cold War, at least in the Western world. (It's a different story if you live in India or Pakistan...)
  • The idea of "free love", at least as it was conceptualized by The Sixties counterculture, was pretty much discredited in The Eighties by HIV and the rise of the New Right as a potent political force. (Not that pre-Sixties puritanism has ever truly returned, of course.)
  • House parties, for the most part, replaced the backyard barbecues that were popular during the 50's and early-60's. While backyard barbecues still exist, they are generally reserved for occasions like Memorial Day and Fourth Of July (at least among the Under-65 crowd).
    • The decline in social acceptance for smoking has led to more homeowners/leasors/leasees banning smoking in their homes, even those who smoke. It hasn't reduced the people who smoke 'only when drinking' by much, so there will always be a backyard/patio contingent to consider when throwing a party. Considering how many will go out for the ashtrays and stay for the conversation, it's likely half of the guests will migrate there at some point, so laying out any food and stationing any kegs there (where it's easier to clean up) is a practical accommodation, making a hybrid of barbeque/house parties.
  • 1-900 numbers. Launched in The Eighties, they hit their peak in the early 1990s and allowed for a variety of services — video game hints, pro-wrestling news, stock tips, psychic readings, stories for kids, chats with Santa during the Christmas season, etc. — all for a small fee per minute. (The B-plot in The Simpsons episode "Brother from the Same Planet" has Lisa get addicted to a teen idol's hotline, and Michelle got in trouble for calling a joke-of-the-day line in a Full House episode.) The rise of the World Wide Web caused these numbers to go obsolete in terms of cost and quality; a monthly Internet bill is much cheaper than a 15-30 minute 1-900 call session. If you're lost in a game, why risk talking to a stranger who may be rude and steer you in the wrong direction at your literal expense when you can go to GameFAQs and get a detailed map for free? Another reason is the increasing popularity of cellular telephones and VOIP services, which often refuse to connect callers to 1-900 numbers.
  • Surprisingly enough, Anime in Japan suffered through this for a bit. In the mid-to-late 1980s, bigger and bigger budget movies were made, including AKIRA. When AKIRA came out, it did horribly and failed to break even. Many studios shut down as the big budget films didn't do so hot. Studio Ghibli was one of the few to survive and release a big budget movie during the period (Kiki's Delivery Service). It wasn't till 1995 and the release of Neon Genesis Evangelion that the industry was revived. Combined with the growing international interest, ironically sparked by AKIRA no less (whereas it didn't do so well in Japan, international crowds loved it), the industry made itself a driving cultural force once again. Unfortunately, overexposure and the unique TV situation in Japan ended up shuttling most shows into the red eye slots with half the episodes (despite what the descriptions for Otaku O'Clock and Twelve Episode Anime say, neither is a good thing), and while still somewhat popular, most products are made for an increasingly isolated and self-referential fanbase. This is offset, however, by the increasing presence of online streaming (of both the legal and illegal variety) in the anime industry such as Crunchyroll, as consumers rely less on TV schedules and more on the Internet. Which in turn goes hand in hand with (at least in Japan) the gradual shift to digitization and the continued decline of hard-copy DVD sales.
  • Anime in the U.S. High speed Internet connections and the decline of video/music stores wiped out much of the market for first run VHS/DVD anime (the industry's main moneymaker at the time), driving several major players out of business. TV slots have dried up as well, as original programming can pull the same ratings and merch sales without having to pay huge money for the rights and localization, and digital distribution really hasn't proven itself to be capable of picking up the slack. Similarly, the manga market in the US has been hit hard by the decline of bookstores, with market leader Tokyopop now out of business. It got so bad that Funimation is even pulling back on distributing Dragon Ball Z Blu-rays.
  • Prank phone calls were once a popular source of amusement for adolescent boys, but the advent of caller ID in the mid-1990s made prank calls almost impossible to get away with. These days many kids don't even know what a prank call is.
    • Some smartphone apps allow people to prank call while displaying a fake or blocked number on the receiving end. This doesn't mean that there's absolutely no way to trace it back, though.
  • When jet engines made air travel faster, the "jet age" and the "jet set" entered into the vocabulary. Jet travel made trips that took days into flights of a few hours. The "jet set" were rich people who flew between various exotic cities by jet aircraft. Over time the novelty wore off and flights became cheaper. The Concorde (itself a victim of this trope) gave the jet set a second wind. Then the oil crisis of The Seventies and a backlash in popular culture ended this trend. The rise of low-fare airlines like Southwest has made jet travel even more commonplace.
  • In the early 1990s, snowboarding became wildly popular among young people because of its rebellious image and also because of the "extreme sports" craze of that decade. Snowboarding became so popular that it's even credited with injecting new life into the ski resort industry, which had fallen on hard times in the early 90s. But around 2005-2006 the sport's popularity began to decline, with many experts blaming the fact that many snowboarders who started in their teens are now in their 30s and juggling families and mortgages (leaving them with less time and money to go riding). Meanwhile, the last few years have seen several advances in skiing technology such as fat skis and "rocker skis", which have increased interest in the sport. Although snowboarding is far from dead and hasn't experienced a massive public backlash like disco did, it has definitely seen a decline in popularity and no longer enjoys the edgy, rebellious image that it once did.
    • Ditto skateboarding. Not as popular as it once was, but making a comeback.
  • Many homes in the United States have garages so that people can park their cars inside their homes; houses that were built before car ownership took off would have a garage as a separate building. Nowadays, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone that still uses a standalone garage to store their cars since they are now mainly used as an extra room for people to relax in or a storage room for excess junk.
  • Cereal companies used to rely on the Free Prize at the Bottom gimmick for a long time, but by the 2000s the gimmick faded from sight mainly due to complaints over the unhealthy nature of many cereals and the marketing of them to children. There was a brief attempt to keep them afloat by offering more "general" prizes (CD-Rom games, MP3 Downloads, DVDs) but the practice has for the most part disappeared.
  • Back in the 1970's, pedophilia was viewed as a controversial idea, but was seriously defended and considered just as acceptable as homosexuality (if not more) by a large number of intellectuals and some mainstream newspapers, at least in Europe; thirty years later, as more and more pedophilia scandals were known, it became a politically indefensible idea that's commonly seen as one of the ultimate evils. Today, even the most hardcore socially liberal/progressive/libertarian-minded people won't say outright they defend pedophilia, and most of them would be shocked or squicked by what was once a nearly mainstream discourse.
  • Phone books (sometimes known as the Yellow/White Pages) were extremely helpful for people that needed to find a phone number of a business in their neighborhood and or to find a specific person's listing, although the books were almost as thick as a standard dictionary. They also tended to include local maps, tourist information, coupons, government listings, and ZIP code directories, just to name a few. Thanks to the Internet taking off, phone books have been produced in lesser numbers, come in smaller sizes, and mostly contain just information for businesses in the area — no more maps, coupons, or the like. There's also the fact that most people are abandoning land lines in favor of cell phones.
  • Now that it's well known that not only didn't Christopher Columbus "discover" America,note  he perpetrated an ethnic cleansing of the Arawak tribe, it's rare to find Columbus Day celebrations, especially on the West Coast. Even though it's a Federal holiday, most schools and businesses ignore it. Exception: Certain East Coast communities celebrate Columbus Day as a day of Italian American heritage/pride. This started in the late 19th to early 20th century: Italians, feeling put-upon by WASP racism, appropriated Columbus Day to say "You say 'Italian' like it's a bad thing. What's wrong with you? An Italian discovered your country!" (Tension between Italian Americans and Native Americans on this issue is the subject of The Sopranos episode "Cristopher" (S 04 E 03); suffice it to say, the discussion is interesting). There is a movement to re-brand the holiday to celebrate Bartolomé de las Casas, a contemporary of Columbus who found religion and became an early social reformer and opponent of the slave trade.
  • Parades have been going this way in recent years. When was the last time everybody was abuzz about a Thanksgiving Day Parade float or balloon or original performance ...? Although the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is hanging on by virtue of nostalgia and being a wonderful marketing opportunity. Alongside being a wonderful way for Broadway shows to capture the interest of people outside of New York and to introduce shows that are Mid-Season Replacements, Merchandise-Driven shows have a perfect place to get people's attention before the holiday shopping season (remember that Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping events of the year, is the very next day.) Saban, for example, has done this with the Power Rangers franchise: Introducing the new season at the parade, rolling out the merchandise in December, and premiering the show in late-January or early-February.
  • The Threat Matrix report was once hailed as the future of anti-terrorism operations in the United States intelligence community due to its purpose of compiling all the most active threats to the US into one central document that could be easily distributed to all the relevant agencies and give the President an up-to-the-minute assessment of global terrorist activities. At one time, it was even taken seriously enough for ABC to commission a note  drama based on the activities of a fictional government unit set up specifically to deal with the Threat Matrix.

    Unfortunately, the authors of the document had a propensity for Critical Research Failures, with an incident involving two Ukranians discussing urinal cakes that was misconstrued as an arrangement to sell yellow-cake uranium being the best known example. It was quickly ignored or even outright lambasted by government agencies, and any reputation for usefulness it might've had in the public eye was destroyed by a non-fiction book published in 2011 detailing how the document had initially screwed up intelligence gathering among the relevant agencies prior to being discontinued.
  • These days, most men get their hair cut at unisex hair salon chains like Supercuts or Great Clips instead of barber shops catering specifically to men.
    • That said, the recent rise in Turkish barber shops has reversed this trend significantly outside the United States.
    • Barber shops are also very important pillars of community life for African-American men in the U.S.
  • Beards fell out of style (in most places) at around the start of the 20th Century, not coincidentally after the invention of the safety razor. Before that, shaving had to be done with a straight razor, and the risk of cutting yourself was a much more dangerous concern. While a few men still wear beards, the bother of grooming them doesn't make them as appealing as they used to be. (Of course, they remain popular in some countries where beards on men are considered traditional, such as Arabic ones.)
  • The use of tokens to pay for a toll or bus/train fare have fallen out of use in exchange for swipe cards due to cards being easier and cheaper to produce than a metal token. Paying for a fare with exact loose change is still widely accepted as an alternative payment. Certain towns and cities still use tokens, but those are becoming rare to find.
  • Road signs prohibiting lorries with a plate stating "Over 3 tons unladen" or "Over 5 tons unladen". Modern road signs now state the weights as 3t, 7.5t or 18t on the lorry symbol itself, and they are now in tonnes rather than tons (metric to imperial), at least in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Holland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy and Scandinavia.
  • A few predicted that the Fukushima disaster might be the final nail in the coffin for nuclear power; this doesn't seem to have happened yet (as only Germany has given up serious plans for future nuclear energy), and it's more likely that policymakers have gotten the real message of Fukushima (namely, "Don't build a boiling-water reactor in a major earthquake/tsunami zone"). Nuclear power plans continue more or less unabated in France (the queen of nuclear energy, which unapologetically takes 70% of its power needs from the atom and houses the most massive fusion power attempt as of 2014), the US and UK (which continue to proceed cautiously with proposals for new nuclear plants), and China and India (whose energy needs are so high that new plants make sense more or less no matter what—especially for India, which is investing in developing the cleaner thorium fuel cycle, and guess what nuclear fuel India has more of than anyone else?).
  • Airship travel has been effectively dead since the Hindenburg disaster.
    • The US military has been interested for some time in reviving the airship for intelligence gathering and logistics purposes.
  • Autism Speaks was once a very well regarded charity for people on the autistic spectrum. Now that a lot of their more questionable tactics, as well as how they really feel about austistic people, are public it's very rare to find people that still openly support them.
  • Public Service Announcements that take the form of surreal skits, musical numbers, or ironic drama. Typically, the idea was to get the point across without heavy handed preaching or emotional manipulation. Many of them remain memorable due to their Narm Charm. Today, P.S.As are more likely to be a celebrity, a famous pundit, or increasingly an ordinary non-celebrity person simply addressing the audience in a serious matter. They want to make sure the message gets across without the audience being distracted by the messenger.
  • Pinball machines, while still being made and still well-liked (even getting quite a bit of love on this very site), have nowhere near the popularity and presence they had in The Sixties and The Seventies: the rise of video games in The Eighties, and the dying-out of arcades through The Nineties was responsible (though notably one of the all-time best selling tables, The Addams Family, came out in 1992).
  • Cursive handwriting. In years past nearly everybody wrote in cursive handwriting because it caused less wrist fatigue than writing in longhand (in addition to being considered more eye-pleasing), and every school made sure that students knew how to read and write in cursive (many schools wouldn't even accept homework that students wrote in longhand after they learned to write cursive). Being able to read and write cursive remained an important skill after typewriters were invented because most people didn't possess them, and a pen or pencil was a lot easier to carry around than a typewriter. But over the last couple of decades handwritten letters have mostly been replaced by telephone, email, and text messaging. And computers with printers have replaced writing essays by hand. Because people have to handwrite things a lot less than they used to, many schools no longer teach students how to write in cursive and a lot of younger people these days have difficulty even reading cursive. The only thing keeping cursive alive is that signatures are required for legal documents.
    • And you would be surprised how easy just scribbling works as a signature in lieu of actually writing your name.
  • It was once apparently a concept in the 90s-mid 2000s to run up credit card debt to make yourself appear richer than you actually were. One proponent of this idea was rapper MC Hammer, who went into bankruptcy attempting to pay off his debts, and another killer was the credit crunch of the late 2000s. Suddenly credit limits were decreased, and banks were faster to deny new cards to some individuals, and most people these days are much more wary of creditors.


Western AnimationDeader Than Disco    

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