16 Things Baby Boomers Did That Would Astonish Gen Z

Krystal Smith

Are you curious about the surprising habits of Baby Boomers that would leave Gen Z speechless? In this list, we delve into the unique and fascinating behaviors of the generation born between 1946 – 1964 that paved the way for the world we live in today. Join us as we explore the many things Baby Boomers did back in their day that would astonish Gen Z!

Smoked Everywhere and Anywhere

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For Baby Boomers, smoking was a normal part of daily life. People smoked in restaurants, offices, airplanes, and even hospitals! Cigarette advertisements were everywhere, and smoking was often portrayed as a stylish and sophisticated habit. In contrast, Gen Z has grown up in a world where smoking is heavily regulated, and the health risks are widely known.

Never Wore Seatbelts in Cars

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In the time before seat belts and car seats became widely used, Baby Boomers frequently traveled in cars without any restraints. It was not uncommon for children to move around freely in the back seat or stand up to peek out the window. To Gen Z, accustomed to stringent car safety regulations and increased awareness of accident risks, the thought of riding without a seat belt appears extremely hazardous.

Drank Water From the Hose

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Growing up, many Baby Boomers enjoyed the simple pleasure of drinking water from the garden hose on a hot summer day. However, Gen Zers would probably feel uncomfortable drinking unfiltered tap water due to concerns about potential contaminants and chemicals.

Played With Dangerous Toys

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Many children’s toys that were popular among Baby Boomers would be considered too risky by today’s standards. For instance, lawn darts, which were essentially large metal spikes thrown at a target in the ground, caused numerous injuries and were eventually banned. Other favorites like Easy-Bake Ovens and chemistry sets also posed significant safety risks that would not be tolerated by today’s parents.

Used Rotary Phones at Home

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Baby Boomers had to use rotary dial phones, which required them to physically dial each number by turning the dial and waiting for it to rotate back. In today’s age of smartphones and voice commands, the idea of using such a slow and tedious device is almost unimaginable to Gen Z, who simply press an option on their touchscreen or tell Siri to call someone (if they still talk on the phone, that is!).

Watched Black and White TV

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Many Baby Boomers experienced childhoods with black-and-white televisions, which had only a handful of channels and required regular adjustments to the antenna for a clear picture. For Gen Z, who have grown up with high-definition, full-color screens and unlimited streaming options, the concept of watching TV in black-and-white appears to be a distant relic of the past.

Typed on Manual Typewriters

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Before personal computers and word processors became widespread, the Baby Boomer generation used manual typewriters to write documents and letters. These machines demanded physical effort and concentration to hit the correct keys because correcting mistakes was challenging. In contrast, Gen Z, accustomed to the convenience and speed of digital technology, would probably find using a manual typewriter to be a frustrating and time-consuming task.

Read Physical Maps for Directions

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Before GPS and mobile map apps, Baby Boomers depended on physical maps and written directions to find their way around. They had to be skilled at reading maps and planning routes, and getting lost was a frequent issue. In contrast, for Gen Z, who have always had digital navigation tools at their fingertips, using a physical map seems unnecessary and complicated.

Paid for Long-distance Phone Calls

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During the era of Baby Boomers, placing a long-distance phone call was a considerable expense. Long-distance calls had per-minute charges, and the rates were significantly higher compared to today’s standards. Meanwhile, Gen Z has been accustomed to unlimited calling plans and the capability to connect with individuals worldwide at any time, often at minimal or no cost.

Listened to Music on Vinyl Records

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Before the era of digital music and streaming services, Baby Boomers enjoyed music on vinyl records. These delicate, large discs required a turntable and delicate handling to avoid scratches and harm to play music properly. Although vinyl seems to be making a comeback today, Gen Z is sure always to choose online streaming with a wide selection of music above all other options.

Bought Pre-sliced and Pre-packaged Food

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In the past, many Baby Boomers enjoyed the convenience of mass-produced, pre-packaged foods such as TV dinners, canned vegetables, and processed snacks. However, as people have become more aware of the health risks linked to highly processed foods, Gen Z has been shifting towards fresh, whole foods and plant-based diets.

Memorized Phone Numbers

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Before cell phones and digital contact lists, Baby Boomers had to memorize the phone numbers of friends, family, and important contacts. Back then, personal phone books or Rolodexes were common, and being able to remember numbers by heart was a valuable skill. For Gen Z, who have always had digital access to their contacts, memorizing phone numbers seems redundant and impractical.

Wrote Letters and Postcards

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For Baby Boomers, maintaining connections with loved ones often involved writing letters and postcards. The process of writing a message by hand, addressing an envelope, and sending it through the mail was a regular and valued aspect of daily routines. On the other hand, Gen Z is accustomed to the immediate satisfaction of chatting with friends (or anyone in the world) through text messaging, email, and social media platforms.

Used Payphones and Phonebooths

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Before the era of cell phones, Baby Boomers used phone booths and pay phones to make calls outside of their homes. These public phones required coins or calling cards and were typically found in high-traffic areas such as street corners and shopping malls. Gen Z may find the concept of using a public phone pricey and inconvenient – that is, if there are any payphones or phonebooths left today!

Drove Cars With a Manual Transmission

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Baby Boomers had to learn to drive by mastering the use of a manual transmission. Using a clutch and shifting gears was an essential skill back then, while cars with automatic transmissions were considered a luxury. Nowadays, most cars come with automatic transmissions, and many Gen Zers have never encountered a manual shift.

Allowed to Play Outside Unsupervised

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In the past, Baby Boomers often experienced the freedom of spending long hours playing outside without adult supervision. Kids would roam the neighborhood, ride bikes, and explore the woods and fields around their homes. Gen Z has grown up in a world where concern about “stranger danger” and the fear of abduction have resulted in more parental limitations on children’s freedom and independence.

Boomer Phrases That Make Millennials Cringe

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Millennials cringe at these annoying boomer phrases that just drive them up the wall.
Eye-Rolling Boomer Phrases That Make Millennials Cringe with Frustration

Phrases That Will Become Extinct

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Prepare for laughter as we explore vanishing phrasing, leaving behind a trail of amusing memories and nostalgic chuckles.

Boomerisms That Will Fade Away: HILARIOUS Phrases on Their Extinction List

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