The Evolution of Everyday Carry: How Technology Has Transformed What We Carry

Madison Young

Updated Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at 1:10 AM CDT

The Evolution of Everyday Carry: How Technology Has Transformed What We Carry

The Pre-Smartphone Era

In the 90s and early 2000s, our daily essentials looked quite different compared to what we carry today. Landline phones were the primary means of communication, and it was common to rely on the phones available at the places we visited to make calls. Accessing information meant using home computers or heading to the library, as smartphones had yet to become a staple in our lives.

Carrying only the essentials was the norm. People would bring along items like a book or an MP3 player if they knew they would be stationary for a while. It wasn't until the early 2000s that MP3 players gained popularity, with CD walkmans being the go-to portable music device before then. Cash and checkbooks were carried for purchases, with cash used for smaller transactions and checks or credit cards for larger ones.

The Rise of Mobile Communication

Around 2003, the landscape began to shift as cellphones became more accessible to teenagers. What was once limited to older adults or wealthy kids now found its way into the hands of the younger generation. Pagers, although not commonly used by teens and kids, also had their place in this era.

ATM cards were used to withdraw cash from ATMs but couldn't be used for purchases, and online banking was yet to be introduced. Balancing checkbooks meant manually tracking every check and withdrawal, carefully noting them in the back of the checkbooks. Spare change was carried for payphones, vending machines, and parking meters.

The Essentials of Identification and Entertainment

IDs and credit cards were carried for identification and payment purposes, while lighters were commonly found in the pockets of smokers. Wallets were essential for carrying money, cards, and IDs, and for those with purses, additional items like painkillers, pens, and small notebooks or scrap paper were included.

If someone needed to remember something for later and didn't have a purse or paper, they would borrow a pen and jot it down on a napkin, coaster, or even their own hand. Carrying a paper planner was common for organizing schedules and appointments, and digital cameras were a must-have for capturing moments since smartphone cameras were not yet available.

Navigating the World

Before the advent of GPS on smartphones, people relied on physical maps or printed directions to navigate and find locations. Getting from point A to point B required some prior planning and map-reading skills. Additionally, physical newspapers and magazines were the primary sources of news and current events.

As technology advanced and smartphones became an integral part of our lives, our everyday carry items underwent a significant transformation. The convenience of having multiple functionalities in a single device has revolutionized the way we interact with the world around us. Today, we can access information, communicate, capture memories, and navigate with ease, all from the palm of our hand. Our everyday carry has evolved, reflecting the ever-changing landscape of technology.

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