6 Things You Forgot About Using The Phone In The 90s

Apologies for not getting my posts out this week but I get a hurricane pass. Daddy got power back yesterday but now the Internet is out. Also went to the library today but their wifi was out too. So I’m typing this on my phone and hoping to upload it in a rare moment of 3G coverage.

So much to talk about. For example…
Crazy gas lines + traffic lights out = full-tilt jungle madness

[Imagine your own Mean Girls gif here. I really can't from my phone.]

Computer edit: try this one.

But my family was very fortunate that we didn’t have flooding and none of our persons or property were lost. Daddy’s power was out for 4 days and Mommy’s has been out for 5 and counting, but we’re making the most of it. We’ve been drinking wine and playing board games at Mommy’s every night.

My point is that I have nothing to complain about. However, I am now going to educate you on a little something we call “landlines.”

actual phone

We are lucky Mommy kept her old landline from before they got Fios, or we wouldn’t even have service. Plus her old corded phone that she dug out of somewhere. And when you can’t charge your cell (and then the cell towers go down) it’s nice to have a landline. But here are some things you may have forgotten about old school landlines.

1. No caller ID. The phone rings and you have no idea if it’s a loved one, a telemarketer, or your stalker. You just pick it up.

1a. Besides not knowing who it is, you also don’t know who it’s for. At one point we had up to 7 people hunkered down at Mommy’s. So you just answer it like “hello?” and then the caller has to, like, say who they are and why they’re calling.
Except sometimes they don’t. Because they’re not used to 90s phones either. So they’re just like “Helllloooo having fun???” and you’re like “um what?” and eventually figure out it’s Aunt Kath’s sister in Colorado.

2. Everyone shares one phone. So, if you want to call someone, but someone else is using the phone? You have to… wait.

3. The phone is connected to the wall. So, you can’t really walk places. Even if everyone decides to start having a conversation and/or turn up the News Radio 88 right next to you.

4. If you hang up but don’t really hang up right… you might hear “If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again…” and if you don’t hear that you’ll almost definitely hear some super loud beeping.

5. Sometimes, after dialing, you might hear… “All circuits are busy. Please try your call again later.” or this weird thing called a busy signal. This has actually been happening kind of a lot.

6. There’s no browser on your landline. With no internet, you dial 4-1-1 and tell a recording the name of the person or business whose number you need. You are charged extra for this service because they know you must be desperate.

Seriously not complaining. I actually think its funny to relive my childhood. Makes me grateful for the device on which I wrote this entire post. Oh, and now that I’m done, I found out the internet started working again. But since it’s 2am, this is what you’re getting.

Feel free to share your most cherished inconveniences of the 90s.


  1. Remember when everyone had a beeper? Your BF or GF at the time would send a cryptic message like “143″ (ok, maybe not so cryptic), which means I love you in case you’ve forgotten. Or when it was cool to have your very own land line? Oh, those were the days.

    • Lol yes! I had a beeper when I was 14. I think Amy and I got our own landline after I already had a cell phone but I still thought it was cool because I remembered when DJ got her own phone line on Full House and that was all I aspired to.

  2. I always liked the radio with a tape deck that could record so I could make mix tapes for cheap. I still have those tapes but now I have no device that will play them :(

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