10 Little Things That Gradually Disappeared in America That No One Noticed

In the blink of an eye, things that were a big part of many Americans’ lives have disappeared. Whether it’s products, services, or just ways of doing things, it’s incredible to think about everything that’s faded away over the years. Recently, men and women met in an online discussion to reveal what disappeared in America so gradually that it seems like nobody even noticed.

1. Dollar Menus

worker at McDonald's. McDonald's is an American hamburger and fast food restaurant chain.
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For millions, fast-food dollar menus served as a beautiful respite from being forced to pay full price for low-quality food. However, dollar menus have all but disappeared over the years, as chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s have replaced them with standard “value” menus where there isn’t an item that costs less than $2!

2. Smog

Los Angeles, United States. Downtown skyscrapers silhouettes of the city of Los Angeles. Poor visibility, smog, caused by air pollution.
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Thanks to stricter air quality standards, smog has been essentially eliminated in major U.S. cities recently. Places like Los Angeles and Houston have struggled with smog problems for decades. Modern emission standards for cars and trucks have helped reduce the hazardous level of smog in America to the point where many argue it’s no longer a problem.

3. Enjoyable Air Travel

Ryanair aircraft at the airport. Captain pilot greetings. Boeing 737-800. Ryanair airline. Low fares airline. Low cost airline. Europe travel.
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Seemingly overnight, traveling by plane in the United States has become one of the most unenjoyable experiences a person can sign up for. As it turns out, we can only blame ourselves. “Consumers have collectively asked for the part of the experience the airline runs to be as terrible as possible,” explains one experienced flyer. “The public made it clear that they value the lowest price above all, and airlines are more or less competing only on price these days. The side effects of that are the airline trims any expense they can and upsells everything they can.”

4. Small Cars

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As American drivers move towards more oversized and less-efficient vehicles, the small car is now a relic from a not-so-distant past. Unlike in Europe, where small cars are all the rage, Americans couldn’t care less about the sedan segment. Legacy automobile manufacturers are taking note — Ford recently ceased production of the last remaining sedan in their lineup!

5. In-Store Photo Printing

Happy extended family reading together. Young parents, little kids and mature grandparents sitting on sofa at home, enjoying book of good kind educational stories or looking through family photo album
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Due to the advent of the internet and the mind-boggling number of photos an average person takes weekly, in-store photo printing services have dwindled in recent years. In 2023, amateur photographers would rather show off their skills in online photo albums than print out their photos and frame them in their homes.

6. Public Pay Phones

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Often found on nearly every street corner in every major city, pay phones are nearly extinct. Of course, one massive technological advancement is to blame for pay phones disappearing over the years. “The widespread use of public payphones in America has gradually disappeared over the years with the rise of mobile phones,” explains one woman. “Their disappearance has gone largely unnoticed as people rely more on cellphones for communication.”

7. Small Bookstores

People looking around in the second hand book stalls of the book market in the historical center of Naples, Italy
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Due to the overwhelming popularity of Amazon and other online retailers, small mom-and-pop bookstores have gradually disappeared. Let’s face it; purchasing a book from the comfort of your home is far easier than traveling to a physical location and wandering around aimlessly!

8. Job Morale

Businessman arguing with a colleague at work
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Unsurprisingly, few people are happy with their jobs as everything continuously gets more expensive. It’s a vicious cycle. One glum person puts it all in perspective. “It’s a pretty ubiquitous change that people are basically miserable working now,” he laments. “Not all of them. But certainly most. I hate my job. Hate. I despise every second of it. But I hate being broke, hungry, and homeless way more.”

9. Hubcaps

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Until recently, hubcaps existed for car buyers who didn’t want to spend money on fancy wheels. Today, I must hand it to modern automobile manufacturers: They’ve rendered hubcaps obsolete by equipping even their base model vehicles with good-looking wheels! I can’t remember the last time I saw a hubcap in the wild.

10. The Typical American Mall

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For many teenagers who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, going to the mall with their friends and killing time for a few hours was a rite of passage. Unfortunately, malls are quickly becoming extinct. “COVID was the final nail in the coffin for typical American malls,” reports one shopper. “Ours here in Florida has lost a lot of stores over the past four years, and every year there are fewer. It’s a little eerie walking around there, noting which stores have left. The day the food court and GameStop pack up is the day the music dies.”

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