Incredible Shrinking Electronics

At the risk of sounding like Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man SNL character, kids today have no idea how good they have it, technology-wise. In my youth, I saw our huge, immobile hi-fi stereo cabinet shrunk down to something portable: a boom box capable of being carried with one hand! And no sooner had boom boxes dethroned the stereo king, the personal Walkman came along, shrinking things even further and making music enjoyment personal with headphones. No longer did I need to be subjected to other people’s boom box tastes, I could pop in my favorite tape (legit or mix, more about that later), and be in my own happy little music bubble. Nevermind the doomsayers who predicted widespread hearing damage from both types of devices, and the additional demise of distracted Walkman-wearers walking into traffic and other calamities. Of course, the more things change, the more they stay the same, and there is a growing body of evidence that kids really are damaging their hearing with those omnipresent ear buds.

Music technology choices included 8-track cassettes, records, cassette tapes, and eventually CDs, but the main way to record a song you liked (without buying any of the above) was to wait for it to be played on the radio and then record it. Yes, this often meant you missed the beginning of the song, but it was the best we could do back then. Boom boxes with dual cassette players made it possible to copy tapes as well as pick and choose selections to curate and create your own mix tape masterpiece and I spent laborious hours procrastinating homework and chores while crafting my musical manifestos. Now I can instantly download a song or entire cd with the swipe of a finger and listen to it whenever and wherever I want, or select a specific artist and have an algorithm magically suggest other artists I may enjoy.

Before Apple’s iconic ear bud wires defined the modern popularity of i-Tunes, the boom box symbolized 80s music in all of its glory and was memorialized in the iconic scene from 1989’s Say Anythingwhere John Cusack’s character proclaims his love for a girl by blaring Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes. This scene has been spoofed in shows from Lost to the Simpsons and was even re-created as a Lego mini-figure.

Lego Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything
Lego Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything


If Walkmans made the music experience personal, their descendent MP3 players and similar tech made it personalized. Sure, kids today may only “know” what a mix tape is because they’ve watched Guardians of the Galaxy a bazillion times (my son included!), but what once took painstaking hours of selecting and recording can now be done in minutes. And for that reason, I do not miss the “good old days.”

Just as kids today can pick whatever songs they want to listen to, can pick…pack, and ship your e-commerce orders for small electronics, CDs, DVDs, and more. Contact us today for a free quote.