Collateral Losses on the Path to Progress

Some people consider themselves lovers of progress and new technology. They get excited over the announcement of the newest smartphone, version 43 zillion. They’re the first to try out that amazing computer watch with tiny buttons and a miniature screen that even the best reading glasses can’t conquer.

I don’t happen to be one of them.

Sure, I use newer products and technology all the time. I update this website and blog myself (with only emergency backup from my webmistress). I have a smartphone, though I refused to join that bandwagon until a few years ago. I own a larger flat-screen TV (a gift from our desperate daughters), and I sometimes binge-watch TV shows from a video streaming service. I even write using the most recent version of Word, though I clung to my beloved Word ’97 until the New Millennium wasn’t close to new anymore. (My publisher forced that issue by refusing to accept manuscripts with my old software.)

But sometimes I still long for the good old days. For simpler things like chalkboards with real chalk. I miss useful things that have been collateral losses on the path to progress. Here is just one example.

Ties5

Remember this little baby? It is from the set of attached ties that used to come packaged inside a box of tall kitchen garbage bags. It happens to also be one of my favorite products in the world, something lost to progress, an increased focus on the environment or, perhaps, just cost-cutting. Handle-ties and drawstrings don’t do it for me.

I get it. Really. There are probably millions of these little things taking up space in landfills at this moment. And I really don’t want to leave the planet in worse shape than when I arrived on it.

But these things are really cool. I admit, though, when they regularly came in my trash bag boxes, I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Of course, I used them sometimes for their stated purposed of tying off trash bags. Other times, I just tied a knot at the top of my trash and stuck the leftover ties in a zipper bag in my laundry-room closet. Have I mentioned that I have trouble throwing things away sometimes?

Then I discovered that these ties just might have other purposes. I started using them for everything.

Ties2Ties1Ties3

These magic little implements could be used to tie off the mess of cords behind my desktop computer. They helped keep my leftover frozen vegetables from spilling all over the freezer. They closed off dried beans and powdered sugar and the bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips that my kids refused to leave alone. (You know who you are!) They also were great for tying off cords for all of my small appliances. Best of all, unlike some bag ties, they could be reopened and reused for a long time. So I kept replenishing my supply every time I bought a new box of trash bags.

Then they were gone.

Suddenly, trash bags came only with handle-ties and drawstrings. I was sad. My little collection of yellow ties became a precious commodity, carefully returned to their zipper-bag home as soon as the sack of frozen peas was empty. I became all about the “3 R’s of the Environment” – reduce, reuse and recycle – at least when it came to one particular product. I hoarded them and handled them with care.

But, unfortunately, even reusable products eventually wear out, and my stash has dwindled.  I have realized that eventually I will run out completely, so I have considered putting out a plea to more successful hoarders, hoping they might consider sharing the wealth.

As I have been writing this post, though, I have been doing doing online research, and I am happy to report that my favorite little ties still exist, after all. Hooray! Due to the growth of the Internet marketplace, I can buy a whole roll and be happily tying off things for years to come. So I must celebrate progress today.  You really can find anything on the Internet.

I promise to use my ties wisely and only send them to the landfill after they have been well loved. Ties4

So tell me, do you have any special products that you love and have lost, at least temporarily, to progress? Please share some of the interesting uses you have found for them.

Now you’ll have to forgive me for cutting off this post so abruptly. I have some shopping to do.

 

 

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28 thoughts on “Collateral Losses on the Path to Progress”

  1. I love those bag ties! I didn’t always use mine for the trash bags either. I used them as you did and now I use the twisty-ties, but they just don’t hold the same. I also will use binder clips to keep my bags closed. I don’t know that I have a special product that I miss. I’m one of the ones that you mentioned at the beginning of your post! I love the new technology! Although I refuse to stand in line for a new smartphone, I still like the shiny new stuff!! 🙂

  2. When I worked in a pharmacy decades ago a lady came in to get her special shade of Revlon lipstick that was being discontinued. Somehow she got word of it and bought every last tube in town! Not exactly technology, but something important to her.

  3. That’s funny, Kathy. We do get caught up in our habits, don’t we? My grandma once made me drive all over town, dragging along three little girls, so we could look for Janzen clothes, her favorites. Finally, I asked at a store that specialized in clothes for women “of a certain age.” The lady informed me that Janzen no longer made clothes at all. 🙂

  4. Oh Dana, I so understand where you’re coming from. I long for the WORD programs of the twentieth century. I am even having fits getting used to an electric tooth brush (after all these years). Though I have to admit that computer word processing is so-o-o- very forgiving compared to the old typewriters, so occasionally there is a bright side. Thanks for the memories.

    • Thanks for the comment, Annette. I am even worse than that. I long for my first Word Processing Software program, AmiPro. Yes, I’m dating myself, but I loved it. That program was as simple as a typewriter, and it never had stupid things like paragraph borders or auto numbering. Agh!

  5. Great post! The only thing that really comes to mind that may not be exactly what you’re talking about is handwritten letters. It isn’t often that I open my mailbox and find a letter, not only handwritten but hand addressed. I miss that.

  6. I miss the early version of WordPerfect. That program was so easy to use and if something didn’t work I could see the coding that was messing things up. I know Corel still makes WordPerfect, but editors want everything turned in using Word. Sigh.

  7. I’m with Maris. I would go back to WordPerfect in a NY minute if I could. It was user and especially writer-friendly. It was the first word-processing program I ever used, and I loved it. You have some great uses for those little yellow ties! I like to keep the twisties from bread bags, but often now they use those little plastic tabs. They are pretty useless when you’re done with the bread. I also wish we could bring back cassette players, as I still have plenty of cassette tapes I would listen to.
    Good post, Dana!

    • Lucy, I still have all of my cassettes. I even have 45 rpm records AND a record player to play them on. But I did get rid of the 8-tracks. They wear out. 🙂 Guess I’m just a throwback kind of girl like you.

  8. I started with Word Perfect and didn’t like the change to MS Word at first. But that seems a life time ago.

    Thank goodness for grand kids, I love most new technology. I don’t have a pricey smart TV, but I do get Netflicks on my large screen only 37″ with that neat little Roku computer hook up.

    When my husband recently wanted my 17″ Dell laptop cuz his died I bought a 31.5″ monitor and dual Bluetooth mouse and keyboard combo and hook my traveling under two pound Acer Ultrabook up to it.

    I miss people being kind to each other as the norm, not the exception.

  9. Boy, Sandra, you’ve got the technology all figured out. I miss kindness, too. I still try to do kind things when I can, and I remind myself of that pledge when I’m saying mean things to other drivers in the privacy of my car on my way to my day job. 🙂

  10. I don’t cling to a particular item, but I do a practice. Even though we use a computer program for our finances, when I record in our checkbook, I still like to do basic subtraction to keep a running balance. I just like to keep my (limited) math skills sharp lol. Great post, Dana!

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