My wife recently asked me whether I realized that if The Wonder Years was remade today it would be set in 2001. Really? The Wonder Years was my favorite show growing up and one that we recently rewatched with our kids. This coming-of-age drama set in 1968 featuring the fictional Arnold family and their awkward teenage son, Kevin, first aired in 1988. At the time, 1968 seemed like ages ago to this then 10-year-old boy.
This led me to think about changes in payments and commerce over the past 20 years and how my soon-to-be teenage son would, much like I did, think how “old” things such as payments and commerce would feel to him in a show set 20-some-odd years prior. While a whole dissertation could probably be written on the changes, I want to keep this blog post short, fun, and focused on recalling just one shopping experience I had that my son would find so foreign today.
Remember when we stood in line, or perhaps even camped out overnight, to buy concert tickets at a Ticketmaster outlet? The concert venues usually had a ticket office but there were also different Ticketmaster outlets throughout town, often in record stores, and my group of friends would strategize about which location might have the fewest people in line before ticket sales launched (usually at 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays). My favorite location for finding the shortest line was a Piggly Wiggly, a grocery store chain found in the South. As far as my payment type for concert tickets, it was always cash. If I bought extra tickets for friends, they always paid me back in cash. The payment type wasn’t the only thing that was paper. The tickets were printed at the time of purchase, and a paper ticket stub ultimately became a memento of the event.
To read the rest of the article by Douglas A. King, please visit the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.