With all the crisp high resolution photos, aesthetically pleasing web design, and one-click checkout options that store your credit card information so you can make questionable purchases late at night without even having to get out your wallet, it’s easy to forget that online shopping was once just a landmine of broken links and Comic Sans. (And if you were born after 1999, you probably have no idea what we’re talking about.)
Here’s something to refresh your memory, just in case: Reddit user Potato_Quesodilla delved into the internet’s archives (it's called the Wayback Machine — and scarily enough, anyone can access it) to pull screenshots of website layouts that have since gone the way of dial-up. If you’ve been shopping Sephora.com since e-commerce first became a thing, and consider yourself an early adopter of all things Urban Decay, then these long-forgotten homepages are going to feel awfully familiar.
The images that look like someone just slapped on some text and a drop shadow in Microsoft Paint and called it a day and bright blue hyperlinks will bring you straight back to a simpler time, when computers were bulky gray boxes and you had to buy the AOL disk if you wanted to access the World Wide Web at all. For beauty enthusiasts who came of age alongside the internet, this walk down memory lane almost feels like when your parents fondly recall the wholesome appeal of Leave It to Beaver — except they were infinitely less likely to somehow stumble upon hardcore porn while searching for body lotion.
Some commenters on the Reddit thread are referring to the screenshots as “vintage,” but is there anything about the internet that’s truly vintage, the same way we think of vintage clothing and antiques? If that’s the case, then we’ve just started to feel really old all of a sudden.