Products that have changed our lives for the better

What would we do without cell phones and texting? Or wireless Internet access? Or supermarket convenience foods?
OK, maybe bagged lettuce isn’t exactly revolutionary, but in the past decade all kinds of new stuff changed our lives in big and small ways. Which had the most impact?
ShopSmart, the shopping magazine from the publisher of Consumer Reports, recently did a national telephone survey of 1,005 women to find out what items changed their lives for the better in the past decade, and which items they could do without in the decade to come.
Cell and smart phones, not surprisingly, were No. 1. Google and wireless Internet followed closely, rounding out the top three. The survey also found that women hope items such as super-low-waisted pants and reality television disappear before 2020.
“In the last 10 years, cell service went digital, ushering in affordable plans with hundreds of minutes a month, along with texting and Web access,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor in chief of ShopSmart. “Google, No. 2 on the list, was around before 2000 but wasn’t the household name it is today. Items like GPS devices and flat-screen TVs were almost unheard of. Innovations that didn’t make our top 10 but got lots of votes include Facebook, video-game systems like the Wii, and eBay.”
ShopSmart’s 10 products that changed our lives
1. Cell and smart phones became our lifeline. “I feel safe wherever I am because I am able to be in touch with my family at all times.” — Gwen Scott, Wintersville, Ohio
2. Google helped us make better decisions fast. “Any information you need is available. I research drugs my doctor prescribes.” — Lynda Fleckenstein, Englewood, Colo.
3. Wireless connections made life easier. “I use Internet access on my phone, and it helps so much when finding deals. It makes my life so much easier!” — Lindsy Carranza, Omaha, Neb.
4. Digital photography made us happier. “I can take as many pictures as I want without worrying about it costing an arm and a leg.”— Desiree Zeleznikar, Canon City, Colo.
5. Supermarket convenience foods made us healthier. “I haven’t roasted a chicken in years.” — Kate N., Summerfield, Fla.
6. Text messaging saved us time and helped us stay in touch. “It made it unnecessary to get involved in long telephone calls.” — Amy Cohen, Peekskill, N.Y.
7. Online shopping brought the world home, saving us time and money. “I spend less time, money and fuel.” — Millicent Yount, Willis, Texas
8. Flat-panel TVs made home life more entertaining. “It makes the people on TV seem as if they’re right here in my home.” — Patsy Wilson, Rutherfordton, N.C.
9. Netflix, on-demand movies and DVRs gave us flexibility. “I make TV viewing fit my schedule instead of the other way around.” — Jane Richmond, Blountville, Tenn.
10. TIED: GPS navigation gave us the confidence to explore. “I don’t get lost anymore, and I have more freedom.” — Susan Hammer, Wyoming, Mich.
10. TIED: iPods and MP3 players helped us cope. “It makes commuting and waiting in line for my daughter at activities enjoyable rather than stressful.” — Karen H., Camp Hill, Pa.
ShopSmart’s 10 products women hope won’t survive another decade
1. Super-low-waisted pants/jeans
2. Fake tans
3. Reality TV
4. Fishnet stockings
5. Thong underwear
6. Huge SUVs
7. Skinny jeans
8. Dark nail polish
9. Crocs
10. Giant handbags

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