Floppy disks are (somehow) still a thing

Remember floppy discs? You might not! Used to store data way before the cloud and USBs, they haven't been commonly used since the 90s. But, against all odds, they're still kicking.

Driving the news: Chuck E. Cheese, everyone's favourite rodent-themed children's pizzeria, made headlines after an employee posted a TikTok detailing how the chain still uses floppy disks to upload info for new routines to its famous animatronic mascots.

Zoom out: Mr. Cheese isn't the only one using floppies in 2023. Although these plastic squares haven't been mass-produced since 2011, WIRED reported they're still regularly used in industries like medical equipment, industrial embroidery, and (yikes) aviation. 

  • Since no one is making new floppy discs, the industries that still use them rely on a healthy inventory of unused existing ones.

  • And almost all of them come from one man: Tom Persky, owner and operator of floppydisk.com, who sells roughly 1000 floppies every day.

Why it matters: Floppies are a humorous example of the very real issue of how archaic technology can stick around in industries where old habits die hard, and old tech dies harder.

Yes, but: Like other dinosaurs before them, floppy disks will die off one day simply because there's a finite supply left. Persky thinks he'll be out of business by 2026, and once had to reject an order from the Dutch government for 500,000 disks, which is more than he has left.   

What's next: Eventually, companies will replace their outmoded systems. One of the first? Chuck E. Cheese. It will no longer need floppies after 2023 as it replaces its old animatronics with touchscreens and people in mascot costumes. Truly the end of an era. —QH