Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lackluster Video

Looks like Blockbuster is going el foldo. Pictured here is the store closest to where I live and it's already gutted. 
People younger than a certain age won't remember this but there was a time when video stores were very small, about a tenth of the size of a typical Blockbuster store. They were independently owned and operated, mom-&-pop, small businesses located in neighborhood strip malls. They usually only had one cassette of any movie in their inventory and new releases were extremely difficult to get your hands on. If you wanted to see the latest installment in the "Lethal Weapon" franchise, you either had to be lucky enough to be in the store when somebody returned it or put your name on a waiting list. Otherwise, you were taking "Animal House" or "Raiders of the Lost Ark" home. Again. You had a limited time that you were allowed to keep a movie out on rental and they imposed late fees if you didn't return them on time. They also got very grumpy if you didn't rewind the cassette and some places implemented fines for that as well.
Then one day Blockbuster showed up and didn't have any of those problems. Shortly after that, as in practically overnight, the mom-&-pops were history.
Now, you might read that and say, "Good! Sounds like the mom-&-pops weren't that efficient and Blockbuster found a way to come in and do the job better. The mom-&-pops deserved to fail and Blockbuster deserved to succeed." And you'd be correct. But then you take a look around you now and see vending kiosks at every convenience store and the immediate availability of digital media that doesn't even require leaving the house and you say the same thing about Blockbuster. And if you owned and operated an independent video store in the '80s you also say, "what goes around comes around, bitches".  

4 comments:

Marissa said...

Yup

Jeff Hickmott said...

(sigh)... I miss VHS.

RottenMom said...

So did you own a video store?

Be kind rewind.

Why, it's Clark! said...

Me? No. But I was fond of the folks that ran my neighborhood store.