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Thursday 5 April 2012

Blockbuster Video

I went into a Blockbuster today. To be honest, I didn't know they still existed. This place was a relic!

But it was a nice feeling to casually glance at DVDs, get a feel for them based on the cover, and try to find greatness among the turd.

I think that's what we miss in the digital age. Half the fun was going to the store. It's the same with the record shop and in many ways it's the same with the cinema. It's nice to have a place to go. It's funny because yesterday I got that feeling when I was in a betting shop. I gambled on a few horses, chatted to a few people, and the staff even made me a cup of tea. Such a simple thing but you get a feeling of belonging.

But I'd rather it be the DVD store than the bookies. I also went into a cinema today, just because it was there to check out while I was waiting for a friend (if I'd known how late she would be I could possibly have gone to see The Hunger Games and all the sequels they haven't made yet). I loved the popcorn smell! The Odeon popcorn smell. Took me right back to the 90's!

Why do Blockbuster still exist? The business model is dead and last I heard I was told they were in tons of debt. I remember buying a bunch of DVDs from a Blockbuster in Brooklyn, NY, on their closing day, and the manager said the company would be dead in a year. That was four years ago.

Now they sell even more popcorn and chocolate bars, and phone accessories! Anything to stay alive. I guess the video game rentals are still pretty big.

Anyway, it was nice to walk around the video store. The experience is becoming increasingly rare. I miss it, because I think we actually need the rental places, they have a magic that can't be duplicated on Netflix. But it's gone now.


  1. Speaking as someone who used to work in a video store, I'm really bummed that most of these places have gone by the wayside. Sure, you can find a wide variety of movies on Netflix, but the internet will never match the communal experience of a video store. Meeting new people and discussing movie tastes was half, if not most, of the fun.

  2. I agree Dave. As someone living in a new city, working part time, and not knowing many people, I crave those spontaneous LIVE interactions with other human beings! Growing up we had an independent video rental store just a few blocks from home. I loved walking there on a summer night, and asking the owner when I couldn't find anything I wanted what he had just had returned. He'd almost always pull out a gem, as though he knew JUST what I liked. Now the decision rests solely in my hands and often the choices are so neverending that I end up falling back on an old trusted classic, having been burned by too many poor choices in recent years. People who worked at video stores were the experts. We need experts in our lives. In a world that offers us TOO many choices at every turn, we need someone to gently whisper advice in our ears, and point us in the right direction simply by providing the information not offered in the blurb on the back. Some day I'm sure they will return as nostalgic shops.