Today, Blockbuster announced that they were closing the rest of their stores. This is a sad day, but I take a little pleasure in it.
First, a little history. Once upon a time, we used to have to “go” to “stores” to rent movies. Phones were for talking on and computers were used for playing Pac-Man and text-based adventures. In order to rent movies, we would have to rent the movies from a store. At first, these were neighborhood places, run by people with a passion for movies. We would go to these places, normally with our “friends,” and argue over what movie to rent. This discussion would continue until the “clerk” came over to settle our argument. In those days, the clerk knew more about movies than anyone else we could find. They would tell us that the movie we were looking to rent was too mainstream and that we should instead look at renting some late 70s slasher that none of us had heard of. We always took his advice and it was always good advice.
Then came Blockbuster.
Blockbuster took this local mom-and-pop formula and mass-produced it. There were now Blockbuster video stores on every block. Soon, corporate competitors began popping up. Places like Hollywood Video and Family Video began opening up stores. But the model remained the same. Countless copies of the latest mass produced, heartless blockbusters were rented. When you asked the clerk their opinion on which movie to rent, instead of a passionate review of their favorite Kurosawa film and how The Hidden Fortress was an inspiration for Star Wars, you got a flippant response like, “Whatever.”
And now Blockbuster gets theirs.
While I do take pleasure in that, there is one thing that we have lost over the years.
We completely lost the community aspect of the local video store. I don’t think we will ever go back to that either. The convenience of Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, etc. etc. etc. surpasses that sense of community for most.
The loss of the video store is not all bad. Late fees are a thing of the past.
Unless you rent at Redbox in which case, you can still have your late fee.