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Thursday 27 October 2011

Editorial: Good-Bye Blockbuster

We live in a time where the corner video store has outlived the giant video box store. I'm not an economist. Actually, I had to look up the spelling.  Blockbuster Video stores are closing at a rapid rate and that means that consumers, such as me, are turning to on-line sources to watch movies, TV shows and game rentals.

But what does the closing of the last surviving "big box" video store really mean?  Well, not being an economist, I don't know - but I'd love to hear your comments.  For me and my family it means browsing through movies on computer, which is kind of boring.  Searching genres, searching by actors, classics or new releases, the experience has changed.  No longer can we spend way too much on impulse snack items near the checkout counter.  No longer can we walk past the bargain bin of "previously viewed" movies for sale and say things like, "wow, Half-Baked is only $9.00!!!" or "Battlefield Earth?  Wow, never saw that one.  Should I pay $15.00 for a movie I will likely watch once?"  Or "I liked Costner in Field of Dreams, maybe I should pay $12.95 for Water World."

Naturally I jest, but it was the experience - not the ridiculous cost of new DVDs, previously watched crap movies and impulse items, that made the local Blockbuster a community icon.  Walking in, greeted by a pimply faced kid, and taking in the bright lights, sights, sounds and selection of entertainment related "collectibles" that kids and rich nerds wanted, nicely organized shelves, and trailers playing on televisions hanging from the ceiling, made choosing a movie part of the fun. 

Say what you will about Blockbuster vs. the stay at home movie selection experience, but I already miss it.  The wife articulated the void perfectly yesterday.  She said, "I really miss watching all those trailers."

Yes! That’s it.  The foreplay of watching a movie is now gone. 

Though we can seek out trailers on-line, we have to choose the trailers.  Choice is good but you don't know what movies are coming up if you don't constantly check.  For us, this was an important part of the experience.

If the expression, "you get what you pay for" is true, then the overpriced cost of the Blockbuster experience was somehow worth it.

Good-bye, Blockbuster.

1 comment:

  1. Greggie, the Curmudgeon27 October 2011 at 16:57

    Goodbye indeed. Blockbuster was a corporate monster that bounced countless Ma + Pa's out of business (sort of like the same nasty pattern of the ‘beloved’ Starbucks), you know the ones that personalized your movie-going experience, who knew your name, watched your technicolour kids get all glossy – and grow up to more discerning tastes than your standard corporate schlock. And while online convenience takes some of that ‘I’m outta the house actually doing something’ away, ones like Netflix have some pretty sophisticated software programs that offer up suggestions – based on your (often erratic) viewing experiences. Sure, they could have better movies, shows, docs – but they’re young, cheap and easy-to-get. See the generational draw (and the ever-so sleazy analogy)? Get used to it – ’cause it ain’t going anywhere…

    – Greggie (‘The Curmudgeon’) Kerr