R.I.P. Blockbuster Video


My wife and I paid our final respects to the local Blockbuster this past weekend. God it was depressing…

With all the remaining Blockbusters set to close in January, we expected to score some pretty sweet deals on some cheapo DVDs. What we didn’t expect was for EVERYTHING to be on sale: the shelves, the computers, the gumball machine, the shirts on the employees’ backs. All right, maybe not the shirts, but I’m pretty confident that if you made a decent offer, they would take it.

I honestly didn’t expect to have an emotional response to our video excursion; it was, after all, just a trip to see if we could score some cheap merchandise. But as I weaved in and out of the aisles of movies, I realized it was a lot more than that. It was the end of an era.

Growing up, my family spent many a Friday and Saturday night weaving in and out of the aisles searching for a movie that the entire family would enjoy (Never Blockbuster back then, though; no, Blockbuster was THE DEVIL!). Often I’d rent a video game, and my father would pick out a movie and we’d go home and gather around the television and enjoy it (or not). Regardless, it was something we could do together and even if the movie wasn’t that great, we’d still sit and laugh and exist in the same room for an hour-and-a-half. Then I’d play the shit out of the video game the rest of the weekend since it had to go back on Monday.

And as sad as it made me to think that my son will never know the joys of wandering aimlessly through a video store and fighting some elderly woman for the last copy of Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, it made me proud of all the stubborn book people out there. E-readers have been around for quite some time  and, realistically, brick-and-mortar bookstores should be much further gone than they currently are. It’s all those damn stubborn book people who still appreciate the smell and feel of a real-life, “killed a tree to get it here” book. Barnes and Noble still exists, Blockbuster doesn’t. Maybe I’m overstating the importance of that, but it still makes me proud of all the pain-in-the-ass readers out there who force publishers to continue to print books when they could produce e-books for a fraction of the cost. Take that, trees!

Still, it’s only a matter of time before all retail stores are as obsolete as Blockbuster. Soon we won’t have to leave our homes for anything. That’s actually an idea I explore in my dystopian novel, Dystopia, a book where Walmart has taken over the country and all merchandise can simply be created in one’s home using a 3-D printer (which is exactly what’s going to happen).

As my wife and I were leaving Blockbuster, a little girl walked up to the counter with a movie in her little hand. “Can I rent this?” she asked. “We don’t do that anymore,” the bitter cashier monkey told her. And in that moment I realized that “renting videos” was just another item on the growing list of archaic things to tell my grandchildren about.

Rest in peace, Blockbuster Video. Enjoy the big rental shop in the sky, where everyone always remembers to rewind.


~ by themoderntranscendentalist on November 25, 2013.

2 Responses to “R.I.P. Blockbuster Video”

  1. I’ll have the chicken. A whole one.

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