1:32 PM | 0 comments
I never thought that it would come to this, but it has, the feeling has finally sunk in, and it's all because of some guy who worked there for some extra cash. Half-way through reading the article, I was reminded of one of many sleepovers between me and my friends where we had decided that going out for a walk at 8pm was a good idea. At a street corner, it was brought up that half of us might as well go to Blockbuster and see if we could rent something to bring home and watch. I think someone had a membership card, and so we split up; one group waited in a bus shelter while the other half went to visit Blockbuster. In essence, this was what Blockbuster was in relation to teenagers in the 2000's.
For most of us, Blockbuster was a habitual place to go whenever TV had overplayed the re-runs, and whatever was at home was no longer capable of capturing our interest for more than half-an-hour. Just the other day, I was helping my Mom pack up old Disney VHS' because it had been so long since anyone in the house had touched them. While stacking them up in boxes, it was such a nostalgia trip hearing the sound of cracking each one up and seeing the little pamphlets that came with each cassette. Seeing how much of the VHS was played before it was taken out by looking at the varied thicknesses of the tape rolls, and knowing that if I wanted to watch it again, I'd have to pull out the VHS Rewinder, slide in the VHS, and hear that familiar "Vrrrrr" of the tape rewinding.
Back then, this was as annoying as hell because sometimes this was a deciding factor on which movie to watch. "This one needs a full rewind, while the other is only maybe 30 min. into the video... Let's go with the 30 min. one," we'd say out of laziness. It's funny how things that we considered a nuisance back then is now an essential piece of our past.
Back then, Blockbuster was honestly no different from borrowing a book from the library. It was just a different location, but the action was the same. Late fees were a daily occurrence, and anyone who was cool (read: geeks; don't you deny it) had a Blockbuster membership card. Everyone else had to go through the same procedure of registering their name, address and phone number assuming that they weren't already in the directory.
In the article linked above, the author stated a very valid point:
"The death of Blockbuster is the death of the employee favorite shelf. With Netflix
and Hulu and Amazon having rightfully eclipsed video rental stores, the recommendation is now largely accomplished by algorithm. [...] If you didn’t agree with my taste in movies, there was definitely another employee you would agree with. There was someone for every customer to talk about movies with working at every video store in the country."
Who else would you ask for movie recommendations than from the guy who works there? It's almost expected that they probably know which other movies you'd like from how you list off the reasons why a particular movie pulled at your heartstrings in a way you couldn't forget. That kind of personal service was much appreciated, and I can speak with honesty that my family and I made sure we thanked the employees who kindly approached us when noticing us stare at the seemingly endless amount of movie titles in confusion, and helped us sort out our movie problems.
"Whether you agreed with me or thought I was full of it, customers at my store knew my name and face, and I hand-sold movies that I cared about. Social media, and general cultural connectivity, has helped put to bed the notion that someone who works at a store may have a privileged or even expert view of its products, but I don’t think any rational person would agree that Yelp reviews or Goodread reviews or YouTube comments are going to accomplish the same end."
I know Blockbuster has ended it's legacy already, but reading this sparked some kind of fire in me that needed to be flamed out with a blog post, so here it is. I've yet to make the transition to Netflix, but I'm going to miss the excitement that comes from watching TV commercials about movies that are now on VHS, DVD & Blu-Ray and know that the wait is over, I can finally make my way to Blockbuster and watch all the movies I've missed in theatres to my heart's content.
Here's to Blockbuster; you'll be forever embedded in our hearts and memories of movies forever.