Thursday, September 24, 2009

The death of independent video stores



I loved and hated going to the video store. I rarely went alone, so inevitably I was there with a couple other indecisive people. Even the most decisive people crumble under the weight of picking out a DVD.
This scenario has all but disappeared in my life. I still have indecisive friends, but instead of spending hours arguing over what movie we should pay money for, we simply stay in the living room, browse netflix's "watch instantly" selection, and pick something random because -
a) it's free and
b) we can always turn it off if we get bored with it and not feel bad for wasting $2 bucks.
But now, I'm missing conversations with pretentious movie store clerks... I'm even missing the hours spent trying to make a decision.
I want to frequent a local video store, but they are disappearing, the closest movie rental place to my house in Midtown Sacramento is Blockbuster and I've never been a Blockbuster patron.
I work with a former owner of a video store. She had to close her shop in Davis because she lost too much business to the red box.
In college i wrote a story about businesses diversifying to stay alive. A movie rental place in Arcata started offering tanning in the former adult video room. Two tans a month brought in more money than the adult videos.
So in order to keep the pretentious movie renting, brick and mortar dream alive, they need to sell out a little. Start carrying apparel, or offering a tan, or maybe espresso.
I'm not giving up my Netflix account - the industry is already dead in within the ten block radius I wander in between the hours I have to work.
So, with a sad sigh, I say a prayer for the video rental industry and hope like the newspaper and music industries it can reinvent it's self and eventually - stick it to the man/robotic video dispensing box.

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