Somehow, I can't find it in my heart to cry for Blockbuster, even though it is a cherished part of my college experience. Back at the University of Richmond in 1988-1992 when I was a student there, the Blockbuster Video store on West Broad Street (a shop which isn't there anymore, by the way...) was a staple. My roommate Allan, friend Chris and I were there all the time. And it seemed great to be able to rent episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series, the original Outer Limits, and more. Didn't hurt, either, that it was stationed next to a Taco Bell, for midnight runs to the border. Today, at 36, my stomach does tumbles at the thought of that...
But, of course, Blockbuster ran a lot of mom & pop video stores out of business on its way to global domination. So turnabout, I suppose, is fair play. I wonder if other so-called "brick and mortar" stores (like Hollywood Video and Family Video) are also facing this business apocalypse.
Must admit, I'm disappointed that one of the nails in Blockbuster's coffin came from that Mart o' Darkness, Walmart. Now there's a company I'd really like to see fail. (Or at least pay its fair share of employee health insurance, so it doesn't burden states...) But anyway, I guess I already know the answer about the future of "brick and mortar stores." Why? Just after Christmas, I read that all the Media Play stores in Charlotte, where I live now, are closing down. I've been purchasing stuff there since 1994, when I moved to the city with my wife, Kathryn. I used to love going to that store...but today, it just feels so...nineties.
Anyway, now I get my movies through Netflix. Or buy 'em straight-up from Amazon.com. I can't even remember the last time I shopped at Media Play, or rented from Blockbuster. So I guess their day is over. Another part of American pop culture relegated to the dust-bin of history.
What do you think? Where do you "get" your movie rentals these days? Downloads (naughty, naughty...), mail services (like Netflix) or old school, like Blockbuster?