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Friday, November 15, 2013

BLOCKBUSTER NEWS HIT ME LIKE A BLOCKBUSTER


BLOCKBUSTER NEWS HIT ME LIKE A BLOCKBUSTER
 
I am less than three years away from being a septuagenarian.  That should make me feel pretty old, but it does not.  I have an arthritic hip that keeps me from running sprints.  That should make me feel old, but it does not.  I never really liked running sprints anyway, and I can still workout, play golf and bowl.  I can do some of those things as well or better than ever.  So I do not really feel that old.

Until now.

I just heard that Blockbuster, the movie rental store, was closing.  They are out of business.  That makes me feel old.  Why?

I remember when the first movie rental store in our neighborhood opened.  It was a mom and pop store and they rented movies for $1.99, plus .35 for insurance and .50 if you forgot to rewind.  They also rented VCR machines because lots of people still didn’t have them.

(Cranky aside: I asked why I needed insurance.  They told me “you know, if the dog gets at it or something.” Freeking rip off, I told them I didn’t have a dog and saved the .35.)

Anyway

Several years later, along came Blockbuster.  They rented movies for $.99 and mom and pop quickly went out of business.  I kind of felt sorry for them because I knew they pooled all their money for this enterprise and now they were broke.  I felt sorry, but I still went to Blockbuster to save a dollar.

About a year after the mom and pop stores were all out of business, Blockbuster raised their prices to $2.99 then $3.99 and soon after that $4.99. 

A trip to Blockbuster became a Saturday ritual, stocking up on films for the weekend.  Eventually the novelty wore off, then there were cable movies on demand and cheap DVD’s.  Netflix, Hulu, and other online applications put the final nail in Blockbusters coffin.

Why does Blockbusters demise make me feel old?

The movie rental business is the first industry in my adult life time that was developed and then faded away; a brand new industry that went the way of the buggy whip, all in my lifetime. 

I don’t think my father ever saw an industry born and then become obsolete in his lifetime.  I don’t think my Grandfather ever saw an industry born and then become obsolete in his lifetime, and I’m sure no great grandfathers before ever witnessed the birth and also the death of the same industry.

Technology is moving so fast, that new industries are developed and then made obsolete in a matter of decades and that phenomena will only continue.

I have outlived a new industry…I must be old…it sure makes me feel old.

19 comments:

  1. Interesting. I'd never thought of it like that before. Unfortunately I doubt it will be the last.

    S

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  2. I think I gave up about two years ago on even thinking about how fast technology is changing my world.

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  3. I am old enough to remember a time when it was unimaginable that Blockbuster wouldn't be with us always.....it makes me feel old to think that I had such a lack of imagination.

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  4. 'went the way of the buggy whip'. nice one.

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  5. I remember Block Buster taking businesses from private movie rental people, except that in Dutchess County NY it was not a mom and pop place. It was run by some smart IBM employee and his wife who charged two dollars a day for renting a movie and then the late charge or rewinding charge as well. We were very happy with Block Buster.

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  6. I don't want you to feel old. If you want, grab your best gal and maybe my wife and I will take a ride up there. We can all go to a drive-in movie and cheer you up.

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  7. But just think of all the people who owed big fines to Blockbuster who are probably feeling a big bunch of relief from its demise.

    So many tech things have such short legs. Don't think I'll invest in Twitter no matter how inviting.

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  8. When I was 17 I got a job at a mom and pop store that rented videos. I had to write out the customers' information -- name, address, phone number and credit card -- on an index card and file it away in a plastic index card holder. That was our "system" that kept our regulars on file so each time they came in I could just pull their card to see if they had returned their previous rental, to check to see if they had any outstanding fees due, etc. We charged 2.99 per movie and it was due back the next day before the store closed. If you put it in the night drop and we "checked it in" in the morning, then it was LATE! and you would then owe another 2.99 and I'd write that on "your card" LOL . About 6 months before I quit they updated their "system" to a computer. We had to barcode all the movies and input all the customers into our new system. It was cool working there because at the end of the night shift I could take any movie home that hadn't been rented -- for free! Just as long as I returned it by opening the next day. I remember we closed at 7pm and my mom and a friends would call at about 6:55 each night I worked to ask what movies were still on the shelves. I only was paid about .50 over minimum wage, but the free movie rental perk was pretty cool. I worked there for about 2 years. A Blockbuster opened up in our town soon after I quit and a year later the small video store was gone :(

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  9. I remember those lazy/hungover Saturday afternoons where we would just get a bunch of videos for a Saturday night Sunday afternoon marathon.....we have had no blockbuster here for about 7 years or so

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  10. If we wait long enough, I think we'll see this happen: A computer-based industry will have an IPO, sell all its stock, then go out of business--ALL IN ONE DAY!!

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  11. I refuse to feel old, too, although it is a teensy bit unsettling to be able to remember things that happened sixty years ago. That SOUNDS like a long time, but it isn't. It absolutely isn't, dammit.

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  12. You guys are all a bunch of rosy cheeked kids........
    I remember when the RADIO was the only entertainment game in town. Sigh. Those were good times.

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  13. Before long none of us will have PCs. It will all be done on the TV. When I tell my son about the old days when TVs had no color and microwaves didn't yet exist I really feel old. Good post as always.

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  14. I'm glad you feel old. Why should I be the only one who feels old?

    Hrrrmmmpppfff!

    When we got ready for our move from South Carolina to Florida, we ditched a lot of stuff. My youngest son looked in one of the boxes destined for Goodwill and pulled something out: "Hey, Mom, what the heck is this??? Is this like a big black CD?"

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  15. I was feeling young until reading this. Now I know better. I'm going to listen to some oldies music... on my 8-Track.

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  16. Wait. Does that mean Betamax is dead?

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  17. I got a new black car (okay, a mommy van) a couple years ago. I swore that I would keep it clean, but faltered here and there until I began taking it to Ernie's, a hand wash business. And then, one day it was convenient to take it to one of the several Car Pools and that was the end of my trips to Ernie, who I took pride in supporting. Car Pool has a cheaper option and whatever wax finish they put on it, keeps the car shiny and clean for a few weeks.

    Anyway, I watched one Blockbuster after another close throughout the years. It was just a matter of time.

    An entertaining and thought provoking post.

    Take care of that hip! Got any magic salves or pills you can tell us about?

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  18. Isn't it weird what can make you feel old? I was sad when our Blockbuster closed. I love the convenience and economy of Netflix and Redbox, but Blockbuster was a huge part of my childhood and teenage years, and it was nice to be able to ask the people working there for recommendations.

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  19. Ir's difficult keeping up with technology in today's ever changing world. We are all getting older so stop feeling so lonely

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