BLOCKBUSTER NEWS HIT ME LIKE A BLOCKBUSTER
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.)
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.