Driving around town I’ve noticed that every Blockbuster Video store from Hollywood to Santa Monica, except for two, have closed or are in the process of closing. Signs are up advertising ‘Sale! Every Video Must Go!’ on bright yellow banners in the windows. When I peak in, the stores are nearly empty…the same is true for Hollywood Video. Closed, closed, closed. I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled in the last few months because I just can’t believe it; Goliath has fallen. A new age of rental has dawned.
With the advent of Netflix, iTunes, On Demand, and Red Box, renting movies has completely transitioned. Fast, easy, and cheap. Those are the new key concepts. No more driving to Blockbuster, paying $6 for a movie you’re not quite sure when they want back, and leaving with several yards of receipt paper. Blockbuster has closed almost 1000 stores as of last September, 400 for Hollywood Video. The little man however, the ma and pa who was able to survive the reign of big business, is doing fine. Loyal customers are still visiting their doors regularly or in many cases, whenever the wait for a flick at Netflix has grown too long. And why not? The rules at these corner stores are clear and concise, the receipts are negligible (ie: just one), and the fees feel appropriate for a rental.
I for one, am not sad to see these big boys shutting their doors. I feel the same way about Barnes and Noble and Borders who in the early 90’s, pushed out numerous small bookstores when they came, sliced prices, and conquered. I’ve always preferred home-grown to manufactured. Unfortunately, the behemoth otherwise known as Wal-mart will be harder to fight. And if I’m going to get crazy pessimistic, I could moan on about the fact that Netflix is nothing but a warehouse and a mail-order catalog. Red Box is well, a box in a parking lot. And the rest of the video rental options are all electronic via the internet. No human interaction there.
So I guess the moral of today’s story is: stores are closing so pay attention to where you spend your dollar. If you don’t want Dayton & Son’s Video Store to close, then don’t go to the Red Box outside of Wal-Mart. The End.