Saturday, March 6, 2010

Feel Sorry for Our Future Generations

1. Have you ever worked for either Blockbuster Video or Hollywood Video?
2. Have you rented anything (movie/game) from BV or HV in the last year?
3. Judging from your interactions with them, are BV/HV employees knowledgeable about movies? On a scale from 1-10?

According to Cinematical, Blockbuster lost $435 million dollars last quarter.
How. Is. That. Possible?
I understand that Netflix, Redbox, illegal downloading, and hundreds of other more attractive alternatives have done their parts to hurt the corporate giant. But really? There wasn't anything they could do? They had to see it coming.

As I reported last month, a number of the Hollywood Video locations are shutting down. Since then, news broke that the Hollywood Video I worked for back in the day is closing down as well. After leaving that job, I worked at Circuit City. Looks like I'm the bad luck charm. It's only a matter of time until the age of Video Store Chains is extinguished.

Mom & Pop proponents can't help but feel a little justified. The corporations which shut down independent rental stores throughout the 80s, 90s, and 00s are now in major trouble. Blockbuster's attempt at online rental services arrived too late and failed to save the already weakening business. Starting last year, they introduced Blockbuster Express kiosks (a la Redbox) but to this day I haven't seen one in person.

I have a theory. There will always be a demand for in-person rental stores because there will always be people too stupid to figure out Netflix. Rapper Lil Wayne sold a million copies of his album The Carter III in its first week while critically-acclaimed artists (such as Mos Def) take much longer to hit those numbers. Why? Because Mos fans are smart enough to download illegally. Lil Wayne fans need Best Buy to get their music. The rest of us just need Google.

And while Redbox's kiosks were practically designed specifically for these dumb-dumbs, you can't count out that stupid people thrive on being stupid in person. Nothing makes these people happier than slamming a "Display Only" case down on a counter and yelling "I want to rent The Blind Side!" which, in turn, forces the poor 16-year-old fat kid who makes up for his minimum wages with over 365 free rentals per year to explain what the words "Display Case" mean even though I know it won't do any good and they'll make me crawl into the return box and look for a recently dropped off copy WHICH WON'T BE IN THERE! IGUARANTEEYOU! IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT! THAT MOVIE JUST CAME OUT! * CATHY STRESS SQUIGGLE*

You know what? I hope they go out of business. I'm sorry 16-year-old fat nerdy kids who dream of getting paid in free rentals and posters but it's just not worth it. Trust me. Plus, most of the people you work with won't know anything about movies. And neither will a large percentage of your classmates in the State school undergrad film program. Get a Netflix subscription and a comfy couch for your parents' basement. You'll make it to your Master's program...someday.


Jessica said...

I can't imagine a world with no Hollywood video! How will I get my old random movies I feel like watching with my friends at the last minute in the middle of the night?

elgringo said...

Your sister married into a pretty large DVD collection. They're organized by genre and there's a John Cusack section too.

Goose3984 said...

its simply the natural progression of technology an convenience, as technology becomes easier to use an people become lazier businesses like netflix will continue to dominate the market. and my collection wants to arm wrestle yours.

Goose3984 said...

also a bit bitter are we, your days at Hollywood Video may not have the most stimulating, but they werent all that terrible were they?

elgringo said...

Very true, Goose. The laziness factor is definitely key. And my collection is up for the challenge any day.

And my days at Hollywood Video weren't bad. I guess I was just being dramatic.

Heather said...

1. No.
2. Yes. Luke and I rented between three and ten movies a month from Blockbuster this past year. I loved Blockbuster online, but gave it up last year during a poor spell (as you know, all of last year was a poor spell). We never got it back, and have just been renting in the store since then.
3. I've found that there's usually one person at each blockbuster who knows anything about movies that aren't new releases or blockbuster hits.

The huge loss last quarter explains why Blockbuster has a new renting policy- $4 for the rental, you get it for four days, then you're charged a dollar per day after that. After a certain amount of days (15?), you own the movie, but can return it and get you money back for the movie (but not your dollar-per-day money). After 45 days or something, when you return the movie, you get store credit for the price of the movie.

Anyway, Luke and I decided after the last time we went in there that we'd just break down and get netflix. I forgot how much I love building up my queue.