I thought I would write about Blockbuster tonight.
We got our first VCR around the time Jane Fonda had her first workout tape. What was that, 1982?
I used it to do the Workout (as did so many others back then). And we used it to tape shows and sporting events. We did not do a lot more than that actually. Videotapes -- with movies on them already -- were expensive. Over sixty bucks. And they were not as widely available.
(The last videocassette I bought was Ghost. It cost $90-something dollars when it came out on videotape. Back then, the videos were released for rentals and then six months to a year later they would be priced to sell at around twenty dollars a piece.)
And then our area got its first video store.
My husband went crazy. It was a few years before Fatal Attraction was playing at the movies. But there was some movie like that, a big hit, that he saw at the video store. It was not the movie at the movie theater. And I told him that before he popped it into the VCR. But he just knew -- he was wrong. It was another movie with the same title. (I wish I could remember what the movie was.)
But it became something we did. We would go to the video store. Our youngest would ride his bike or get a ride with his brothers (or go with one of his parents if he was especially brave that day).
And after a while, we ended up with a Blockbuster. I think every city in America pretty much did. They were big stores. Had a nice size of classics and other genres.
And in the early 90s and mid 90s that was great.
So what happened?
Streaming online. Netflix.
But I do not think that is the big reason.
Blockbuster lost customers while other stores garnered them. My young neighbors always wanted a Blockbuster card -- this is in the last five years. But they rent and they needed a copy of their lease and a credit card to be on file and . . .
Netflix does not require that. RedBoxx will let you use an ATM card.
Blockbuster is failing because it's out of date and demands things like leases and copies of utility bills and all this other nonsense.
They made it to hard to rent videos. That is why they failed.
Maybe they will realize that and get back to doing what they are supposed to. Because they really had a purpose. My youngest son? He was very concerned about being seen with his parents (not wanting to be seen with us). That was fine, it is an age. But when we popped in a movie, he came running into the living room and we could have a family life.
That really was what Blockbuster was about, people coming together over good movies.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today: