I know it’s not really nice to take pleasure in the demise of a business.
But on behalf of all former Mom and Pop video store clerks everywhere, I enjoyed a few smiles yesterday when I read that Blockbuster Video had filed for bankruptcy.
Ah, Blockbuster. It’s hard to remember it now, but there was a time in the early-mid 1990s when it was a behemoth thought of like Apple and Microsoft. Blockbuster exploded into every town in America, it seemed, with five stores on every block.
In high school I worked at a Mom and Pop-style video store, Rainbow Video (free popcorn with every rental! You have no idea how sick I got of seeing popcorn when I worked there. Seriously, I don’t think I ate popcorn for the next three years after leaving.)
So many times we’d hear customers complain that “we only have five copies of “Fried Green Tomatoes? Mayve I should go to Blockbuster!” Or they’d whine about our lack of Nintendo games, or something else.
By expanding so quickly and flooding the market, Blockbuster drove thousands of small shops like ours out of business. And we hated them for it.
There was something so “corporate” about being in a Blockbuster store, too. An antiseptic feeling that was hard to put your finger on, but was always there.
As the digital revolution came, Blockbuster got left behind. Netflix and DVRs and movies on demand and all that completely blew Blockbuster out of the water in the last few years.
I can’t remember the last time I “rented” a movie; it’s got to be at least 4-5 years ago. Blockbuster says it’s not closing stores, that the bankruptcy is procedural, yada yada yada.
The bell has tolled for thee, Blockbuster. And I take a little bit of joy out of that.