There are a number of potential blog entries that float through my mind on a daily basis. The majority of them go untapped on account of sheer laziness, really. It's almost a shame that the initiating spark for unsung blog posts such as, "You—Tiny Human, to Whom do you Belong?" are given into my hands to be delivered to the world at large. But alas, a few nuggets make it through. I happened upon one such nugget on the bus today as it passed a BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO.
Now, aside from the fact that this particular location failed to replace the bulbs on a few crucial letters (the storefront actually read _LO_K_USTER __DEO) there was no real reason for it to catch my attention other than the fact that seeing it, sad and vacant as it was, made me realize that as a contemporary American consumer—the 'video store' is simply a concept I have no more use for. Commence bulldozing.
Be honest, who uses video stores? Most people who still have video store memberships are busy moving to different counties to escape the criminal fines. Let's face it, there just aren't reasons to drive to a building to rent a movie when society has declared, "Packaging be damned! Just gimme the square paper thingy with the clear plastic circle."
And I'm not saying this is anything new. I, in no way, was an early-adopter of the online movie rental phenomenon. Yet, just a few short weeks of Netflix enrollment has restructured the entire way in which I make contact with post-theater flicks. My enthusiasm has far exceeded my own expectations. "What's that, inner self? Time to check the mail? The movies I queued up yesterday are here? O delightful morn!"
It's magic, I tell you. Maybe evil magic.
But some critics (read as, unbelievers drowning in a sea of instant-gratification filth) will complain that it's too long to wait 24-hours to get a movie. What if you are called upon to entertain a group of unannounced slackers? You can't tell them they have to wait until tomorrow to see '27 Pounds' or whatever that new Will Smith tear-jerker is. Certainly, now one must rush to a Hollywood Movie Emporium or Mr. Filmtastic, right? Incorrect, again. While Netflix holds the 'video store' in a headlock, Redbox goes straight for the nads.
Tough, scrappy and available everywhere, the Redbox movie rental kiosk sniffs twice, wipes its upper lip and asks, "You want ya movie? I got ya movie right heera."
Though rapidly becoming a common watering hole for lowlifes and change collectors, Redbox offers the selection and the immediacy demanded by the quick-fix movie consumer. Besides, you can forgive yourself for rushing into the world's worst movie rental decision ever if you only paid a dollar (a day) for it.
Okay, so here's the last straw. The last reason America needs video stores. Video games! Surely, the three racks of previously scratched copies of Extreme Tournament Golf will keep them coming back for more, right? O dagger in my breast! I guess now would be a bad time to bring up Game Fly dot com, where you can even rent the gaming console?
Your honor, I rest my case.
There you have it folks, a solid three-point defense. Netflix killed the Video Store. Now, give it a slap on the wrist and send it off to play with iTunes.
*[2017 Update: I'm not sure I was aware of streaming movies at the time.]