Let’s Talk: The End of Blockbuster – Was It Worth It?

Let’s stroll down memory lane with a young Amber for a second. A tiny, brown girl veers away from her mother and goes down another aisle filled with DVDs, and VHSs at the time, and finds a Space Jam VHS with a special coin under the wrapping. She grabs it and presents it to her mom, who briefed her before she got in the store that she was not to touch anything and would not be getting anything from this store. She took the chance anyway and walked away with the VHS and the special coin that, to this day, she wishes she still had.

Everyone has a similar story about their time in Blockbuster but with technology changing from VHSs to DVDs to streaming services, Blockbuster just couldn’t keep up. But was it worth it? Think about that. And what I mean is, yes, streaming services are convenient and during the current pandemic, safer than going somewhere to get a physical copy of a movie which has someone else’s germs on it. But think about this for a second, your favorite TV is on Netflix and you don’t have cable. What happens when Netflix no longer pays the network for that show? Or your favorite movie is finally on Hulu but then a deal falls through and there goes that movie.

I go back to being that kid in Blockbuster or in Walmart buying physical VHSs and DVDs. Personally, I am the type of person who likes to have physical copies of my favorite films. This might be because of how I grew up. It was natural for me to see a movie in theaters, wait for it to be released on DVD and then buy said DVD.

Also, as a side note, do you know how many people cruised through Blockbuster on a Friday night and found a date or even their future husband or wife? We’ve got apps where you can put in your movie preferences but there was nothing better than seeing someone pick up a DVD and judging them. (Jokes…but I did do this often in my younger days….or maybe even now. Don’t judge me.)

Also, I could preview all the extra features if I went to Blockbuster to get a movie. Now I know I can do that with Redbox but Redbox is always near a seedy 7-Eleven or CVS. I always feel like I’m doing something I ain’t got no business doing when I’m going to a Redbox. It’s just not the same. Think about it this way. When you go to a Redbox, you already know what movie you’re going to get. Now think about when you would go into a Blockbuster. Most of the time, you would get what you came for, plus some movie candy, but in those rare times, you might pass by a movie you either hadn’t heard of, didn’t have a strong desire to see or someone in Blockbuster, whether that be a customer or a salesperson, would recommend a movie that you would be inclined to give a chance to.

But what do you think? I know Blockbuster could not and did not survive the rise of streaming but don’t you miss it? Do you have a Blockbuster story?

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