Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The appearing and disappearing video store

While running errands yesterday, I drove past a former video store.  The past year or so, the business had just been hanging on.  When we would (rarely) go in to rent videos, there were only a handful of people there.  So, I'm not surprised that the store was shuttered.

What I do find interesting is that so many of these stores appeared and now have disappeared.  I remember when they seemed to spring up everywhere. My own family got a VCR back in the mid-eighties.  I realized that of the five video stores in my area in the past ten years, only one is currently open.

There was a time when video stores seemed to be popping up everywhere, in many strip malls.  Going to the video store to rent movies was an activity.  I remember walking through the aisles with many different people.  There was always a discussion about what to see, what movies a person felt like seeing that night, what someone had seen or hadn't seen.  Depending on the person, this process might take some time.

I'm trying to think of movie scenes where a person is renting videos or in the video store.  I'm fairly certain there are quite a few.  The two I can think of are Orgazmo and Jersey Girl - both are off color scenes/films.

With the advent of movie home delivery services, through-the- mail game delivery and order-in cable - the video stores are vanishing.  My library also rents dvds, and from my understanding, it's the biggest circulation that they have. 

I suppose it makes me a bit wistful.  Before the dot-com bubble burst, and people discussed the new economy - I didn't think (necessarily) video stores would be a casualty.  For so long, ordering or watching videos on one's pc was clunky, choppy and the technology was dicey (at best).  But technology has caught up - and things are disappearing.  While there is still some demand for video stores and game rental - it's just not what it was. And all those small businesses (and franchises) disappear.

It's interesting to think about what else might disappear.  I've talked about technology before...Gas stations on every corner, that's probably going to disappear at some point. Particularly with more fuel efficient cars.  But the other functions that gas stations have probably won't disappear, the mini-mart soda and candy shop part.  Post offices and bank branches may disappear or shrink as well.

My theory is that what people can do online, eventually they will.  It's not that there won't be post offices, because they still have a function.  Just like video stores.  And not everyone has access to the internet (or cable), so some video stores will still have a market. Just not as large of a market as they once had. 

2 comments:

Kristen T. said...

I think you are right! These will be a thing of the past. If you haven't seen it... rent Clerks. Cult classic flick with a video store!

Freckle Face Girl said...

So true! It is amazing how things can change so drastically - a way of life becoming obsolete. I worked in a video store in college. I must say it was probably my favorite job ever. A little sad...

Another movie with a video store scene is The Holiday.