Blockbuster shutting down

Story here.

OK, it’s not exactly unexpected, but all remaining Blockbuster stores are slated to shut down, as well as their video-by-mail service. The chain that closed so many neighborhood video stores and once had 1000s of outlets is no more.

Oh, well.

All the Blockbusters around here have been goine for a while now.

Well, that’s … not much of a surprise.

The ones around here closed at least 2-3 years ago. I got several really cheap DVDs when they started selling everything in the store.

Truly the end of an era.

As shitty as their customer service was, especially in its final years, this does make me kind of sad.

In my hometown, a small community in the Midwest, they were about the only place you could get a lot of independent and foreign films in the mid-90s. The mom-and-pop rental places didn’t have Belle du Jour or The Seven Samurai or Eraserhead or really much else beyond the standard Hollywood fare of the era. Blockbuster did, and I got exposed to a lot of great cinema when I was a teenager as a result of perusing their aisles.

When my wife and I were dating, one of our favorite evenings was getting a goofy movie from the Blockbuster in our neighborhood and having takeout. Nice memories.

Not many tears shed for Blockbuster, but a lot for the mom and pops. In Tacoma we were gifted with Stadium Video until last year. It was fantastic: from silent classics to Iranian art films to obscure splatter flicks, if you imagine it they stocked it. Seattle’s Scarecrow Video is even better, but reports are they may not survive the holiday season.

It’s hard to compete with Red Box and online videos. I’m surprised BlockBuster even still had retail stores.

But then again, I’m surprised Radio Shack is still in business. Circuit City folded a long while back.

How does a business model of “carry products nobody wants and sell indiscernable amounts of it” even work? Don’t they have to pay their employees and pay rent on their locations?

Even the CEO isn’t sure

They must be selling rock cocaine. It’s the only plausible explanation.

It is to me; I wasn’t aware Blockbuster still had brick & mortar stores left.

An amusing chart turned up on Facebook.

I was just reading an article and it said that not all Blockbusters are closing. Most outlets are owned directly by the company and these are all closing. But some outlets are franchises and these will remain open if their owners want to continue operating them. And Dish corporation (which owns Blockbuster) has said that it will continue to supply the franchises.

I’ve never been crazy about Blockbuster, and am surprised they lasted as long as they did.

I was no fan of Blockbusters either. But I feel about its closing the way I felt about the closing of Borders. Once the big chain stores had driven all the local independents out of business, I wanted the chains to survive. Because when the big chains close, it’s not like those independents are going to re-open.

The UK Blockbusters chain has just gone into administration (again). Apparently they still have 260+ outlets in the UK.

To be fair, those are bigger on the inside.

My wife and I heard this story on the car radio yesterday. There was a sound bite in which some analyst said “The Blockbuster name still has value” and we both said simultaneously “No, it doesn’t.”

Oh no! When I lived in Seattle, I loved Scarecrow! Got to discover and see all sorts of obscure and wonderful movies I never would have known about otherwise. The online rental services, like Amazon, only steer you to the same sorts of things you’ve already looked at, and there is no chance for serendipitous discoveries.

I’m slating some time to visit the Blockbuster near me so I can hopefully pick up some cheap DVDs. As much of a bummer as it was when Hollywood video went under, I very much enjoyed grabbing handfuls of 2 dollar DVDs at the end.