How Bad Does Your Video Store Suck?

Take my neighborhood Blockbusters. Please. The inventory seems selected by a blue-ribbon panel comprised of: (1) a crack head (2) a serial murderer (3) a prepubescent male with a runaway id (4) a middle-school dropout (5) a Martian. Quite possibly, this composite fits one person.

The classics section is microscopic and chalk full of “classics” that simply ain’t. Scores of Academy Award winners are missing–and the store “associates” are clueless when I even mention a title. The horror section is absolutely immense and–wouldn’t you know it?–almost every title is backed by that reassuring “Guaranteed You’ll Love It Or Your Money Back” deal. (I mean, how high can your expectations be when you’re watching a slasher film?)

It’s hard to tell how old the “drama” selections are, considering how the overhead florescent lights have uniformally bleached the video boxes to where the movie descriptions are almost illegible. Actually, the Blockbuster collection itself could be re-classified as:
“T & A,” “Blood & Guts,” “Chase Scenes,” “Bad Comedy,” and “Whatever.”

There’s virtually zero foreign films, but tons of wrestling films. Anything that doesn’t have mass appeal is either sold or scrapped. I ask the kid at the register for a movie recommendation and he uses “it sucks” or “it rocks” as a thumbs up/thumbs down rating system. It seems that the real gems of Hollywood have been forgotten.

My local Hollywood video is pretty good actually. It is possible to get new releases on Fri & Sat nights, the have a decent stock of lesser known movies, plus the carry more than one DVD per title on popular flicks.

I hate Blockbuster. I hate them with a passion that I can’t even describe. I hate them even more since they are the only video store with in a reasonable radius of my house, and I’m forced to go there to rent videos. In fact, there are no independent video rental places in my town anymore. Just Blockbuster and some other chain.

Usually there’s 5 or 6 pimply faced teenagers working there. On any given night, 4 of them are either in the back room gossiping, or in front of the store screwing around. That leaves two employees to service the looooong line of customers.

I hate their Nazi late return policy as well. Five minutes late? That’ll be $3.00.

Luckily, Mr. Athena gave me a DVD player for Christmas. From now on, it’s DVDs from for us! I haven’t stepped foot in Blockbuster in almost a month, and I’m deleriously happy.

You’re in luck tsunamisurfer, I’m about to order some videos online. I’m going to get one of each of the following tapes: [extremely long and obscene list of movies deleted by moderator]

[Edited by Czarcasm on 01-25-2001 at 12:20 AM]

I will second xizor’s statement. my local Hollywood video is great.

So far as the worst one, it would have to be a locally-owned video store that continues to put the John Huston film, The Dead (you know, James Joyce?) in the horror section.

I live in St. Louis city, population 350,000 or so.

As far as I can tell, the last two independent video stores in the city have been out of business for some time. All we have is Blockbuster and Hollywood Video (in addition to the video departments in the grocery stores, which we won’t discuss). I can’t venture an opinion on Hollywood Video (although after hearing some positive stuff maybe I’ll have to check it out), but I hate hate hate Blockbuster unless it’s a case where I absolutely have to see a new release.

I like horror, and some of the horror I like best is unrated (e.g., Dead Alive, Re-Animator, Bride of Re-Animator). If you get these at Blockbuster, you get an R-rated version that’s more sliced and diced than than the victims in the films. I absolutely think that people under 18 shouldn’t watch this stuff, but beyond that I resent Blockbuster censoring my movies for me.

Luckily, I just found an indie store that’s just outside the city limits and close to where I live. They carry all manner of good horror, including the unrated stuff.

The main problem with Blockbuster is that it has a HUGE amount of floor space, and yet very few actual titles. Most small stores I’ve been in cram videos into every nook and cranny, floor to ceiling. Blockbuster wastes a lot of space on New Releases, a lot on candy and magazines and crap like that, etc. Blockbuster does do some things right: for one thing, they’re open until 12:00 midnight some nights; my friends and I dont’ rent movies until around this time, so it’s usually the only game in town. Also, they give you five day rentals on the non-new releases, which gives you some time to get around to watching and returning it. Their prices aren’t too bad, $4-something, which is probably about what you pay for any video rental. Also, the Blockbusters (a new one just opened) in my town have excellent locations. The few remaining independant video stores (remember back in the 80s when there was a video store on every block, and all independant?) are scattered in the corners and back alleys of town.

I suppose Blockbusters has a big-box retailer mindset. They focus on volume and couldn’t care less for old Hollywood gems or indie films. I’m betting half of their titles are films I wouldn’t watch if I were alone on a two-year trip to Saturn. So bad, that the Fox Network would say “no” to them.

Anyone else?

I used to have the best video store in the world. LeVideo. Considered by everyone to be the best video store in the world.

It was nice.
Now I’m in SJ, and the video stores suck. If anyone who lives in or near San Jose can recomend a good one. Zenster, Sue Duhnym?

The blockbuster blows. BLOWS I TELLS YOU!

There is a wide selection of video stores within a 20 minute drive, most of them pretty good, some of them excellent.

Sadly, the one one within a 5 minute drive totally sucks.

Case in point: Last year I noticed they still had Clerks on the new release shelf. I went there last month. It’s still there.

Actually I haven’t been to the blockbuster in a couple of years. We have one “indipendent” store that has been around forever, that has loads of old movies. plus they are open til 10 everynight which is nice. Now though they are across town from me and I joinded some really small store. They aren’t bad, but you can’t find everything you’re looking for. The prices are good though, you can get 3 movies for 3 nights for 3 bucks, or 5 for 5 for 5. the new releases are like 3 bucks for one or two days depending.

My video store is actually pretty damned good. It’s the Video Vault in Alexandria, VA. It’s set up in a house, where each room of the house contains a different genre. So, on the bottom floor you’ll find new releases, musicals, and documentaries. Second floor has foreign films, comedies and dramas. Third floor, sci-fi, cult and horror. They have a special Hitchcock section, and the cult and foreign sections are broken out by director and/or topic. They also have a large and growing DVD section that includes not only the latest Hollywood stuff, but lesser-known releases and Criterion Collection items as well. Excellent store.

I have the same floor-space complaint about Blockbuster that was mentioned above. Instead of movies to rent, we get games, magazines, games, candy, overstock for sale, and more games. Whole rows of shelves dedicated to Nintendo and Sony. And now, DVD. Maybe I shouldn’t complain about that, being the new technology and all, but every shelf taken up with discs is one less shelf to stock VHS.

Sure, there are 30 copies of MI-2 to rent but general stock sucks big-time.

Not to jump on the Blockbuster-bashing bandwagon, but I will anyway.

The one near my house is tiny. Cramped. The aisles are so close together you can barely fit a wheelchair in there. Most of it is games and toys.

Odd collection of videos. Case in point - Found a copy of Whore 2 (yes, that’s the title, in the drama/thriller section). I jokingly asked where’s Whore 1 - if I’m going to watch the sequel, I want to see the original. Clerk was a little mystified. (And no, I did not rent it.)

“We’re a family-friendly store” - yet corporate decides to send them an entire wall unit of “Lolita” for display. (The manager and I both found this ironic.)

They took over “10,000 videos”, a competing independent video retailer that I would visit once a week. This place was the size of a small K-Mart and had great anime, Canadian films, a whole section of letterbox editions (wohoo!), and just so much fun to walk through. Blockbuster bought them out, sold the good stuff, and brought in their corporate-approved homogenized crapola.

Good side, they do generally carry a decent selection of pre-viewed videos (I picked up a pre-Special Edition Star Wars Trilogy - $10 total, and the tapes and boxes were in good shape, as well as some Merchant-Ivory tapes).

Now, onto good matters - I did find a great video rental store/artsy coffee house not too far from work - “Stardust Video and Coffee” - foreign films (by language and country) and “Freaks”. The video shelves are wood plankings that threaten to collapse if you breathe too hard, you need a stepladder to get something off the top shelf, and a store set-up that would make the library maze in “The Name of the Rose” look like a straight line. Just like a used bookstore: I love it!

When Ken Russell’s Whore came out in 1991, it was packaged in a few different ways, mostly because the studio was kowtowing to chains like Blockbusters. There was Whore rated R, Whore unrated, and a nifty little gem (he said without a hint of sarcasm) called (and I am not making this up)…

** If You Can’t Say It, See It **

Or words to that effect. This, of course, would be for those Blockbuster types that cannot stand to have such a naughty word as “whore” in their store. Needless to say, that title version didn’t do any better than the original (might be why you couldn’t find the original in your local store - I don’t think they tried the same garbage with Whore 2.

I worked in video retail for seven years. Blockbuster is good for two things, in my opinion. They’re open late (midnights) with an extended return time (noon of the following day) and they have a lot of the new ones. If you go into a mom-and-pop store looking for the newest release, you might be disappointed - because of the high price of the films to the retailer, the mom-and-pop owner might only get 2 or 3 copies of M:I-2, while Blockbuster might get… oh, say 200. So it’s better for the new releases.

Having said that, it’s definitely not better for the older films. The Blockbuster in Beltsville, MD is one of the worst around when it comes to classifying films. There is a Classics section, yes, but it’s woefully thin. I first thought, “Ok, they just don’t have a lot of older stuff, no problem.” Until I was looking through the racks of the other sections, and found… more classics. I mean there were Cary Grant films in Comedy (and they were comedies, yes), but why bother having a Classics section if you’re not putting all the classics in there? The people who are going to want to rent those films will have a devil of a time finding them!

In addition, there were zillions of shelved videos that were bookended - many without box covers! I had to crane my neck as if I were at the library! I don’t like Blockbuster very much either, friends, but at least you know what you’re getting. Some of those smaller ones can be a risk (not enough new ones, maybe even scant older films you like).

Retailers will leave movies on the new-release wall for several different reasons:

  1. The staff is lazy.

  2. The retailer doesn’t have anything to replace that particular film on that shelf.

  3. The retailer wants to continue to charge more money (new-release rate) for the film, however old it is.

  4. The film is shelved next to a “see also” movie that actually is a new release. For example, someone might shelve that Clerks next to Dogma because both were directed by Kevin Smith.

Certainly don’t blame you for being piqued about this. Anal-retentive clerks and managers deserve their own little circle in Hell, if you ask me.

There are stores that allow you to return your films penalty-free right up till closing, and then there are those (like Blockbuster) that insist on having them back at a particular hour. Why BB does this, I’ll never know, because it has to invite problems, just for the reason you stated. If I return my movie to them at 12:05, I’m charged, and I’d probably get miffed (!) at the clerk for doing so, policy or not. The idea is that - hey, it’s only 5 minutes!

When I ran a store, we always told the customers we’d like to have the movies back by 7:30 the next evening, but never, ever, ever charged them for it. If they said something like, “Well, I don’t know if I can have it back by then,” I’d always say, “No problem, as long as it’s back before we close, you’re ok.” See? Leeway!

Seems like I will have to take your word for it, Czarcasm. I would have liked, however, to have had the chance to read the list and judge for myself. Ender, could you e-mail it to me?

Hey, dantheman, post-padding, aren’t you? :smiley:

Naw… If I was padding posts, I would have short, meaningless posts.

Sorta like this one! :slight_smile:

quasar, I suspect you can find the deleted list of video titles here. It’s the second-to-last quote in the section.