Where do you get your home video fix for movies and TV series? On demand? iTunes? NetFlix? At a Redbox kiosk? Whatever your answer, it’s becoming less and less likely that you’re renting them from Blockbuster video. The company, which still relies heavily on old-school retail outlets, announced yesterday that its third quarter earnings had dropped 21 percent to $910.5 million. It already closed 216 stores last quarter and expects to close 115 more this quarter.
The local Blockbuster was a family staple for me, growing up in suburban New Jersey, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve been in one. Every time I walk by a Blockbuster and look in the window, I’m reminded of one of those gargantuan chain drug stores, with its over-bright neon lights and overwhelming displays. The problem is, no matter how unpleasant the shopping experience, there are still plenty of things people need to buy in a drug store — these days, with all the options available to us, there’s no reason at all to shop at a Blockbuster. Still, I started doing something recently that is either kind of radical or just self-indulgent: Going to my local mom-and-pop video store. (Hey, Get Reel Video!) I was catching up finally on the first season of True Blood, and instead of downloading episodes from iTunes, I found myself taking the short walk to the corner store when I was ready for another disc. I like the small space, neatly stuffed with titles; the quirky staff picks; and the quick chat with the checkout person as I paid. I’m not going to do that all the time now — iTunes and NetFlix are just too easy — but it did make me wonder if there’s a space for local video stores now that there wasn’t in Blockbuster’s block-busting heyday. What do you think? Am I just being nostalgic?
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