I’m driving home Saturday and, by chance, notice one of those many -at least in these parts- employees standing at the side of the road advertising a store. There were two of them, actually. One was carrying a banner for Little Caesar’s Pizza, advertising the new “Deep Deep” dish pizzas.
Next to him was another man, carrying a sign for the soon to go out of business Blockbuster, and the “final sale” of all stock and inventory.
Though the above isn’t a photo of the particular store I went to, it looks very, very similar, complete with the “Store Closing” sign in front of it.
Having nothing much to do at the moment, I turned into the strip mall, parked my car, and was inside the store. It occurred to me this was the first time I set foot into a Blockbuster in many, many years. Perhaps as many as five. Perhaps even more.
I was surprised by this as well as the fact that so little changed within the store. You had the “new arrivals” sections and walls of DVD films, BluRay films, and videos. Toward the front you had the “snacks”, including plenty of chocolates and candies along with various microwavable popcorns.
I approached the “new” section and picked up BluRay copies of The Heat and Pacific Rim, both selling at closeout (ie non-returnable) prices of $12.99 each. I liked The Heat quite a bit and was willing, especially for the extras and “unrated cut”, to pick up the BluRay, though I didn’t have that much of an intention of getting the film for my personal collection (some films you enjoy and want to have them for your personal collection, others you may like quite a bit but don’t necessarily want to own them…The Heat fell in that later category). I hadn’t seen Pacific Rim yet, so that was a “new” feature. I then examined the video games section but I suspect I was a little too late to take advantage. The games that remained held little interest, and were still priced rather high.
I then went through the TV on DVD section and, though there were some intriguing works to be found, none were worth pursuing. Most were relatively new and popular shows, from 24 to Lost to The Big Bang Theory.
Lastly, I looked over the BluRay section and there, I wound up picking up two more BluRays, Cabin in the Woods and Star Trek: Into Darkness. Cabin cost me $6.99 while Star Trek was $12.99. If you’ve followed my reviews, I wasn’t all that impressed with Cabin, especially the ending, but for that price I was willing to give it a second look. As for Star Trek: Into Darkness, I’ve noted before that I enjoyed seeing it in the theaters but wasn’t all that wild about it afterwards. Again, for that bargain price I was willing to pick it up.
All that was left to see were the snacks and candies. There, I wound up buying some microwaveable popcorn for less than a buck each.
By this point my search through this fresh corpse was effectively done and I gave the store one more -one last– look. I didn’t think I’d be back, and memories of past years, when Blockbuster mattered, came back. There was a time a good friend of mine worked in the store. There was a time I frequented the place every few days, looking for not just new films but films from the past.
Blockbuster, like Borders and Circuit City before them, fell prey to being too large in a time when the internet simply murdered their product. Why go to a Blockbuster when you can stream a film? Or order it through Netflix? Or simply buy it as the prices of movies have become pretty reasonable.
Blockbuster remained Blockbuster even when the world found a better way to get her services. And now, she was done.
I felt bad for those four or five employees -all with pleasant smiles on their faces- behind the counter. Every one of them were about to lose their jobs, and in these tough economic times, that is a big problem indeed.
I walked out and headed to the car. After opening the door, I took another look at the store. Soon, there would be an empty space there, and I wondered what would come next.