The End of Something

I know I’ve established my tendencies for nostalgia. I’m guilty of the heavy, heart-wrenching kind. So seeing this sign overy day right next to my current place of work seriously tugs at my heart strings.

Let me explain. I used to work at Blockbuster, specifically this Blockbuster. For one and a half years of my life (and for six months in the middle I managed my own store that I had to help close) I was a slave to those shelves. I alphabetized, opened accounts, handled cranky customers and rented out movies inside t hose walls. I stocked candy, watched countless kids movies and memorized lines in those walls. I met some amazing people, wrote parts of novels and did pirouettes on that floor. I was there to watch it change, we added the Blu-ray station, dumped VHS and reorganized the candy near the front to be more “tempting” to you, yes you. My Blockbuster changed hands from a privately owned franchise to the corporate store it is today (for the moment). And even though by the time I quit I was absolutely miserable, a part of me is still buried in the rug hoping more than anything that this closing thing is really part of some massive joke on the world.

I don’t even rent movies from there anymore. I’ve rented no more than seven in the two years I’ve been gone. I woek next door now and hardly go there. Though in spite of the corporate take over, it still smells the same.

But! It’s a sign of changing times, ones that I hate to admit are coming. It isn’t just about Netflix and Redbox. It’s about the digitalizing of our world, a means to make it seemingly dissappear. I hated the iPod when it came out (just as I currently find the Kindle and all other ebook readers blasphemous). I continue to buy CDs on occasion. (I’m not sure why — I listen to them in my car but I can’t even transfer the music onto my computer because the CD drive doesn’t work). It’s a reminder that all DVDs I buy in this moment will someday be obsolete.

It’s a prompt to think about what really matters.

Certainly these movies I’m buying now I don’t really need. I don’t need to pile the special edition of Harry Potter movies (which, come to think of it I should add, special editions of any movie are hardly released on DVD anymore, only Blu-ray…) on my shelf next to other movies I love but don’t watch nearly enough. Soon I will need to get a Blu-ray player and make the switch, so I might as well not bother with DVDs and buying them. Soon they’ll be gone, which means they don’t really matter. They’re just a means to watch a movie, one that I can most likely watch right now on the Wii through Netflix instead (okay so I guess not really RIGHT now, I don’t have Netflix quite yet…).

And yet and the same time, it’s clear that the production of media IS important. If it wasn’t then no company would put so much thought and invention into improving it. No one would waste their time marketing and coming up with awesome ads for these films. They want you to think that switching to Blu-ray you are changing your life. They want you to think that you must have all your old favourites now on Blu-ray (or, insert-new-format-here because it was nearly yesterday we were switching over from VHS to DVD).

So when a Blockbuster closes near you, recognise it as a sign that things are changing even if you don’t think it really affects you. (In some way you may not even be aware of, it really does).



4 thoughts on “The End of Something

  1. Great post! I used to be the anti- ipod anti-kindle guy. I said I wanted to hold paper in my hand… Now that I’m married with three cats and a kid on the way, what I need is space. I pretty much have a library with no room for it. I embraced my kindle a few months ago. My wife digitized all our music. It really is the direction things are going. People will have their libraries on jump drives and any movie they want instantly streaming. For a collector, that is pretty overwhelming, but there is always ebay, where I recently bought an Atari 2600! We can have both, but I need some shelf space.

    • I understand how much more space there can be with a digital library. My room is over crowded with books and DVDs and in a way, I’d like to get rid of them all. Or condense them somehow. But I feel like it’s harder to appreciate them when they’re not hard copies. I can’t tell you how many digital albums I have that I’ve never listened to. CDs, however, are a physical reminder to pop them into the CD player.

  2. this made me sad. i feel the same way. i was so upset the last time i went to buy a vhs from target only to find they no longer sell them (years ago). i just buy them used now. i am making a point of lijah growing up listening to my old cassette tapes. he is just as familiar with cassettes and vhs’ as he is cd’s and dvd’s. i guess i do it cos i appreciated that my parents raised me with their old records.
    times they are a’changin’ and it is kind of sad. however, keeping them alive in your home is something, even if somewhat obsolete.
    and i will always buy real books.

    • I think it’s admirable to make a point of surrounding Elijah with old cassette tapes and VHS. I don’t even have a means to play either of those things any more, but I still think mix tapes are better than mix CDs or anything else. I hope no one stops buying real books.

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