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).