Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Remembering Video Stores

DVD Void

We're at the end of an era, and you may not have even noticed it.

Look around Nanaimo and tell me, what's missing?

No, the statue of Frank Ney is still there.

What's something that you used see in every other mini mall but is getting rarer and rarer?

Video stores.

It almost feels like every major video rental store closed it's doors at the same time, doesn't it?  It's as if one day it was a booming business model and then the next they were all gone, leaving empty buildings and going out of business signs in their wake.

I paid a visit to More Than Movies yesterday.  It's a privately run video store that's been around for 20 years but is selling off it's stock to prepare to close forever.  I used to visit this store when I was a teenager.  It was just around the corner from where I lived.

It was a somewhat nostalgic experience.  DVDs lined the aisles.  Literally 1000s of choices.  It would take a long time to discover exactly what was there, but you could tell that it had been stocked by someone who loved movies.

Sure, there was everything Val Kilmer had ever made...

...but there were also all these hidden gems.  There was even a section called The Top 200 which featured all the greatest movies in one place.  All 200 choices were titles I could certainly get behind.

Organized by genre, title and era, and I could physically pick up each one and look at it, too.

But honestly, it was the first time I had been in any video store in a long time.

It used to be part of my weekend ritual.  Go in early on a Saturday, find two movies and a video game and your weekend was planned.  You could even pick up popcorn, candy or chips on your way to the till.

But, as has been the case with a lot industries, the internet has completely changed the experience.

Sure, you can still rent movies, but now you can do it online, instantly, with no worry of getting there and finding that the movie you wanted was already rented.

Remember what that was like?  You'd say, "Hey, that new Jim Carrey movie is out on DVD today.  Let's go rent it!" and then go to the video store.  You'd get there at 4pm on Saturday and realize that 50 other people had the exact same idea hours before you did, so now you're stuck watching some Fran Drescher nightmare.

I'm not sure if there is a way to save the video store.  There are just so many other more convenient ways to rent movies now that don't involve late fees or product scarcity.  I can even download movies on my smart phone.

But if you get the chance, pay a visit to More Than Movies or a video store in your area.

Even if only to remember the way that it used to be just a few years ago.

Oh, and you can find More Than Movies on Facebook here!

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