So Netflix is increasing prices soon. I just saw on Twitter that my plan will jump from $12.99 per month to $13.99 per month at some point later this year. That sucks for my wallet but if it means I’ll have more on-demand access to great content, I’ll eat that cost. In the back of my mind, however, I wish I still had my Blockbuster Video arrangement like I did in 2002…when my then-girlfriend worked there and I got free rentals. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: Blockbuster Video.
How I first came across this moment? I first came across Blockbuster in the early 90s. My father watched a lot of movies on VHS and he always went to Blockbuster. I always begged to come along and he finally relented, introducing me to the blue and yellow store with all of the movie boxes.
What it meant to me then? My early visits to Blockbuster were filled with excitement. If the term “kid in a candy store” applied to a video rental store, Blockbuster Video would be the example most cited. I loved the entire atmosphere…the smell of popcorn, all of the candy, the movie posters, and hundreds of movie boxes with the Blockbuster Video insignia on them. It was fantastic. Sometimes, my father would leave me in there while he went to the ABC Beverages store across the street. That was always a good time because I often roamed around looking at interesting titles…and video games. When I met Valorie Drew and found out she worked at the Blockbuster location across from Century Plaza, it was like a match made in heaven for stay-at-home date nights…pizza courtesy of my job and movies courtesy of her job. You couldn’t beat that with a stick. I rocked with Blockbuster really up until she died before I turned to Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery as my go-to spot for video rentals.
What it means to me now? All of the stores closed about 4 years ago. The blue and yellow store with all of the movie boxes is dead but its legend lives forever. I’m sure I still have my membership card—probably somewhere in my dad’s storage room under his house. There will never be another video store with such a cult following. Sure, you have GameStop today, which is kinda like a Blockbuster concept but it isn’t the same. Blockbuster Video is definitely missed but I don’t think it would survive in today’s world.