The End of an Era

Well, it has been a long time coming, but the local Hollywood Video has finally gone out of business. The long-bankrupt Hollywood Video chain has been struggling for years in an effort to keep afloat, while stores across the country close due to their inability to meet basic operational costs. Mine isn’t the first. It certainly won’t be the last.

Like so many fields, it is the sign of a changing of the guard. Blockbuster, Hollywood, and their fellow video rental stores were once powerhouses. Everyone went to them, got what they needed, and enjoyed them for a week or two. It was great for a casual night or a long weekend. Nowadays, however, these companies have found themselves assailed by and unable to keep up with the rapid intrusion of the internet into their field.

Groups like Netflix have absolutely obliterated the competition. Some stores have begun setting up $1 rental machines in an effort to compete—but how do static stores fight off a company that allows full access to hundreds of movies for a low monthly (not per-rental) cost?  How do they beat a company that will literally deliver what you want right to your door? They could have gotten into the game themselves, of course, but they moved to slow to do so.

As for my local Hollywood store, it was a sad scene. Little signs on everything announced “CLOSING SALE—EVERYTHING MUST GO!” And they mean it. They’re selling everything that isn’t nailed down—and some of those things, too. Everything from the shelves to the chords to the TVs on the walls are being sold at massive discount. Hundreds of DVDs, Blue-rays, and Video Games are up for 40-50% off, with additional deals when you buy-in-bulk—which people were. The place was swarming with more people than I’ve ever seen there, and many were walking with arm loads of videos. Others were on their cell phones, urging friends and family to hastily assist in the stripping of the store.

I can’t say I felt particularly bad, though. I joined right in the looting. Twelve DVDs for a grand total of $50, with many of those brand new releases. I made out like a bloody bandit.

But as I drove back home, I passed the local Blockbuster as well, and I couldn’t help but wonder: will they soon be closing doors as well? Will another raid open itself up to me? Only time will tell. But one thing’s for certain: The Times are Changing, and nothing old is safe.

~ by Chris G. on March 6, 2010.

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