Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Internet Killed the Video Store...

In my mind and in my car, we can't rewind we've gone too far. Oh-ah-oh-oh-a-oh...and so on.

So, I'm in my 2nd full day of unemployment, which sucks. For those of you who don't know, which, since no one reads this blog o' mine anyway, is no one, since I know, so...So, this is for the parts of me that don't know, like my spleen, who very likely does not know, since he's a bit of a layabout and doesn't really contribute anything worthwhile to the conversation. Yeah, you heard me, Frank. (My spleen's name is Frank. My gallbladder is named Jeff, by the way, and my liver is John Wayne, because he's a fuckin' hoss, that's why.) Anyway, up 'til this past Monday, I ran a video store for a national chain that, while it shall remain nameless, is probably easy enough to guess, since it's the one going out of business; Though the other guys are probably not far behind...

The video store is a thing of the past, as many have said, and we have the internet to blame. Web-based rental programs, digital delivery, on-demand programming, etc. I oughta be pissed, but I'm not. Looking for a new job sucks, and it's something I haven't had to do in years. And the current unemployment rate makes the market unkind to everyone and especially unkind to the disabled (even the ones who can kick your ass. Bring it on, man, I'll cut you! I swear to god, I'll cut you!), but the writing was on the wall long before the wall got knocked down. And the writing said "Boobs," but that's because I was the one who wrote it there.

It's evolution of the marketplace, pure and simple. Can't get mad about progress, man, otherwise you're grandpa bitching about kids on his lawn and their damned music. And if Back to the Future has taught us anything, it's that you can't be your own grandpa. And that we don't need roads. And that the Cubs will one day win the World Series. And that Marty, you gotta come back with me! Man, that was an educational piece of cinema right there.

My point, insofar as I have a point, is that this sort of thing has always happened. New technology, new methods of delivery, new means of production, or whatever, have always come along and put their predecessors out to pasture. The automobile put the horse and carriage people out of business. The gun relegated the sword people to traditionalists and hobbyists. The wheel put the Drag Heavy Shit Really Far people down. And the fire guys moved the Eat Our Food Raw and Freeze to Death Consortium out of the way. It happens. 

Convenience is a big motivating factor in what products and services succeed these days. Netflix and On-Demand have that in spades: Push a button on the TV remote, and bam, you got your Avatar or Sherlock Holmes in no time. Stop watching porn for a minute and move that arrow to the other open tab in your web browser and click a button and bam, the entire third season of Full House is on its way to your door. Why you were watching porn and then immediately decided you needed the entire third season of Full House is between you and God, but yes, you should be ashamed.

Redbox is a little less convenient, but they were smart about it: Eliminate the overhead (they just have a minimal stock and repair staff for any given area), and stick these damn things where people are going anyway. They're mainly outside grocery stores, convenience stores, and McDonald's. And if I know the American populace, on any given day, they're either going to need to buy gas, groceries, or a Quarter fucking Pounder with goddamn Cheese. (sorry, I felt that my usual obscenity requirements were lacking with this post. Had to level it out before I started punching pictures of unicorns.) Smart. I'm not a big fan of Redbox personally, since I'm an indie movie nerd, but they did it smart, and good for them. And good for the VOD folks and the gang over at Netflix, who I will be signing up with very soon. You can't beat their selection, I have to admit. Any place you can rent Casablanca, Lucio Fulci's Zombi, and episodes of Fawlty Towers in one place is pretty damned impressive.

I've been hearing a lot about digital delivery replacing physical discs entirely lately, too. It may be the way of the future, but I don't see packaged media disappearing any time soon, honestly. It's for the same reason that book stores are still around in an increasingly paperless world. There are too many old school geeks out there, like me, who love to brag about the size of their dicks collections. There's something satisfying about having a big ol' floor to ceiling bookcase full of the literary classics. So, too, is there something satisfying about having one full of DVDs or shiny new blu-rays (Those little blue cases are so goddamn cute, I could stab the pope!) 

Maybe the reason is some form of penis envy, but I'm not that Freudian. I like to be able to see and touch and feel and taste what I spend my money on; be it a book, movie, barely legal Asian prostitute, or 2 and a half keys of the finest Bolivian marching powder on God's green earth. (I can't feel my teeth, but I can see through time. It does not end well for any of you, by the way.) I'm not old-fashioned in many things, but with a physical manifestation of the financial transaction in front of me, I feel like I maybe got a little closer to my money's worth. And if not, at least I can make a kick ass bunch of tiny frisbees.

Plus, no one pays for downloads, dude. What is this, 1995? (If you laughed along with that, then you are also the reason I am unemployed, and should immediately send me 10 dollars).

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