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Author Topic: The Death of the Video Rental Chain?
Muffy Tepperman
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I'm lucky and I have the coolest video rental store in my neighborhood. This is the wall outside when you enter:

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Cool huh? Where else could I rent Rad on vhs? seriously? We had a Blockbuster close by.....it closed......Hollywood Video closed last month. Now the only places I can think of are two "mom and Pop" places in a 15 mile radius....(honestly i'd rather support them anyway)

It just got me thinking about the days before Netflix......before movies were so accessible to buy. Like Veronica had noted Labyrinth used to cost $100 to buy as did lots of movies.

My best 80's memories are going to the video store to rent a VCR and spending forever going through the movies we wanted to rent. Dirty Dancing was in there every time of course!! Getting home with this huge plastic VCR box and popping popcorn (on the stove!).

Does anyone have any cool video store memories? any movies you always had to get?

Do you think that video stores will become extinct?

Who can tell me how much a VCR cost in 1986? My mom was a single mom so it wasn't a possibility to buy one......but i'm curious since I was a kid? It was all about penny candy money then....or chilly willy money!

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oneyedwilly
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Muffy this thread is AWSOME!! My thoughts and feelings and memories echoe yours for sure. When i was between 10-16 my friends and i only knew of one religion and its temple was called The Plains video Store. It was an agonising bike and skateboard ride up and down the two steepest hills near to my home. My best friend and i would head up to The plains every friday and saturday night and pick up 2 videos for AUS$2. The store was set out like that in the movie Be Kind Rewind. And yeah i always did rewind my tapes. I think i kept that place in business and my paper round money always went on late fees coz i was not to keen on riding up the hills again. Buying a litre of ice cream and creaming soda was our damage to ourselves and needed a week to recover before doing it all again.
I re-rented rad, thrashin and bloodsport(18)religiously and was always afraid of renting a movie i didnt know about incase i wasted any money.
The thrill of spending my own money, having sleep overs, spending 2 hours at times in the store, ringing and booking them and waiting for a call
together with ice cream and late nights was all part of the ritual which todays teenagers unfortunately dont get to experience. But thats just another example of our wonderful decade setting itself apart from all others...Isnt it great guys?

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Valley

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Muffy.. great thread. I do believe that the video rental store as we knew it is almost extinct. Which is kind of sad, but it has been coming for years with the emergence in movie channels, PPV, and Video On Demand.

I think it is awesome that you still have a cool establishment that offers VHS and most especially movies such as "RAD". I still rent a bit, but mainly only newer movies because there are very few that I actually want to own these days.

As a kid there was an arcade and video rental store that I rode to on my bike frequently. I spent most of my coin at the arcade, but when the tokens were dry.. I would journey next door and browse the VHS tapes. I would spent crazy amounts of time just reading the VHS boxes for later when I brought my mom back for rentals.

My new things are Amazon.com and Sell.com .. I have rediscovered sooo many movies that I hadn't watched in years and often at rather cheap prices. Unlike when I was a kid.. I have a marble bag full of gold coins now and it makes it tons of fun.

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Veronica Sawyer
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I swear not a day goes by where I don't see another Blockbuster or Hollywood Video going out of business! It's so weird because when I was in high school, working at a video store was THE job to get (except at Hollywood Video, because they made their employees wear tuxedos, lol).

Unfortunately, there are no good "mom and pop" video stores in my area anymore. When I was a kid there was a cool video store within walking distance from our house and I remember going there and renting the same VHS tapes over and over like Adventures in Babysitting and Goonies. The lady that owned it used to give my brother free movie posters when she was done using them and that was always cool! Nowadays, I use Netflix and my local library to rent movies...

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Kash
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[Cool] Brilliant thread, fess up Muffy: you painted that Eraserhead picture on the mural, didn't you?

Its kind of unbelievable that such a place exists anywhere, love the fact that the quaint video store outlasted Blockbuster, must be some die hard film buffs in your part of the woods.

quote:
I would spent crazy amounts of time just reading the VHS boxes for later when I brought my mom back for rentals.

[Big Grin] Valley, you just described a scene from my youth ver batem. The video store was a great place: the films from other countries, the posters, cover art, the commendable concept of morality put into practice by movies you daren't look at (keep your eyes front-and-centre or down, there's nothing for you on the top shelf, son). No matter how big the store it always smelt of carpet and sometimes dust.

I would always gravitate towards Ghostbusters and The Terminator, then one Summer I discovered the films of Jackie Chan and began renting those.

I think the video store has had its day, even the idea of renting has become all about companies like Lovefilm or Netflix, ones where there're no late fees or time limits. Time has become an enemy over the decades. In some ways, its great that you don't have to wait a year or more to see a movie at home but nowadays it seems people rarely set aside an evening to watch a movie or watch films together whilst the routine of: Go, choose, rent, watch, rewind and return just seems like too much of a hassle. But in its day, the video store was king.

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cindymancini
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Muffy, I love your thread here [Smile] !!! Great pic btw too [Smile] !!! Yes, the video store phenomenon is almost dead but to be honest, it has sucked for years. Once the big guys came in, the charm was lost [Frown] .

I used to go to a place called Four Star video. A little mom & pop type place. I can remember slowly going through the aisles making my way over from the comedy section to the horror section. I can recall seeing the boxes to movies like National Lampoon's Class Reunion. I probably rented it 500 times. I can still remember the way the store smelled. And there was a pizza place next door! Oh, such fond memories of stopping there before a slumber party to pick up a video or on a hot summer weekend night. Definitely, won't come away from visiting Blockbuster with those types of nostalgic thoughts [Frown] .

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aTomiK
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I have lived all my life in this small town (population 5000+)
and in the mid 80s we had 3-4 places where you could rent VHS tapes!
It seemed that almost every store had some kind of selection.

Those weren´t big places but very important to us.
I remember that we rented Assault on Precinct 13, The Octagon, Southern Comfort etc. etc.

Soon we started to tape all the movies we rented
so we could get new stuff everytime.

There was better video stores in the town near us
and we visited them quite often.

Muffy, you are so lucky that there´s still a video rental store in your neighborhood.
That would be awesome place to visit.

You can´t rent VHS tapes here in Finland anymore.
Only dvd´s and blu-ray stuff.
All tapes are sold or ,and this is really sad, destroyed.
You can find old tapes from second hand stores or e-bay like sites.

There´s still lots of collectors here like me
who think that VHS tapes still are the real thing [Cool] [Cool]

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Mike.
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I grew up in a small village in the South of England and during the 80's as a young kid and teenager i can remember the excitement of my parents getting our first VCR.
Back then the only place you could hire video tapes from was our local petrol station,but then we had a Sperrings convenience store like the 7 Elevens in the states open and that had a large section just set a side to tape rental.It seems strange reading the posts on here because there is one thing we all have in common,we can all remember the fondness we had for our local video store.I can still remember hiring Thrashin out multiple times and the disapointment i would feel if it was hired out when i got there,then you would hope it was just one of your friends that had it so you could watch it at their house.
Also the multiple visits to check out the latest releases it just felt cool with all the film posters and cardboard cut outs like you would see at the cinema.
Now after Sperrings came and went we have always had a small independant video store but about a month ago he finally closed down,just couldn't make it work anymore.I spoke to the man who ran it and he said it had been making a lose for ages but he had a core group of customers and wanted to keep them happy.It seems sad that nowdays all the little people have got forced out but guess thats just the world we live in.
One thing i do remember from back in the day is when you went to rent a film me and my mates would all decide who would hire it if we were trying to get a 15 or 18 cert film if we were not old enough,most of the time the kid behind the counter couldn't care less and would of rented it to you anyway.

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Ronnie
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Muffy, just yesterday I was visiting my parents and found a bunch of vhs tapes I had bought brand new back in the late 90s.. still sealed! Xanadu, Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken.. and so many more. I laughed because my daughter asked, "why did you buy THESE?" lol.. i explained, at the time when i bought them, vhs was still around and then shortly after that, dvds exploded so I just put them away.

When I was little, there were a ton of privately owned or small chain vid stores around. We used to go there all the time. Then in the late 80's my parents finally became hip to the Blockbuster Franchise. I remember the first time they took us in there.. there were a ton of categories to choose from! I remember seeing Private School in the 'romantic comedies' section and wanting to rent it so badly but was afraid my parents would say no haha. Remember the old cover art? [Wink] They would have definitely rejected it! USA's Up All Night eventually showed it. [Big Grin]

They would take me and my brother after school, on Fridays, but not every week. At first we were allowed 1 item a piece. I rented the movie, my bro rented the super nintendo game haha. We would watch the movie over and over for 3 days.
But I remember browsing the videos for a long time, taking forever to choose 1 movie.

I eventually ended up working at that Blockbuster in my late teens, for 4 years. And of course, it has closed now. Redbox and Netflix have taken over. My daughter logs on and watches movies and tv shows on Netflix now. But we still watch old vhs tapes on our vcr. She loves Legend of Billie Jean and Something Special.

I live near 3 Blockbusters and 2 of them have closed down, including the Hollywood Video in our neighborhood. If we had a vhs video rental store in the area, I would love to rent movies from them just to be able to go in there with my kids and let them spend forever, picking out a tape. [Smile]

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Logan 5
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So much to say... great thread!

Our local video store 'Flix' closed down about two years ago. We had been members there for 25 years, and I think the store had been there for a little longer. I had a thousand amazing adventures because of that store.

However... the store for which I'm most nostalgic was one in a nearby town. 'Vista Vision' was a store that was opposite the Supermarket in which we used to shop, my dad became friends with the owner, and he would let us take two 'old' films for every new release we rented. At Christmas the store would close down for nearly a week, and the guy said if we rented two new films we could take eight old films providing we went just before closing time. I can still remember carrying out huge stacks of videos at Christmastime. I also got some goodies out of the store like a 'Teen Wolf' t-shirt, an 'Explorers' movie magazine, and they gave me a stack of posters once; 'Return to Oz', 'No Retreat No Surrender', 'Invasion USA' and some others.

The horror section used to be completely fascinating to me - covers would lure me in and then the back of the box would ensure my mind was scarred by what I read, and yet I wanted to see the movie just to be scared.

Then again, in the beginning there were no 'sections' - only sparse shelves with about a dozen or so titles. By the mid-eighties that had changed - old titles had been reissued, straight to video companies had proliferated, and the big companies had gotten their releases smoothed out.

I think for all the wonderful advantages technology brings, something always gets lost. I've said this before, but the easier something is to get, the less people value it. The content of a movie may move people just the same, but there is no longer a context in which to place that emotion. When I was young you were either someone who sought out old movies / music, or you weren't. About 99% of people weren't. The internet has made everything so easy, that people who twenty years ago would've had ten videos and ten CD's now have ten thousand songs and hundreds of DVD's. This has convinced people they're collectors when in fact they are the same as they always were; cultural 'grazers' now given access to a much larger field in which to graze. Take the field away and they would revert back to grazing on the nearest small patch of culture. Nowadays to have a large music / movie 'collection' is meaningless.

On a separate note:

quote:
It just got me thinking about the days before Netflix......before movies were so accessible to buy. Like Veronica had noted Labyrinth used to cost $100 to buy as did lots of movies.
That's recent history. Labyrinth only cost that much during the brief period in which sellers figured out that it wasn't on DVD but people wanted the movie. Labyrinth was incredibly easy to get hold of for most of the last decade (I think it was actually released on DVD early in the 2000's).

I don't know, it just seems to me that 'Netflix' and the like have killed rarity / scarcity, and that has killed the sense of discovering something of value that had been lost. Post-internet, nothing has been 'lost', nothing can be 'discovered' and every movie / song is just a click away. That's a great thing, but something of value has definitely gone missing because of it.

But back on the subject; video stores rocked!

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Pyro
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I grew up in a small town in Southern CA. just about 45 min North of San Diego. While growing up there there was this small Mom & Pop video rental place that I frequented quite a bit. At least when I wasn't spending my $$$ in the nearby arcades. But I loved this place. My Sisters & I used to rent videos at least every other weekend from there. They even had a good selection of Nintendo/Sega games that I used to love to rent alot too. And they had a plentiful selection of old 80's cartoon series on VHS that I'd rent out often too. (Cartoons like Thundercats, Silverhawks, Inspector Gadget, Transformers...ect). Obviously I rented these cartoon cassettes because these shows are the ones that had just recently been canceled from syndication at the time. And it didn't take me long to miss them..lol. I also rented movies regularly too however. Movies like: Clash of the Titans, RAD, Innerspace, Spacecamp, Wargames...ect...were among my favs to rent out.
Just for curiosity sake, I just googled this old video store I used to go to, and I'm happy to report they are still in business=). That makes me very happy..and also is making me think about heading down there sometime just to pay it a visit sometime for nostalgia sake.

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Crash
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So I fell down the steps at a Modern English concert in Minneapolis in 1983 and just awoke from a coma. What's all this I hear about video stores dying out? The next thing you will be telling me is that drive-ins will soon be extinct.
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Logan 5
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I think they were saying drive-ins would soon be extinct back in '83. I say you're bluffing. You are 'The Heavenly Kid' and I claim my $2.
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Secret Admirer
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R.I.P. to the following:

Gold Star Video
Sight & Sound
Grand Mound Video
Thriftway Supermarket

All were awesome for letting me rent whatever I wanted (mostly The NeverEnding Story and Nintendo games) every weekend from 1984-1997. I'll never forget you.

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Crash
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quote:
Originally posted by logan5:
I think they were saying drive-ins would soon be extinct back in '83. I say you're bluffing. You are 'The Heavenly Kid' and I claim my $2.

ROFL. My secret is out. I'm really a visitor from the future to this board. :-)
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pettyfan
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I grew up (and still live) in an extremely rural place. There were no big video store chains like Blockbuster. We had two mom and pop video stores, T-Star Video and Buddy's Home Video. My mom had kinda grown up w/the lady who ran T-Star so on my birthday and stuff she would give me free movie rentals. We'd go every weekend and rent movies. I loved it! My parents were always strict about what I watched...I can remember staring longingly at all these horror movies that I knew they'd never let me see.

Our local Rite Aid used to rent videos as well. I remember when they stopped they sold all the ones they had and I got a bunch really cheap.

I miss going to the video store. [Frown]

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Bamersy
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We had the Boob Tube-(the only place to get the out of print Eraserhead) and the Video Nook-before the big chains came in. There was another small one we rented from-don't remember the name at the moment-wasn't there long.

For years my good friend and I had a standing Fri night date-rent a horror movie and get a pizza-or see a horror movie at the show. Good times [Smile]

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oneyedwilly
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I remember when my dad rented the Goonies. I was out surfing and when i came back he was at the part where Mikey was having his little speech saying goonies never say die. i asked what movie this was. There was no cover art because the tapes were put into a blank box with just the title. I had no idea what it was about and so went back out surfing coz i wanted to watch it later. How was i supposed to know it was going to be one of the most loved movies by people across the world and become the movie i have watched over a hundred times like most of you.
When the plains video store shut down i then rented from a place where you did have cover art to take home. I thought WOW thats so cool. id read and reread all my favourite titles. i remember Dad saying how many times are you going to rent Thrashin and RAD? LOL A lot!!
It really is such a big shame that somethings have to change, evolve or in this case...become obsolite. When i walk into blockbuster now, there are more dvds for sale than there are for rent. The whole process of picking up videos and watching the dirty old man pacing back and forth in front of the adult section together with deciding 'do i rent 2 new ones or get 6 older ones (which iv already seen but a safe bet) for the same price', has just become a memory for us. Its sad i think. The next best thing will be an 80s rewind fancy dress party where i can listen to all you knowledge freaks reciting lines. Wish we all knew a guy named bernie...we could make a weekend of it.

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Dexter Motley Morgan
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The local mom and pop store I used to rent from went belly up about 3 months ago. One of my good friends' dads owned it and it had 2 pool tables in the back. I remember the good old days of being a 16 year old going in there to shoot pool and smoking cigarettes lol. Blockbuster here closed as well as a Movie Gallery. It's hard to compete with the likes of Netflix and Redbox and the internet. I read recently where Redbox was going to start renting Blu-rays for $1.50 a night here.
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JCWBobC
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I spent 14 years working in video stores starting after I graduated in 1986. I remember I was working in the local supermarket and across the mall was an empty store with movie posters in the window. I would walk over every day hoping to see someone inside so I could apply for a job. They finally opened up right before Christmas but it was a family business and they weren't hiring anyone at the time.

Every day after work I would go in to rent a movie and talk to the guys so that they would get to know me in case they decided to hire extra help. One day I got a call from one of the brothers asking if I wanted to help out around the store for free rentals. I practically flew down there, I lived right down the street, so i could get started. I would rent a movie after I left the supermarket job, go home to copy it, and then walk back down to rent another. I worked there for 4 years and it was the best time of my life. After 2 years of working both jobs I quit the supermarket and became manager of the video store.

I worked 7 days a week with the owner's son, who was younger than me, and we would play Nintendo for hours while the tapes piled up. Then we would have a contest to see who could carry the most boxes back to the shelves. Girls would come in and hang out with us because we were the cool older guys. Tara Reid live close by so she would come in and talk to us, this is when she was little so we didn't really pay attention to her but then she showed up one day telling us she was in a movie. We didn't believe her until we put in Return to Salem's Lot and there she was.

It really was the coolest job because we got to sit around and talk about movies all day with people we didn't even know but they considered you to be a close friend. I remember one year I got around $500 at Christmas time from my customers.

I stayed in the video rental business and then went to video sales but eventually I went right back to video rental because I liked getting to know the people. I had customers that would come in and talk for literally hours about movies. How many other jobs does that happen in?

At some point I realized that even though I loved working in the video store I had to look for a job that was more of a career so I went into customer service. I still miss those days but seeing how all the stores are going out of business it looks like I got out at the right time.

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amaranth
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I remember when my corner shop used to rent vhs it was great then their was the videoman who came round in a wee van every week and his videos were cheap like a pound for a week. Now thats all gone we used to have video shops on every corner here from the extinct Global video to Video drive-in i think there is two dvd shops still here but i havent used one for years. There was a dvd machine in my local shop for a while you picked a dvd from the touch screen then popped in your visa card it didnt last very long though shame! i think its cos people have sky and cable and you dont have to wait long now for them to be on the tv.
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Nostalgic for the '80's
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Interesting thread. I have not-so-fond memories of renting VHS tapes from video stores like Blockbuster in the '80's & '90's, and DVD's from there in the 200X's.

Thankfully, I don't think I've walked into a video rental store since around 2010. The Blockbusters & Hollywood Videos near me closed around that time.

I will say that I strongly prefer streaming to renting videos from stores. The DVD's I used to rent from Blockbuster were scratched & unwatchable half the time, and when I complained the staff there had an attitude about it. Also, I hated those stupid Blockbuster late fees - you always had to rush back to the store to return DVD's/VHS tapes by a certain time or you would get charged. Towards the end, Blockbuster changed this - but you would still end up getting charged for something else if you returned the video late.

Plus, at least once my local store told me I hadn't returned something, when I knew I had. Idiots.

Obviously, I don't miss these video rental stores [Wink]

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