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An Ode to Blockbuster and Other [Video Rental Stores]

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  • Jubal77Jubal77 regular Registered User regular
    I was pretty young and havent seen it since. But Laserdisc was the big dvd right? I was mentioning Video Disc. Those plastic encased records that you had to turn over while watching a move. The lesser format of the two :)

  • The EnderThe Ender regular Registered User regular
    Jubal77 wrote: »
    I was pretty young and havent seen it since. But Laserdisc was the big dvd right? I was mentioning Video Disc. Those plastic encased records that you had to turn over while watching a move. The lesser format of the two :)

    Laserdisc still had the same limitation; data was stored on both sides / read by both sides, so you had to flip the damn thing over, and keeping it scratch free would've been a real hassle.

    With Love and Courage
  • UltimanecatUltimanecat regular Registered User regular
    I actually still owe Blockbuster like $9 or something, because I was indeed serious about not coming back. The one near me in college was chintzy as hell and refused to take part in Blockbuster's "no more late fees" campaign, and I didn't realize until I brought two games back late. The first time I wrote them off, I got something in the mail a few months later saying that they were waiving my late fees so please come back.

    Like a year later I had late fees again, and just avoided the place. This time they sent a bill, which I promptly ignored.

    I think they might have sent one more bill, but things were starting to go downhill for them not soon after, and I moved away, and I never heard from them again.

    If only they had those late fees...

    SteamID : same as my PA forum name
    Geth
  • The EnderThe Ender regular Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    SammyF wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I think everybody can agree that LaserDisc was the most ridiculous of the formats.

    As the format itself goes, okay, sure. But my God. LaserDisc. The name is evocative of everything the future was supposed to offer us. Lasers! Discs! It was like living in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    Very much like living in 2001: A Space Odyssey when you consider that people still used something like a phone booth to talk to their families while they were waiting for their flight at the space port. Stanley Kubrick thought we'd be taking shuttles to the moon by now, and he also thought in this same bright future, we wouldn't be able to imagine a way to do peer to peer video telecom without a kiosk the size of a blackboard. Wrong again, Kubrick! Wrong again.




    EDIT: Magnavision: A Whole New Dimension in Entertainment!

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
    wandering
  • mcdermottmcdermott regular Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I think everybody can agree that LaserDisc was the most ridiculous of the formats.

    I have to say, a Laserdisc in person is quite the thing to behold, and I have to give a world of credit to anyone that can manage to keep one in shape. Scratches over that surface must be a nightmare.

    I also liked the Laserdisc cover for Ghostbusters.

    EDIT: For anyone who doesn't know, a Laserdisc actually stores data on both of it's sides - there isn't a 'cover' side like on a modern optical disk. Most films would be split 50/50 between the two sides, so halfway through the movie you'd have to flip over the disk (unless you had a more expensive player that could read from either side; then you'd just tell the machine to play side 2 or whatever).

    Same went for early DVDs of any film longer than like two hours. I still have my double-sided edition of Goodfellas because fuck you if you think I'm buying it again. Then they went dual-layer, and that shit ended, except for some TV shows that insist that its totally worth making DVDs impossible to take care of in order to fit a season on half the number of discs.

    Oh, and while we're in nostalgia land, the early DVDs that had both the widescreen and "full screen" version, one on each side? Yup, you just chose the side you never wanted to watch, and that's the one you let get scratched to shit.

    And working in a video store those were like twice the nightmare. Because those were hard to take care of when they were your own discs, and you gave two shits.

  • mcdermottmcdermott regular Registered User regular
    I actually still owe Blockbuster like $9 or something, because I was indeed serious about not coming back. The one near me in college was chintzy as hell and refused to take part in Blockbuster's "no more late fees" campaign, and I didn't realize until I brought two games back late. The first time I wrote them off, I got something in the mail a few months later saying that they were waiving my late fees so please come back.

    Like a year later I had late fees again, and just avoided the place. This time they sent a bill, which I promptly ignored.

    I think they might have sent one more bill, but things were starting to go downhill for them not soon after, and I moved away, and I never heard from them again.

    If only they had those late fees...

    IT WAS ALL YOUR FAULT

    Quid
  • Jubal77Jubal77 regular Registered User regular
    LOL. I still have a couple Blockbuster cases in my collection that are not purchased from them but rather unreturned as well. I went back and they didnt try to charge me anything for that last year they were hanging on.

  • Jubal77Jubal77 regular Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    And in case anyone was wondering I was talking about the:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitance_Electronic_Disc

    RCA SelectaView Video Disc Player that we had back in the day :)

    Jubal77 on
  • mcdermottmcdermott regular Registered User regular
    Oh holy shit those are cool.

    SammyF
  • The EnderThe Ender regular Registered User regular
    Anyone else remember the slowly escalating policies that video stores would use to deter thieves?

    All of the stores I knew started-off by just putting big black plastic proprietary locks on the video cases. This didn't deter people from shoplifting the expensive stuff out of the store anyway (and presumably just breaking the case later), so then they began putting magnetic alarm triggers on the cases and installing the door gates. So, thieves would either just run out the door, alarm be damned, or break open the case in the porn room.

    Phase 2, of course, was to start putting high risk items behind the counter. But, at first, thieves didn't realize that the boxes on the floor were empty, and the stores didn't bother to change the cases - so you had empty boxes with locks & magnetic triggers being run out of the door.

    I'm not sure if the video stores found this as funny as I did.

    With Love and Courage
    Edith Upwards
  • SammyFSammyF regular Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Oh holy shit those are cool.

    I can't believe this didn't exist long enough for disk jockeys to get a few solid years out of scratching one of these disks at a rave. It's like learning that a library burned down: Western culture lost something.

    mcdermottEdith Upwards
  • wanderingwandering regular Registered User regular
    One video rental place I went to posted a notice listing the names of people who owed them money/movies

    atcwebmqawjl.png
  • Caveman PawsCaveman Paws regular Registered User regular
    wandering wrote: »
    One video rental place I went to posted a notice listing the names of people who owed them money/movies

    I think my favorite nes rental movie place did that.
    Or I'm confusing my life with that Seinfeld episode.

    The Adults Only back room, I never went back there. Even when I was old enough.

    ...what did they keep in their?!

  • T-boltT-bolt regular Registered User regular
    Jubal77 wrote: »
    And in case anyone was wondering I was talking about the:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitance_Electronic_Disc

    RCA SelectaView Video Disc Player that we had back in the day :)
    My uncle had one. Pretty expensive, and in 1980's dollars too. I'm pretty sure I first watched Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back on it.

  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman regular Registered User regular
    Say what you want about the movie rental segment of Blockbuster. With the growing popularity of on-demand, Netflix, and the ilk, it was clear that part was waning. Shit, even simple piracy was having a profound effect with how simple the process has become.

    But the video game rental segment... that still has/had fucking relevance. That's the part I'll truly lament and miss.

    "The sausage of Green Earth explodes with flavor like the cannon of culinary delight."
    PSN: TheWolfman64 3DS/Pokemon Y: 0774-4614-4065/NNID: the_wolfman64
  • wanderingwandering regular Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    I looked up the cool video rental+record store where I used to live and was pretty bummed to find out that it's been closed for a couple years.

    But! Like 40 minutes from here there's a neato hipster cavernous dimly-lit video rental place/coffee shop with a good and eclectic movie selection and staff that seemed friendly and movie-knowledgeable. It's still open last I checked. Too far away though!

    wandering on
    atcwebmqawjl.png
  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward regular Registered User regular
    wandering wrote: »
    As a kid I liked looking at the covers in the horror section even though I was too scared to rent any of the titles

    5BIQG6q.jpg WTzqwnR.jpg 5YKC9BN.jpg
    71kqjuo.jpg Ka5jNhv.jpg RSxNNsq.jpg j1tbDEC.jpg?1

    I know so many movies and games strictly through their covers.

    Did anyone else go to one of the video stores that used little tags on the shelves under th movie or game that you had to take up to the front desk? So rewarding.

    Or did anyone else hide the game or movie they wanted to get next time or come back for later behind the wrong case?

    steam_sig.png
  • HappylilElfHappylilElf regular Registered User regular
    We had someone try and just straight up jack a 360 the week of release, like the dude just walked in, snagged it off the shelf and headed for the door.

    So I watch him do this while my coworker is busy flirting with a friend who'd come in. I let him get to the exit before I tapped my coworker, a guy in freakishly good shape, on the shoulder and asked "So you're just going to let that happen?"

    Coworker runs the kid down and rips the case away from him then proceeds to shame this poor scrawny highschool kid and his three friends into apologizing profusely in the middle of a fairly busy stripmall parking lot

    By the time they left I think every customer in the store was watching them get scolded and I think we all had the exact same bemused smirk on our faces.

    Four very humiliated teenagers ended up leaving that day and I'm fairly sure they never came back to our store.

  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward regular Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    Here's the thing: you can't name one thing about VHS that is superior to DVD, BlueRay or even artifacted HD YouTube footage. This isn't like records vs CDs, where one has a very distinct sound that, while not 'superior', some people find more enjoyable - VHS is just a grainier, dirtier experience

    Two words:

    Movie. Marathons.

    I'm sorry, but cassettes (be it VHS, Beta or any other more obscure format) are the 'Ironman Mode' of movie marathons. There's none of this 'Skip Scene' bullshit; you've got to watch the whole movie - even if you fast forward through some of it, the visuals are still there, and it still takes time. If it ain't a cassette set, it ain't a real marathon.

    There you go. One thing VHS has that DVD doesn't.

    Yes, I am positing a convenience feature as a drawback. No, of course my rose tinted glasses aren't becoming more and more opaque as this discussion continues; that's just your imagination!

    Which DVDs have ruined, by the way!

    I found myself out in the wilds of PA a while back without internet or cable television.

    let me tell you. when i stumbled onto a VHS of Home Alone and a working VCR in the living room I was in a new kind of heaven. There's something about how the VHS format demands your attention. Sure it's not crystal clear but ain't there some charm in that?

    steam_sig.png
  • wanderingwandering regular Registered User regular
    I saw Snow White: A Tale of Terror was on Netflix and I watched like two thirds of it. At last my childhood curiosity is sated. It's not exactly an artistic masterpiece.

    atcwebmqawjl.png
  • HappylilElfHappylilElf regular Registered User regular
    Oh and if you lack the willpower to not skip scenes during a movie marathon?

    You probably don't deserve legit movie marathons, scrub

  • wanderingwandering regular Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    You know what obscure movie was way more entertaining than I was expecting? Troll. An exceptionally weird kid's movie/pseudo-horror movie with good puppet work and one random musical number.

    I didn't know anything about it before I started watching, except that I heard it didn't have anything to do with Troll 2. I saw it because I bought Troll 2 and Troll came packaged with it.

    wandering on
    atcwebmqawjl.png
  • wanderingwandering regular Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    There is something really great about going into a movie totally blind: nobody's recommended it to you, you haven't read any reviews, you don't know what star rating Netflix algorithms predict you'll give it. All you know is what's on the cover or the poster. It's a bit harder to do that sans video rental store.

    wandering on
    atcwebmqawjl.png
  • The EnderThe Ender regular Registered User regular
    Or did anyone else hide the game or movie they wanted to get next time or come back for later behind the wrong case?

    Oh, come on now:

    Absolutely everyone did this.

    With Love and Courage
    DasUberEdwardEdith Upwards
  • mcdermottmcdermott regular Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    Or did anyone else hide the game or movie they wanted to get next time or come back for later behind the wrong case?

    Oh, come on now:

    Absolutely everyone did this.

    YOU ANIMALS

    DasUberEdwardmageormike
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    My memory of VHS is the often obscure trailers for Australian movies, as the main NZ distributor seemed to purchase all foreign tapes from there. So I have a collection of fragmentary memories of these films which will never be watched

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • mcdermottmcdermott regular Registered User regular
    Seriously, I could tell you stories about how big a pain in the ass it is to find an item that's in the wrong spot. Like, when your one copy of something isn't where it's supposed to be, but isn't checked out, which means it could be anywhere in the store. Behind any box. In any section.

  • wanderingwandering regular Registered User regular
    I know so many movies and games strictly through their covers.
    As a kid, there was one video store cover that drew my eye more than any other

    yX36cy5.png

    atcwebmqawjl.png
    y2jake215Pi-r8Muse Among MenEdith Upwards
  • The EnderThe Ender regular Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Seriously, I could tell you stories about how big a pain in the ass it is to find an item that's in the wrong spot. Like, when your one copy of something isn't where it's supposed to be, but isn't checked out, which means it could be anywhere in the store. Behind any box. In any section.

    I had a fail-safe system; I'd always hide the rental I wanted behind a specific western movie I always recognized the cheezy cover of (couldn't tell you the name now, though). I knew nobody would ever move that movie, and nobody would ever go looking in that section for my craftily 'reserved' rental.

    With Love and Courage
  • RT800RT800 regular Registered User regular
    I remember whenever I came across a movie that was in the wrong spot, I would just move it to a different wrong spot.

  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward regular Registered User regular
    RT800 wrote: »
    I remember whenever I came across a movie that was in the wrong spot, I would just move it to a different wrong spot.

    Hahaha. I did this too.

    From time to time I would just put them in the correct spot.

    The real kicker is when you finally saw that thing you've been waiting to get it and. . .hey. .wait a minute this is Ferngully 2!

    steam_sig.png
  • CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    You know I'm amazed rental stores weren't killed stone dead the second DVDs replaced VHS. The goddamn things are so fragile that renting them out to the general public and expecting them to last longer than three days is a joke.

    I'm surprised they didn't just have all the movies on an HDD in store and burn them to a new disc every two or three rentals. Well no I'm not really because obviously the cost of all the blank discs would have made it impossible to make a profit on renting them out for a couple of bucks.

    But yeah, blockbuster were a stagnant and obsolete business. The writing was on the wall for them as soon as the streaming services took off, that and bargain basement supermarket DVDs going for a couple of quid a pop.

    They could possibly have saved themselves if they had been much quicker about getting their own online services going but they seemed to just freeze in the competitions headlights and got hit by the oncoming truck. It's a shame, especially for the people losing their jobs but that's what happens to businesses that refuse to evolve with the times. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the future was streaming.

    i write amazing erotic fiction

    its all about anthropomorphic dicks doing everyday things like buying shoes for their scrotum-feet
    Winky wrote: »
    Corgis are totally the white people of dogs
  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward regular Registered User regular
    I think the thing with DVDs is that when they rolled around a lot of the major places like Blockbuster still had some pretty strict renting properties. Like your CC# and information would be on file and they threatened to charge you for any damage incurred.

    That right there was enough for most people to take care with the product.

    steam_sig.png
  • CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    I think the thing with DVDs is that when they rolled around a lot of the major places like Blockbuster still had some pretty strict renting properties. Like your CC# and information would be on file and they threatened to charge you for any damage incurred.

    That right there was enough for most people to take care with the product.

    It didn't really work. Whenever I rented DVDs you could always rely on at least a couple being damaged. It's what put me off it in the end.

    i write amazing erotic fiction

    its all about anthropomorphic dicks doing everyday things like buying shoes for their scrotum-feet
    Winky wrote: »
    Corgis are totally the white people of dogs
  • MattitudeMattitude Paste Pot Pete Kicking The BucketRegistered User regular
    I worked at a Blockbuster here in the UK for a couple of years. Even back then (I left about 4 years ago), it was not going well. The US company tanked around the time I left. It did strike me at the time how difficult it must have been to make any profit on rentals: the discs cost about £50 each, as we had to pay for a rental license, and if it wasn't made back in the first two weeks or so, chances are we'd lose money on that disc. Hence why staff weren't allowed to use their free rentals on New Releases.

    Damn I loved that job though. Spent 90% of my time on the games desk. Good times.

    I got this Tumblr and I don't know how to use it.
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  • Kipling217Kipling217 regular Registered User regular
    I remember VHS well, fuck did I waste money on that shit. I used to buy VHS tapes for around 25$ a pop. I had a gigantic collection of star trek DS9, 4 seasons worth. They only had two episodes per cassette and 13 cassettes per season. Do the math. I just did. 1300 dollars for the whole shebang. For cassettes that degraded after 3-4 years of just sitting around.

    I am going to go into a corner and cry now, because this thread is depressing. Man, was I young and dumb.

    Communicating from the last of the Babylon Stations.
  • RonaldoTheGypsyRonaldoTheGypsy Or just "Ron" Registered User regular
    I used to go to Super K Mart and rent SNES games. In the N64 era ( and PS1 ) I believe I moved on to Hollywood Video because the Super K like imploded or something. I mostly rented games, but I think I have a blockbuster card from when I was dating and we would just stop in and grab a movie, take it back to her/my place and then watch it. Granted, as teenagers, you generally only watch the first 20-30 minutes 85% of the time when you are watching a movie together, it was still a semi-nice function.

    I don't particularly miss the function, though. It was just a part of my childhood, one of a million things that changes as time goes on. That's life.

  • RiusRius regular Registered User regular
    Jubal77 wrote: »
    And in case anyone was wondering I was talking about the:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitance_Electronic_Disc

    RCA SelectaView Video Disc Player that we had back in the day :)

    Video? On a record, with a stylus to read it? That's actually pretty sweet.

    The picture posted earlier of a Laserdisc player really doesn't represent the sheer size of a Laserdisc. This is what I'm talking about;

    MgsM75C.jpg

    As a... 12 or 13 year old? I'd never heard of these things before I visited my older brother at his new apartment. Not only did he have one of these ridiculous things, he also had Terminator 2 on Laserdisc, which I'd never seen or even heard of before. And a bigass Dolby surround sound setup. That was one hell of a visit, I tell you what. I still love the shit out of that movie.

    Back to the topic of VHS, my parents still have three double-door'd cabinets of VHS tapes in the guest room off the frontroom (aka living room, for you non-Chicago folks.) My dad is an electrician who did a lot of second shift work at a fancy hotel downtown, and said hotel had pay-per-view of course. So he'd go to the video room with some fresh blank tapes and just tape movies for free, all night, filling our collection. This is how I was exposed to things like the entire Back to the Future trilogy on one tape (woo 6 hour capacity), the Beverly Hills Cop trilogy, Naked Gun, National Lampoon (Christmas Vacation!)... pretty much every amazing movie of the 80s and early 90s. That whole VHS experience, now that I think about it, had a profound impact on me and really defined the sort of humor I like today.

    If this thread morphs into an [Obsolete Technology] thread, I'd be happy to talk about Minidisc players =)

  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    RT800 wrote: »
    I always figured working at a video store would be pretty easy. A lot better than working at, say, McDonalds or Wal-Mart anyway. Easy-to-move, homogeneous stock, lots of down-time to enjoy not being hassled by the stupid freaking customers on the not-weekends, and free rentals. Also one of the video stores I used to frequent always had a movie playing on their display TVs and I figured it was nice that the employees at least had somethin' to watch when things got boring.

    I never did work at one though, so maybe it still sucked.

    I worked at Movie Gallery in their waning days of their shit. They stiffed me on pay, demanded off the clock work, etc. It was a horrible, horrible job. When no customers were in the store you have to clean, always be cleaning, even if its clean. You cannot sit down, even if there's no one in sight. You cannot lean on the counter. You must stand for your entire shift and don't even think about breaks


    yeah working at a video store can go fuck itself

  • visiblehowlvisiblehowl He/Him Neutron Nerd Registered User regular
    Best part about movie rental stores was the discount video table.

    I still have a box full of softcore porn VHS tapes I bought for 2-3 bucks a pop when I was like 14. Trying to find the ones with the most innocuous-sounding titles so I didn't get "carded" or whatever at the register. Sneaking them into the apartment tucked into the front waistline of my pants, sucking my stomach in so my mom didn't notice anything unusual.

    I thought I was so fucking clever, but looking back I'm pretty sure that everybody (even my mother) knew what was up.

    vxsHp3F.gif
    I die evry tiem in Sekiro on Twitch
    mcdermott
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