Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blockbuster goes literary

I just swung by my local Blockbuster to pick up a video at lunch, and came across a strange sight near the beginning of the new releases:

Books.

That's right, this Blockbuster video store had about a dozen best-selling hardcover novels for sale. (I assume they're for sale -- renting them would probably not be a great option).

And they weren't the novelizations of popular movies either. Just regular old best sellers, or what I can only assume are best sellers, without having a) walked close enough to see what titles they were, or b) any knowledge whatsoever of what is currently on the best seller list.

"Books," I said to the clerk, with a whimsy in my voice. "That's a new one."

I thought my little comment would prompt an explanation. But there are two types of video store clerk -- the chipper kind who will volunteer oodles of information, such as how much they like the video you're renting and any deals they're currently having, and the kind that just collects a paycheck. This was the paycheck guy.

He kind of shrugged and half-smiled.

I thought I'd find an explanation for this little business endeavor back at the office, but even googling with all the relevant search terms I could think of produced no useful results.

It's not that books and movies aren't complimentary forms of entertainment, in a way. After all, a good percentage of the movies you see originated as books, and, as I mentioned earlier, a number of the rest of them become books after the fact to reap a few more bucks.

But I do think that reading, in itself, is a strange thing to endorse at the video store. People come there specifically looking for an alternative to reading.

Maybe when I return my video, I'll find the chipper clerk, and she'll give me the skinny on why they're doing it ... and if they're moving any product.

2 comments:

Don Handsome said...

wait...are there really "chipper" clerks at Blockbuster? I've never had one of those. I’ve always encountered the most bored and lifeless paycheck zombies without any knowledge of the product they are vending…to the extent that I figured "liking movies" isn't even a requirement for (or maybe even a barrier against) employment at Blockbuster.

In that vein, I would guess that selling books at a movie store is just another method devised by the Blockbuster folks to show that they couldn’t care less about film.

Vancetastic said...

Yesterday, I was actually at a different Blockbuster (I alternate between three depending on where I am at the time), and got a different not-very-chipper clerk. He wasn't a whole lot more forthcoming than the first one, but I did ask him if they were selling any books. He shook his head -- I think it was quite possible they had actually sold zero. I expect this experiment to end quickly and quietly.