Friday, November 8, 2013

The End.


Every time Blockbuster has undergone a downgrade in its fortunes/business model, I have written something about it on The Audient.

Might as well continue the tradition now that the news has broken: Blockbuster is closing all its remaining retail stores in the U.S.

Disc-by-mail? That's going bye bye too.

Only their most recent venture, a streaming-only service, will stay intact.

And the retail outlets that still exist in other countries are threatened as well.

It's another one of those bittersweet moments. I don't live in the U.S. anymore, and Australia is one of the countries that still has stores, if blockbuster.com.au is to be believed. Without calling the numbers listed there, however, I can't be sure that I'm not just looking at the ghost of a website that was never taken down.

Still, it's really "The End," isn't it? My subject isn't overstating things, is it?

I've given previous posts about the demise of Blockbuster the following titles: "Last call," "End of the road" and "To end at the beginning." However, now it's finally time to go all the way.

Or, I could wait until January of 2014, when the last U.S. retail store is set to shutter. Heck, I'll probably write something then, too. Maybe I will write it in all caps: "THE END." Or the French "Fin."

This inevitable death throe is as much a commentary on the state of physical media as on Blockbuster itself, and it comes along at a funny time for me personally -- a time when I have relied on physical media more than ever. Australia doesn't have Netflix yet -- though it may be coming soon. Although we still have our streaming service and access it through a site that unblocks the URL, we can't watch it with ease through our BluRay player like we used to do. We have to hook up the computer itself, and that makes it difficult to pause, etc.

So I've been getting physical DVDs like crazy. From the library. From kiosks. And yes indeed, from a good old brick-and-mortar video store, Video Ezy in nearby Flemington.

Physical media is alive and well in Australia.

I take comfort that until Netflix or some other streaming service takes control in Australia, I can still visit an actual brick-and-mortar Blockbuster, as long as I'm willing to go to Brunswick or Port Melbourne or Yarraville or North Essendon. It's really not having a car that's preventing me from getting to those places more than anything else.

They'll be gone too, someday not too long for now, at which point I'll need to find a uniquely Australian way of saying "The End" once again. 

4 comments:

Don Handsome said...

While I lament the loss of physical media and the loss of actual video storefronts, I will never shed a tear for Blockbuster. Towards them, in particular, I am hard nosed and callous. They were terrible and I'm glad they are gone/going. Their inflated prices, under-prepared staff, and conspicuously lacking collection didn't do the pro-terrestrial store crowd any favors. Good riddance. Now lets focus our energies on saving the good stores that are still struggling to have a soul in the face of Streamopolis.

Vancetastic said...

All good points. I had an atypically positive experience with them because of their disc-through-the-mail service, which had all these loopholes you could take advantage of that could lead you to having as many as six discs at home at once, for the price of three. Their customer service was always very responsive to me as well. However, you'll note that this has nothing to do with the in-store experience, per se. So your attitude toward them is probably the correct one. I've never been one to shy away from admitting I had a positive experience with a big corporate beast when that is indeed the case. Gotta tell it like it is.

Ann Joy said...

Don't panic, I'm sure we will still have some of these stores around. Maybe they will have friendlier prices or terms than those everyone hates while still mourning the decease of the giant.

Monty Burns said...

The one right by my house might end up as the very last one. They have commenced the 'liquidation sale' ($10 for a scratched spongebob dvd that I can get new at target for 5 bucks?) As other stores shut down, they will send their stock to my local one, and the selloff will continue into January, apparently. It was nice to have a physical store a block away, a good activity to take a walk over with the kids and let them pick something out. Too bad.