Blockbuster has been on my “companies I hate” list for some time now because of a screw-up on their part some years ago where they all but labeled me a thief for supposedly not returning a game. Thus, the news of their slow death (mainly at the hands of Netflix) has filled me with glee. I am only disappointed that they didn’t buy Circuit City before they imploded; two crappy companies could have been taken off the map at once. I’ve been noticing signs that The End Is Near for both Blockbuster and Hollywood Video for some time, as various locations in the neighborhood have been closing.
In terms of value, Netflix kicks Blockbuster to the curb: For $10 a month, I get a movie a week from Netflix in the mail AND an all-you-can-watch buffet from their Instant Watch service…or I can rent two first-run movies at Blockbuster for two nights.
The impending demise of Blockbuster and its ilk was made much more apparent to me when I took a trip to one yesterday. In the past, the lines at Blockbuster on a Saturday evening are as long and as slow as the ones at the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Yesterday was different; there were just over half-a-dozen cars in the parking lot, and just as many people inside. Instead of the hustle and bustle of familes, couples, and kids sorting through the movies, and debating the merits of Shrek 3 versus Finding Nemo, all was quiet save for the rustling of the employees and my size 14s tromping throughout the store. The line was nonexistent as I went to the counter to pay for my movies and get my foot-and-a-half-long receipt.
As I walked out, I thought about the company I used to work for. I thought about the movie “Other People’s Money” and the speech given by Danny DeVito’s character:
“We’re dead alright, we’re just not broke…and do you know the surest way to go broke? Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes. Slow but sure…”
I’d like to say its been nice knowing you, but don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you, Blockbuster.