I went to pick up some dinner the other night at a restaurant next door to our local Blockbuster. I was taken aback to see the “Store Closing” and “Last 3 Days” signs in the windows of the video store. I knew many of the stores were being closed in light of the video giant’s bankruptcy, but never heard the Chili location was one of them.
This was the end of an era for our family. We had visited that location dozens of times over the years. Before we had children, my husband and I would rent movies there frequently. When the kids were small we didn’t have much time for movies but occasionally we’d treat ourselves to a movie for the family to watch.
My son got his first new video game system, a Nintendo GameBoy and we visited Blockbuster so he could try out games. Eventually he got an Xbox which required numerous trips to Blockbuster to try out the latest game. Since my son only played the games for 1-2 days, we could rent them for one night and save significant dollars over buying the games hot off the press.
About 4 years ago, Family Video entered the picture with a store only a few miles away from Blockbuster. Now we had other options besides the local grocery store which had a pitiful collection of video games for rent. Not soon after Family Video’s entry in the market, prices at Blockbuster dropped from $4/night to rent a movie to $.99. Video game rentals dropped to a very reasonable $1.99/night for the latest technology. Often we’d hit one of stores looking for a specific game and travel to the competing store to see if they had it. Prices for renting was now reasonable so we did it frequently.
The rental market changed a lot the last few years. Netflix got stronger and improved their turnaround time significantly. Redbox entered the picture. Wegmans and other stores stopped offering rentals. A few months ago, my husband took my son to rent a game at Blockbuster. It had been a little while since they had gone there to rent anything. The pricing had changed. Blockbuster wanted $9/week to rent game and there were no daily rates. My husband walked out of there vowing to boycott Blockbuster for their high prices. Little did we know that the store would close a few months later.
Our relationship with Blockbuster was good while it lasted. I’m a little nostalgic, but it was time for t he era to end.