The following is a screed I wrote back in 2009, that I’d completely forgotten about until I stumbled across it right now. Basically Blockbuster irritated me one time too many, and I never ever went back. This matters not at all now, with them being defunct, and it mattered very little then, honestly, but it bugged me enough to rant about it.
I don’t recall what I did with the rant. Was it an email to a particular friend? One of my irritating mass-emails to everyone I knew? Did I stick it up on a blog somewhere? No clue. Anyway, I read it and I laughed.
It probably isn’t as funny to you as it was to me rediscovering it just now, but here it is nevertheless. Angry Impotent Rage: the most valuable kind of history.
That’s it, Blockbuster is now officially completely useless. I went to one today to rent the new Pokemon movie, “Giratina and the Sky Warrior.” I lumped all around the store while no one helped me, or pointedly ignored me, then waited in a line while no one asked if I’d found what I was looking for. When someone finally deigned to acknowledge my existence, I asked them for the movie. The fat chain-smoking lady behind the counter stared blankly at the computer for a long time without saying anything. “Sorry, there’s a crap-load of Pokemon stuff.”
“Sure, fine, whatever,” I said, then she went back to staring blankly at the screen.
“Don’t have it.”
“Don’t have it today, or don’t have it ever?” I asked.
“We don’t carry it in the store.”
“Dunno. Sorry.” She stared blankly at me for a while, no doubt dreaming of the cigarettes I was keeping her from.
“Could you call the store over in [blank],” I asked.
“What? Why not?” I asked, growing annoyed.
“Blockbuster doesn’t carry that movie,” she said.
“Are you sure?” I asked, “Why not?”
“I dunno, but you’re not going to find it here.” She stared at me in some annoyance. Presently I turned to leave.
“Sorry,” she said absently.
“Yeah, I’m sure the guilt’ll keep you awake tonight,” I mumbled, and left.
And that’s it: I’m done with Blockbuster forever. Forever, I say.
The fact is that they’ve never been a particularly good video chain. They’ve got 45 zillion copies of “Ouch, My Scrotum!” and “America’s Funniest Canadian Hookers,” and the latest interchangeable Sandra Bullock/Julia Roberts romantic comedies, but they don’t have Star Trek IV: The One With The Whales, they have nothing related to B5, they’re for suck on foreign films, their anime section consists entirely of Sailor Moon and lipstick lesbian crap….gaaaah! It’s making me crazy, it’s making me nuts. Their selection sucks worse and worse by the day. There’s an entire Adam Sandler *Section* in the one by my house – an entire section! No on can explain to me why people haven’t yet risen up in righteous anger and beaten Adam Sandler to death, using Rob Schneider as their weapon of choice to do so, and this store gives the guy an entire section? They’ve got 11 copies of the Lindsay Lohan reboot of “Herbie the Love Bug,” but not a single copy of anything by Akira Kurisowa? Bastards! Utter bastards!
If I’m honest, I always felt a bit guilty about dealing with them. They essentially destroyed the Mom-and-Pop Video Store industry in the 80s, though the Mom-and-Pop stores also sucked, I still feel guilty about all those people who lost their jobs and presumably homes and spouses in the wake of the Blockbuster Juggernaut (Hey! A non-mixed metaphor for once!) I was always annoyed by the way they dealt with superior competitors, like the AVN franchise: they simply bought them and shut them down. Evil.
But even so, I tolerated them because I’m not Harlan Ellison, and there’s just too damn many things in my life that I’m furious about already. I can’t go borrowing more trouble. Also, if you want a simple, straightforward populist film, like a recent thriller, or a Harry Potter film, or any superhero flick, that’s the place to go. They’ve always been family oriented (or so they say, though I suspect “Family Oriented” is simply California liberal elite slang for “Lowbrow”), but at least they have a wide selection of boring family movies and kid flicks. They’ve always had the latest Pokemon flick up until now. I mean, the animation in those things – or at least the shorts that go along with them – is pretty amazing, you know? “Camp Pikachu” is beautiful to look at, and who doesn’t like the Pichu brothers?
Aside from the fat chain smoking lady, of course, she’s taken all that away from me.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that’s not her fault, clearly she’s not the one making the decisions, but she’s the bearer of bad news, and it is my right as the one bad-newsed-upon to cut her head off. I know, however, that this is really just the final straw that’s been coming for decades: Blockbuster *always* sucked, but now they suck so bad as to be intolerable. I mean, my God, they had an entire “Marly & Me” display up! And this was surrounded by a “If you like this movie about dogs, you might also like these” display of random dog-related comedies. If they’d had a decent foreign film section – which they don’t – I would have slipped a couple copies of “Man Bites Dog” in to it, just out of spite, but no, not even that! The bastards!
Screw it. I’m signing up for netflix, I’ll just stop eating lunch in order to pay for it….