Requiem for a Video Store
On a Friday night, when I was a kid in the 90s, my entire family would get in the car and go to a store, called Video for You. It was a tiny shop filled to the brim with all kinds of movies. Horror, romance, action, or anything else you could possibly think of. The shelves went from floor to ceiling with thousands of titles. The clerk knew who we were and would greet us on the way in.
My brother and I were complete opposites. He loved action movies about ninjas and I wanted to watch fantasies. We would scour every shelf looking for the perfect compromise. Maybe a ninja that goes back in time? Or a knight that trained with ninjas? My dad hated to watch “kiddy” movies and would veto anything without a real plot. The clerk would eventually help out with a recommendation we could all enjoy together.
The other day I realized that no new families will have that experience. They won’t get in the car to go to a video store and they won’t go to the frozen yogurt shop next door afterward. It will be too much of a hassle to go out and find the perfect movie for the night when they have Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime directly connected to their TV. There won’t really be a need to argue about which movie to watch when you can play the second and third choice back to back.
When my brother and I argued, it was because we might never get the chance to watch the other one. It might not be available for rent the next time or we might have forgotten the title by then. A missed opportunity. The stakes were higher. Now you can just add it to the lineup and watch it right after. There’s no need to argue over the perfect movie for the night. You can watch anything and everything without ever leaving your living room.
Some of you may think, you’re reminiscing about the 90’s? And video stores? They went out of business for a reason. Wait until you’re 40, 50, or 60 then you’ll really understand how much the world changes. Just because I’m only 26 doesn’t mean I can’t notice the differences.
The 90s weren’t that long ago yet the world has changed a lot.
When I was a kid, computers were a new thing. My family was one of the first to get AOL. It took a full 5 minutes to sign in and pull up your email. There were pop up ads every 15 seconds and no such thing as Wikipedia or Facebook.
Now we get frustrated if it takes longer than 30 seconds to set up a computer and downright irate if a website doesn’t load in 10. The world is moving faster than ever and we’re becoming more impatient.
With limitless information and entertainment at our fingertips, will people value things the same way they used to? Will they bother remembering who the 32nd President was when they can look it up online in 5 seconds?
Millenials are the last generation to grow up without an abundance of technology.
No one had a cell phone in elementary school let alone an Instagram or Twitter followers. Youtube was barely popular. Facebook was only for college kids. Amazon didn’t exist.
What did we do in the dark ages?
We had to talk to each other at dinner and humor our parents with a description about what happened at school instead of checking feeds on our phones.
And we went to video stores.
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Originally published at www.roadlesswritten.com on May 16, 2015.