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Do you miss video stores?

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View Poll Results: Do you miss video stores?
Yes
86.49%
No
10.81%
Other opinion
2.70%
Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

Do you miss video stores?

Old 08-18-22, 06:12 PM
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Do you miss video stores?

I saw this post on Instagram from the YouTube channel Films at home, which is a physical media supporting channel.

I'm not sure this topic has ever really been brought up here lately.



I'm also not sure how accurate his stats are. What do you all think? Do you miss them, or not? Do you think this is just stubborn and dated dinosaur thinking and we have to move on with technology. Or do you really miss video stores and having access to more and making it a special weekly trip?

Or do you think there's already way too much shit to watch and you'll never get through even 1/4 of what you want to see through streaming anyways.

I will say this that streaming has absolutely benefitted TV shows. No way in hell would I want to go to a video store and rent discs for a TV show. That isn't 1999. You can watch way more television via streaming vs renting discs 20+ years ago.

The last video I went to regularly closed around 2016 or 2017. They just became money losing businesses and were no longer sustainable with the current environment.

When I went to video stores regularly from the mid 1980s until the one near me closed, it felt like a special experience. I kept track of what as coming out and looked forward to seeing the artwork on the shelf. There is nothing even remotely special about turning on your TV and clicking your remote.

Last edited by DJariya; 08-18-22 at 06:35 PM.
Old 08-18-22, 07:37 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

I have nostalgia for the good video stores. But I think that tweet is absolutely wrong. In-person video stores did not give better access to what I have now. It's not even remotely close. You can't just look at the Netflix catalog. What about all the PPV options, through places like Amazon or cable and satellite services. Or for the cost of 3 or 4 VHS rentals you can sign up for a month for a different streaming service.
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Old 08-18-22, 07:40 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

For nostalgia purposes, yes. For Everything else, No.

We all remember the good times of wandering videos stores on Friday night looking for the newest VHS release but we sometimes forget that unless you got there early enough, you were most likely going to miss out on the ONE you wanted to rent most and were stuck with plan B.

I think we all remember the pain of seeing an entire wall of VHS cases of the newest release as we walk in the store only to be disappointed when you realize all the actual copies behind the covers were rented out. Better luck next weekend!

I DO miss when movie releases felt like a big deal. With streaming, everything blurs together and gets lost in a seemingly never ending selection of (mostly) crap.
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Old 08-18-22, 07:45 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

I actually watched more movies when I could rent them. With streaming I browse and with the amount available I end up logging off and getting a movie or TV show that I own on disc and put it on instead.
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Old 08-18-22, 07:56 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

There is absolutely no question that one can source infinitely more, and much obscurer, films nowadays than one could find at even the best video stores of old, but the magic is largely missing. The times 25-30 years ago, when I would spend hours in some grungy hole-in-the-wall video shop scouring the shelves, and then be elated to stumble upon a film I had been seeking for years. It's phenomenal what is available online - long-lost treasures I never expected to find - but the experience of browsing a video store cannot be replicated at home.
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Old 08-18-22, 08:26 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

The going out with friends or family to drive and rent a movie, then from there snacking or eating out. Or me meeting a cute girl in the video aisles and striking a conversation.

Those moments are missed, however not so greatly where it puts a big damper in my life.
Old 08-18-22, 08:32 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

One key thing to mention is when movies aren't being rented anymore or they end up having excess stock, the store typically puts it up for sale in the Used DVD/VHS pile for sale.

Most video stores don't treat their stock as pieces of art that needs to be kept to preserve the "art form" When they look at their rental activity and see 20 titles haven't been rented in months, they put them up for sale. The store has rent to pay and employees to pay.

I recall going to a Hollywood video once and several titles I remember seeing in the Foreign section were tossed in the Used VHS section for sale. They didn't give a crap about preserving the foreign library for someone who "might" rent it.
Old 08-18-22, 08:38 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

Originally Posted by stvn1974 View Post
I actually watched more movies when I could rent them. With streaming I browse and with the amount available I end up logging off and getting a movie or TV show that I own on disc and put it on instead.
This.
Iíve lost count of the number of times Iíve opened my apps and searched for five minutes only to find nothing.
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Old 08-18-22, 08:41 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

The main thing I miss about video stores is the sense of community. Chatting with the store clerks and other customers about movies was always enjoyable. I really miss it. Chatting about movies online isn't the same.
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Old 08-18-22, 08:45 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

Originally Posted by Norm de Plume View Post
... but the magic is largely missing.

... but the experience of browsing a video store cannot be replicated at home.
I think this might be reflective of one's age. Nowadays I don't have the patience anymore to go through offline record stores, or even dvd/bluray dump bins at discount retailers.

Back in the day, I was willing to spend time going through video rental places, record stores, etc .... I use to drive to the next town(s) over, to check out specialized record stores and/or places which sold laserdiscs.
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Old 08-18-22, 09:03 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

Originally Posted by GoldenJCJ View Post
For nostalgia purposes, yes. For Everything else, No.

We all remember the good times of wandering videos stores on Friday night looking for the newest VHS release but we sometimes forget that unless you got there early enough, you were most likely going to miss out on the ONE you wanted to rent most and were stuck with plan B.

I think we all remember the pain of seeing an entire wall of VHS cases of the newest release as we walk in the store only to be disappointed when you realize all the actual copies behind the covers were rented out. Better luck next weekend!

I DO miss when movie releases felt like a big deal. With streaming, everything blurs together and gets lost in a seemingly never ending selection of (mostly) crap.

Blockbuster was the worst when they had 30 copies of a new movie and there were no copies available

I remember renting King Ralph since the movie me and my friends wanted were not there.

I am glad Blockbuster is gone and they did not carry adult movies and they were soft.
Old 08-18-22, 09:14 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

Blockbuster was a family oriented video store. If you wanted porn, you could just go to your Mom and Pop store. They made that clear from the time they opened.

Also, I recall Blockbuster never carried "Unrated" versions of movies like Basic Instinct or Body Evidence. They just stocked theatrical rated content.
Old 08-18-22, 09:25 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

Sure, I miss them. Too much choice (streaming) can be crippling, and needing to have a plan B if your movie of choice wasn't in stock creates resiliency. Now we want what we want when we want it, (and it's usually available). This is no way to live a realistic life.

I especially miss the early days when you'd see the title on the wall and go to the peg-board to see if the tag for the movie you wanted was still there.

I also miss the clerks who saw no problem renting Evil Dead to a 12-year-old, or Caligula to a 15-year-old.
Old 08-18-22, 11:19 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

Yes, it was fun to get out and browse the aisles. Can read a cool description of a movie you have never heard of or see something you haven't seen in awhile.
Old 08-19-22, 06:35 AM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

I don't miss late fees or having to get in the car at 9:45 and drive 10 minutes each way to return a video on time.

I do miss being able to browse a store's entire collection to and not having some curated list making recommendations to me with the majority of their titles only being available if I search for that specific title.
Old 08-19-22, 07:15 AM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
I do miss being able to browse a store's entire collection to and not having some curated list making recommendations to me with the majority of their titles only being available if I search for that specific title.
This is the unspoken problem with the streaming services. Browsing sucks.
Old 08-19-22, 09:14 AM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

Don't really miss the types of video stores mostly mentioned here so far (Blockbuster, Hollywood, and other chains, with teenage future screenwriters and directors behind the counter). Their offerings were largely mainstream fare, the kind of stuff that has pretty much all moved online now. They were great while they lasted though.

But I do miss the off-the-beaten path, cult video stores that tended to thrive during that era in larger cities, possibly the "grungy, hole-in-the-wall video shops" Norm was referring to. Toronto had quite a few back then, usually packed to the rafters with seemingly every cult, genre or import title under the sun. Due to my neighbourhood not being nearby, renting and returning was rarely a viable option, but I'd scour their shelves whenever I was downtown, continually adding cool titles to the 'must-see' list on my phone. Often, the available options were extremely OOP and grossly expensive, but gradually more and more this stuff became available thanks to the boutique distributors. Visiting their websites – or streamers – definitely lacks that 'grungy' appeal of flipping through tens of thousands of sleeves flattened in plastic holders to maximize space, and simply marvelling at things you never knew were available on DVD, or VHS, or at all based on the surprising number of (quality) boots in their collections. When these places gradually went out of business and sold of their stock, I nearly went bankrupt buying it up.

To my knowledge, there's only one such video store left in this city: Eyesore Cinema. According to social posts, they seem to be stuggling. They have a decent selection of oddball cult/genre rentals, although my own personal collection probably rivals it (which is a scary thought). They also sell vinyl records, weird candy, 'branded' T-shirts and other merch. They also do multiple in-store screenings each week (some with costume contests and other strangeness), often simulcast on Twitch. Never been to one, so not sure how well-attended they are. They also do a couple of Twitch auctions each month for old discs and tapes. Again, haven't participated in those, so not sure what's available and for how much. In short, they've tried to bring the hipster cult video store into the online era, with modest success, but it does seem like the clock is ticking now that they're doing fundraising to stay afloat.
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Old 08-19-22, 09:49 AM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

I do miss the video store that I used to frequent during my University years and after I graduated. It was called Gen X and it was owned by University of Waterloo students. They were responsible for providing me access of foreign and genre films that were difficult to acquire at the time as it was before the widespread access to the internet.
Old 08-19-22, 09:57 AM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

I miss them for browsing, but I'd be hard pressed to say that the functionality hasn't been completely replaced by on demand options, which are also much more convenient. Now finding something to watch, that's the hard part.

Yeah, Netflix doesn't have many movies. But you can effectively rent the movie you want through a variety of services, and if it's too obscure for that chances are your local Blockbuster wasn't going to have something like that either.

And for TV shows, there's no competition, so much better now.
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Old 08-19-22, 10:20 AM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

Originally Posted by LorenzoL View Post
I do miss the video store that I used to frequent during my University years and after I graduated. It was called Gen X and it was owned by University of Waterloo students.
Wow, instant recall -- I think I may have been in that place! My girlfriend lived in Waterloo until about 2001, and went to UW; she graduated not long before I met her elsewhere. Once she knew my oddball hobby, she actually took me to this place during a day trip back to Waterloo circa 2003 or 2004. She once said I kinda reminded her of the people she knew frequented Generation X when she was a student, only minus the annoying 'gatekeeper' mentality (or words to that effect). Guess my aversion to foisting 'film expertise' on strangers probably scored me some relationship points! I remember the place being on a side street in or near the downtown core, maybe on the ground floor of an old house or small apartment building, something like that?
Old 08-19-22, 11:14 AM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

I voted no solely because I was thinking if I would even go to one today if they were to open back up. I can honestly say no to that and the reason is because of why they closed in the first place. The dvd market killed the video store. I own more movies than blockbuster ever had. It became an unnecessary expense for me. I use streaming only if I'm lazy to go grab a movie but otherwise I just watch tv shows or newer movies on those platforms. Only exception is if the streaming option is higher quality than what I currently own.
Old 08-19-22, 12:41 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
Wow, instant recall -- I think I may have been in that place! My girlfriend lived in Waterloo until about 2001, and went to UW; she graduated not long before I met her elsewhere. Once she knew my oddball hobby, she actually took me to this place during a day trip back to Waterloo circa 2003 or 2004. She once said I kinda reminded her of the people she knew frequented Generation X when she was a student, only minus the annoying 'gatekeeper' mentality (or words to that effect). Guess my aversion to foisting 'film expertise' on strangers probably scored me some relationship points! I remember the place being on a side street in or near the downtown core, maybe on the ground floor of an old house or small apartment building, something like that?
Thatís the one Brian! It was on Regina Street and yes, the building used to be a house. They were a bit annoying as it reminded me of the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons in their mindset so your girlfriend was not wrong. It was so much better than my local Blockbuster so even though I didnít live in Waterloo, it was worth the drive. I got caught up in all of my HK films and Anime at the time. I frequented the place years earlier than you. I might have still gone when you visited though as my parents lived in Cambridge.
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Old 08-19-22, 01:14 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

Originally Posted by Neil M. View Post
I voted no solely because I was thinking if I would even go to one today if they were to open back up. I can honestly say no to that and the reason is because of why they closed in the first place. The dvd market killed the video store. I own more movies than blockbuster ever had. It became an unnecessary expense for me. I use streaming only if I'm lazy to go grab a movie but otherwise I just watch tv shows or newer movies on those platforms. Only exception is if the streaming option is higher quality than what I currently own.
This sounds like a problem (or your blockbusters were tiny).
Old 08-19-22, 01:41 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

I think the average Blockbuster probably carried about 2,500 titles (including dupes of movies). They probably had some super-sized stores in major cities that carried around 7,000 titles, but that was not an average. I mean, do you have an idea how much space 7,000 video boxes takes up?
Old 08-19-22, 01:58 PM
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Re: Do you miss video stores?

Originally Posted by DJariya View Post
Blockbuster was a family oriented video store. If you wanted porn, you could just go to your Mom and Pop store. They made that clear from the time they opened.

Also, I recall Blockbuster never carried "Unrated" versions of movies like Basic Instinct or Body Evidence. They just stocked theatrical rated content.
I'd feel bad for those that ONLY had Blockbuster or Hollywood video. I was spoiled being in California where you had so many more options, especially in San Diego. There were great M&P places if one liked obscure stuff. One of the neighborhoods of San Diego is called Kensington. One place was called Kensington Video. It was kinda out of the way for me but I had a FWB who lived near it. Thankfully she liked odd movies, too.

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