Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mourning My Local Blockbuster

I went to pick over the bones of the local Blockbuster the other day, taking advantage of their closing out sale. I got a heap of DVDs for $25. I was pleased with the deals, but it was sad to see their empty shelves.

Back in 2001 or so, I was living in Halifax, NS, when I bought my first DVD player at some department store. My boyfriend and I at the time each got one DVD to go with the player - he got Star Wars, and I got Hannibal. The next day, I popped into a Blockbuster, and I got Bridget Jones' Diary. My second ever DVD.

I now have thousands of the things, since film is my main area of research interests and I am a major film buff. I am a constant trawler of cheap bins. I have a rule that if I ever come across an Oscar winner that I don't already own in the discount basket I buy it. I like Amazon, but Blockbuster's "previously enjoyed" shelves were my favourite haunts.

And now, this is no more.

It used to be HMV near campus, but that closed over a year ago. I then turned my impulse DVD shopping to the local Blockbuster by my bank and grocers. I loved wandering in there and seeing what I could find. Since having a baby, I hardly ever go to the cinema, so discount DVDs were my salvation.

I hate shopping, normally. I buy pants about once a year, and I rely on my mum to send me cheap t-shirts most of the time. I look kind of like a beatnik sporty hobo, but it's worth it to avoid clothing shopping. I buy socks at the same time as I buy my yearly pair of shoes. Groceries are a necessary evil. I don't mind book stores, but the prices kill me. I like my regular trips to the Salvation Army, but that is fairly far away for a non-driver.

DVD shopping was my one vice; my retail therapy. No matter how low or lost I felt, I could go in and get a couple cheap disks and feel a little cheerier. I will certainly miss that, now that I have no place to find secondhand DVDs locally - or at least close enough to make it an impulsive trip just because I feel like doing something fun and frivolous.

I do some buying on Amazon, but I don't impulse shop online. When I am buying something online, it's because I went there to look for something - or, I look at the things on my wishlist for the millionth time before I finally get it, and it's usually something I've already seen. I never just randomly grab something because I like the blurb and cover, and it's cheap.

I can still get a few random DVDs at the drugstore, I guess, but I won't have any place I can just get up and go to and find some new friends.

One of my favourite places to snoop for over ten years is now just a memory, and I can't help but think my life will lose a bit of colour with it.

So, goodbye Blockbuster. I'm sorry it came to this.

By the way, I got three Anthony Hopkins movies on this final trip to the Blockbuster. Nice to see some old friends are still around since that first DVD purchase.

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