Here's to You Locally Owned Video Rental Guy

Since Blockbuster and I had a recent falling out, I decided to rediscover our town's local video rental store. 15 or so years ago we went there a couple of times. It was dark, kind of dirty, and smelled like a blend of cigarette smoke, popcorn and dirty socks---the typical original 1980s video store. They didn't have any computers; they kept all their customer information on 3 x 5 cards.

It wasn't long before we were lured away by a big new shiny Blockbuster in an adjacent town. We patronized Blockbuster for over a decade.

Unfortunately, with Blockbuster I was always getting annoyed with one thing or another---just ask my poor husband who had to listen or at least pretend to listen to all my annoyances. First, ridiculous late fees, then no late fees, then all these special programs, then they take away most of the perks of these special programs, then they start up with the late fees, but don't tell you until you have a late fee. Plus, don't get me started on all the non-movie items Blockbuster sells. Every time we went there it was a battle with the kids over buying them something like a candy helicopter fan for 5 bucks, or a framed poster of an elephant in a car. Or we'd leave in mild embarrassment after one of them knocked over the precariously stacked display of giant popcorn tins (seriously, how can you expect a kid not to pound on those things like drums?).

For the last few months we've been doing the Redbox. Redbox is great unless your kid desperately wants to watch the Titanic movie. Redbox doesn't carry Titanic. So I finally sucked it up and went to Cosmos Video. It was just as I remembered. Dark, dank, smelly. And yes, they still keep everything on 3x5 cards. It was like going back in time. I had the sudden urge to pull out my stretch pants and heels and rat my hair until it was a big as a beach ball and then shellac it with Aqua Net.

The guy who worked there had a gray scruffy beard and looked like a troubled Vietnam vet. He wouldn't make eye contact with us. I was a little bit afraid of him. I couldn't find the movie, so my fearless 7 year old struck up a conversation with him. Turns out the movie was in the section entitled 'Disasters'. Turns out the guy is actually quite chatty. He told us all about the fish he raises---he never once made eye contact with us, but he was able to identify what type of fish my son's little rubber Chuck E Cheese toy was---you wouldn't get that at Blockbuster!  Movies are $2.00 for three days---cheaper than Redbox! And I didn't even have to leave my credit card information with him. They only have videos and don't sell candy, popcorn, or any other unnecessary paraphernalia. So here's to you locally owned video rental guy who sells green Vietnamese goldfish on the side---you outlasted the rich big bullies. You win.


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