E Final Curtain Call For Blockbuster

We all have fond memories of having special evenings watching a movie.  Whether it's time with family, a significant other, or just a night spent with friends. And those memories usually involved trekking out to Blockbuster at some point, scanning the rows upon rows of movies, and trying to settle on a title that would satisfy everyone. Maybe grabbing some microwave popcorn on the way out. Those days are over; it's an end of an era. After 28 years, Blockbuster has announced it is closing its remaining 300 stores by the end of January.

Photo Source: yapsnpas at flicker.com

While I have countless fond memories, I haven‘t seen the inside of a Blockbuster in years.  In fact I can’t even remember the last time I saw the outside of a Blockbuster. If there was one nearby, I wasn’t aware of it. Blockbuster left the public’s consciousness long ago.

What did Blockbuster do wrong?  Many will drone on about how Blockbuster messed up time and time again.  You’ll hear it was due to poor hiring decisions, late fee debacles, not enough or too many locations, etc, etc. You’ll likely hear these and many more reasons for the giant’s fall (they were a giant, once upon a time).  I am more forgiving.

It is a new era; the times during which Blockbuster thrived have long since passed.  It is now an age of cloud storage, kiosks and streaming digital videos. The day belongs to Redbox, Netfix and Hulu. 

If Blockbuster is guilty of anything it is that its management lacked the ability to recognize the changing times and quickly adapt.  How could Blockbuster possibly compete with the ease, convenience and low cost of picking up a $1 video at a kiosk around the corner?  Or even better, never having to leave home at all, having a movie mailed right to your door? And more recently, having a movie delivered instantly to your computer, tablet or TV?  I can’t imagine anyone would choose to drive to the nearest Blockbuster instead. And then there were problems – the movie being out of stock, being damaged, or an inept clerk forgetting to take the security lock off the box.  Even if you managed to watch the video without incident, there could be more hassles--having to rush back to return it, late fees and losses. Once new superior alternatives were available, millions of us turned our backs on Blockbuster and never looked back.  

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Barry Glassman 5 months ago Member's comment

I wonder how Blockbuster would have fared during this pandemic. The online version might have really taken off.