News is spreading of the amazing fact that Blockbuster Video still exists. Even more fascinating is that there are only nine of them. Eight are located in Alaska and one is in Texas. There’s a recent news article, which can be found here, that goes into detail about how amazing it is that a small video rental store can survive in the bleakest of places and that only because of Alaska’s poor wi-fi and harsh environment, Blockbuster stands a chance. There are a lot of kids out there that I’m sure would wonder what these Video Rental stores are. Well, I’d like to say big deal.
I work at a video rental store, and when I say work, I mean currently work. During the day, when I’m not writing articles for Geektyrant, I am employed at a real live video rental store that isn’t a Blockbuster, and it is awesome! It’s just as awesome as you could imagine. As I read this article talking about the fascinating wonder that a rental store exists, I was shocked about how little this article really talked about what it is like to be an existing video rental store in a world without them. So to rectify that, I’d like to make my own little list of things to say about what it’s like to work at a video store.
First off, many of the things the article said is true. A huge reason why rental stores can stay in business at a time without a need for them is customer service and the experience. People enjoy having the chance to go in and look around at options. There’s something special about being transported back in time and feeling like you are in the 90’s again, and when you have employees who care a great deal about films and their job. You just build a special relationship that you just don’t get from turning on Netflix and scrolling through things. It’s one of the same reasons Museums exist. Sure, you can search up information in a book or a website, but going to a museum and having a tour guide chat with you about amazing things of the past just makes a difference. It’s also fun to talk to the different people who come in, regardless of if it’s a good or bad experience.
Now, some of the things the article didn’t go into is the crappy parts. Like explaining to people who don’t believe you actually work at a video rental store that yes, you indeed do, and no you don’t rent VHS. Do libraries check out Scrolls? We adapt with the times. We carry Blu-ray, DVD, and HD-Blu-ray. I’ve had people ask if we rent VHS and others ask if we rent VHS players. When I try to explain it’s called a VCR they just look at me like I’m the crazy one.
Another thing that’s weird that isn’t mentioned, is the types of customers you get. Now I’m not talking about your normal customers. A good 70 percent of customers are regular happy go lucky people. I’m talking about the crazies, the people who demand a refund for their film because it discussed the struggles of a gay man and they didn’t really want to hear about that. Or others who rent rated R films only to come back disappointed there wasn’t more nudity and if you had any better suggestions. These people exist, but nobody in ALASKA will talk about them. Oh no. Everything’s just GREAT in Alaska. Maybe in another article, I’ll go deeper into the life of a Video Rental Worker. But for now, know that video rental stores may be rare, but we do exist. It is a privilege to work at one of the few remaining ones in existence. It gives me pride I don’t get from other pursuits, and I will continue recommending terrible movies to people til the day I die.