The doors to my local Blockbuster Video shut for last time at the weekend. Most people probably didn’t care or notice – they probably haven’t had a video shop for ages. For me, it was a sad moment. It seems like the shops that mirrored the different stages of my life are now all gone.
As a kid it was definitely Woolies with their pick ‘n mix, school stationary and let’s face it, the kitchen sink too. I’d head to Our Price at lunch as a teenager to get my Britpop music fix (Bluetones, Blur, Manics et al). When I first moved to London on a limited budget, Blockbuster provided me with many a cheap ex-rental and Ben & Jerry ‘Wich (if you know anywhere that sells these still, let me know!). Then the grown up me had a short, expensive obsession with Habitat as I moved away from flat shares to my own gaff. All gone now apart from a handful of Habitats.
I think people will look back on video rental shops – not just Blockbuster – in the same way they do Woolworths. We may not have all been regular customers, but when we needed them there were essential. Yes you can get everything in Woolies and Blockbuster online, but there’s no substitution for the spontaneous or last minute purchases high street shopping provides.
When Blockbuster went into administration in November, I wrote a blog for MoneySavingExpert.com about online rentals, piracy and the BBC. It’s still available to read here.