While standing at a register buying a cup of coffee in a local Circle K a couple of weeks ago, my cashier said to a nearby employee, “It isn’t like going to Blockbuster anymore.”
How long has it been since I had even heard any reference to that storefront? Yep, you guessed it. I eavesdropped. Even better, I jumped right into the conversation and realized I missed that place. Or the experience of the place. This past weekend when my family and I were browsing all things streaming through our Amazon Firestick, we couldn’t seem to pick anything to agree on. Frankly, I got annoyed by the browsing along with the respectively bored faces . We kept saying no. Browsing by topics we vetoed one after another. Nothing seemed new. At first I thought it was my desire to grab the remote and manage the search process. We through one title after another when everything seemed like the same old same old. Then Blockbuster came to mind again. I asked my son who is 22 years old if he remembered going to Blockbuster. He recalled a vague memory and it made me a bit sad. Especially when I realized my daughter, a mere teenager definitely seemed clueless. Game Stop is probably the closest comparison and she loves that place.
Blockbuster, and the experience it offered, seems so lost on the next generations tuned into the more common addiction to satellite tv, cable, On Demand, binge watching the seemingly limitless streaming services.
Think I am Crazy?
Maybe. I miss going to Blockbuster. I miss walking the aisles of New Releases and other movie sections looking to see something I might have missed seeing or an old favorite to see again. I miss the conversations my friends and family and I would have about movies we loved or hated. We reminisced about who we experienced movies with, some of the crazy covers, the actors, the soundtracks all while we picked cases up and held them in our hands. Date nights were fun because you learned each other’s likes and dislikes. And sometimes you talked to strangers who offered recommendations or chimed in on conversations. How about times when you would browse alone and pick something and meet your co-conspirator in another aisle with a suggestion or two in hand? Wasn’t that fun, like a scavenger hunt?
I loved picking out 2 or 3 movies, debating to a point where some were mutual selections and others were compromises. It was energetic, frustrating, fun, disappointing, and great quality time together.
I loved the chance to pick up used DVDs on the cheap to add to my personal collection. I miss the overpriced snacks, drinks, toys and collectibles that were perfectly placed like a concession stand as you waited in line to buy or rent the movies. Oh and the games too!
Why did we let this part of “date night, family night, friend night…whatever night” fade to black like the end of so many great movies we wished would keep on going?
Netflix? Yeah. We picked something to watch together. But I don’t think we all wanted to watch it. Some of us fell asleep. There was no build up for what was next. We never spend 30 minutes browsing titles saving and queuing two or three movies and devising a game plan on what to watch first. We aren’t dividing and conquering in the virtual aisles either. We did search for snacks in the house. But the selection wasn’t as great. They were free.
Streaming Better Options
Sipping the last of this cup, I miss the Blockbuster experience and for the life of me, I just cannot think of a plan to bring that to life with the unlimited streaming options I have available with those around me. Is it because we aren’t engaged physically? Is the search and browse method limiting? I remember walking through Blockbuster many Fridays in a row and feeling like there was nothing to get. I also remember going in expecting to get our hands on a New Release only to find all the copies were claimed. I kept going back though. Redbox and Netflix became the newer things. Redbox can simulate the debates and the sale tion is much smaller at the kiosks. But still full of experience gaps.
Is it the process? Vould it be the lack of options in Streaming? Is it how we are blindly looking at only what we can see? I really think Netflix suggestions were better ten years ago.
Does anyone have a method that takes us through the process that ties it back to the relationship and the experience? Are we just lazy and expect our technology to know what we want when we don’t know ourselves?
Do you miss it? What else do you miss? Do you have streaming struggles too? Why?