Monday, November 01, 2010

Dear Charlie:

Despite the fact that my Chiefs are 5-2 and just toughed out a messy win over the Bills yesterday, I'm feeling a little sad today. Driving down Rangeline this afternoon, I saw the empty, abandoned building where Blockbuster used to do business. They've already taken down the signs and everything.

Why does that make me sad? Well, I'll try to explain.

See, I'm a tactile kind of girl. Call me old-fashioned, but I want to hold something in my hand. I can't wait until March, when my book comes out in print. It's awesome to be published, and e-books sell like candy in these advanced days of Nooks and Kindles and cell phones that work like Nooks and Kindles, but....

I want to hold my book in my hand. I wanna flip through the pages. I wanna smell the paper and glue, see it on the shelf at Books-a-Million and Hastings, smile secretly when I see someone reading it without telling them I wrote it, blush and feel all embarrassed when Pesh tells someone I wrote it and demands that I sign it for them. Because she'll do that.

Hard to do any of that when it only exists in cyberspace.

In a big way, I see the closing of a brick-n-mortar rental store like Blockbuster as yet another stake in the heart of all brick-n-mortar stores. We're so dependent on the internet that we don't even have to actually insert a DVD to watch a movie nowadays. With Netflix and all those other on-line rental stores, you can download directly to your Xbox or PS3 or whatever.

I can't tell you how many pleasurable hours I can spend at a rental store (or book store, for that matter) just perusing cover art, reading the back to see if I'm interested or if there are enough extras to make it worth the rental (or purchase), remembering watching this flick with these friends or that flick with those friends. VHS is already gone. Pretty soon, you won't be able to rent DVDs at all. You'll still be able to rent movies, but somehow, to a tactile person like me, it's just not the same.

If nothing else, it's hard to chitchat with the counter person about the merits of the Goonies over the Monster Squad when there's no counter person. I like dealing with a person. Sure, I can look extras and prices and whatnot up on-line, but it's so much more pleasant to get that information from a friendly person at the store (and the Blockbuster folks I dealt with were always very friendly, which is admittedly something of a wonder these days), someone who obviously also loves movies and will probably tell me more than even the best back-flap information could ever do.

But again, blog or no blog, Twitter and Facebook account or no, I'm a bit old-fashioned. Tactile. I like to have a tangible product in my hand when I leave a store, rather than just an electrical impulse to my device of choice. What can I say? I'm a child of the '80s. I only missed 8-tracks by a couple of years and still have a few worn-out old cassette tapes.

And I still have a VHS/DVD collection. Movies I can hold in my hand and feel like I actually have something, that I spent my hard-earned (very hard-earned, lately) money on something of tangible value. I don't have to worry about losing all my flicks if, say, my Xbox blows up (not that I have an Xbox or a PS3; I'm just sayin').

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Blockbuster, you will be missed. You won't be there for me this Christmas when I want to rent a zombie flick to make it through the holidays, but it's not your fault. And I'll think of you every time I drive by the sad, abandoned building that's been yours since long before I stumbled into Joplin fifteen years ago.



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