Friday, July 29, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

I'm talking about The Blockbuster Video store in Hollister, California. This I was not aware of until 12 days ago when I was making a Sunday run to our hometown's Target which parts of a large parking lot with Blockbuster. Both opened in our still-rather-small town in the early 1990s.

At right is the now empty building that housed our Blockbuster store starting in mid-1995.

No announcement of Blockbuster closing was made as far as I can recall. I was taken by surprise, though not completely, given that the video chain has been closing stores. And I was sad to see it go, even though I have been with Netflix since 2007. Since signing on Netflix, I have only rented a few times from Blockbuster, most recently with gift card I received as a Secret Santa gift at work. I gave Redbox a try after receiving a rental coupon from the register at Safeway one year. Safeway then replaced the Redbox with Blockbuster's own rental kiosk Blockbuster Express. I gave that one a try earlier this year to rent "The Social Network," since it had just gotten out on DVD and had a long wait on Netflix. Since then I have used Blockbuster Express a few more times upon having received free rental coupons via e-mail and from the register at Safeway. And I have even used my town's library to rent some DVDs that I didn't want to wait for on Netflix. I also found a while ago a movie from the 1990s that I missed back in the day, "Made in America." This has the green "Save" button on Netflix so I cannot rent it that way. I was glad to find it at the library.

Blockbuster was the first and only chain video store to hit Hollister. A number of local, independent ones came and went over the years, many of which were around mostly during the VHS era. One of the local video stores that many residents patronized was one called B.O.B.'s Video, whose owner, Bob Valenzuela, also wrote a column for one of our town's newspapers. The store closed in 2002 when Mr. Valenzuela left town for Hollywood. By the time I got my DVD player in 2002, Blockbuster was the only video store in town. Now its closing leaves the rental kiosks (Blockbuster Express in Safeway and Redbox in two other grocery stores), the library, and Netflix the only rental options for Hollister.

While I'm on the subject of Netflix, I must admit I have no way of Instant watching or streaming. I have a pre-Intel-based Macintosh, which does not allow Instant Watching and cannot afford any other device that allows streaming. So after learning that they are will start charging $15.98 a month for both Instant Watch and one DVD-at-a-time, I knew the right thing to do was change over to the plan for one DVD-at-a-time (with no streaming) for $7.99 a month. This plan change will start next month. No sense paying for something I cannot use. I was taken by surprise when I got the e-mail about the Netflix price changes, but did not want to be one of those who got angry and posted negative comments on the Netflix's Twitter or Facebook pages or its blog. With DVDs as my only watching option, I knew that paying for unlimited DVDs was the way to go.

And of course, the bookstore chain Borders will be closing. The nearest one to me is in Seaside, and I used to go to that store whenever I felt like making that long drive. I had not gone there much, however, since Barnes and Noble opened a store in 2004 in Gilroy, near Hollister. I last went to the Seaside store last summer to find a book I had not been able to locate elsewhere, and the lady at the register asked if I had a rewards card for the store, and said no since I don't live in that area. She then asked if I'd tried the B&N store in Gilroy and I said yes, but did not find what I was looking for. I don't know if I'll have chance to go to the Seaside store before it closes, since I don't know exactly when it will close, or if has already done so. And on the subject of bookstores, Hollister had two different ones over the years both independent ones, that last of which closed in 2002. Buying books in Hollister is now limited to Target, Kmart, Rite Aid and Safeway. I still read regular books, and am glad for the library. I've saved money reading books this way. No e-readers for me.

1 comment:

Stephanie Faris said...

Since Netflix is charging for streaming separately from DVDs, I dropped my DVD plan and am now streaming only. I figure if we want to rent a movie we'll run down the street to Redbox. $1 is a deal you can't beat!