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(Online) Video Killed the Video Store

By Tater Barley Banks | Comment Diversions | November 6, 2010 |

By Tater Barley Banks | Comment Diversions | November 6, 2010 |

The other day I was reading a lament for the death of the brick-and-mortar video store. Not so much the big chain (You-Know-Who-Buster) but the small, more independent, more eclectic places where the clerks knew you and your tastes and might steer you to something you’d never tried before (the kind of place we haven’t had in my town for a good 15 years).

The author asked himself when was the last time he’d been in an actual video store, browsing the hundreds of possibilities, and couldn’t remember.

Yikes! I can’t much either. It was probably back last winter, when BlockBuster ran one of its periodic sales, where I’d get a card in the mail that entitled me to a month of rentals for $1.99 each or something. And then I’d binge on a bunch of Pajiba recommendations (Let The Right One In, for instance).

Frankly, I’m pretty surprised we still have a BlockBuster at all any more.

Just like a couple weeks ago, I went to the renovated Discount Den. The Den was the last place in downtown (that I’m aware of, and even at my advanced age I’m semisentient) that sold new and used CDs. At one time we had three (and maybe even four, for a short time) record/CD shops in the six-block main area of our town, but the Den was the last holdout (it also sold beer, cigarettes and porn, in short, everything a student population of 29,000 might need)..

And then not long ago I noticed the Den was closed for renovation. That’s good, I thought, the place was kinda dumpy and could use a coat of paint.

And now it’s brighter and roomier, because all the racks and bins of CDs are gone. I suppose I could go to Best Buy or Target or Walmart, but they’re probably not going to carry 85 Flood, are they?

Our Barnes & Noble seems to be hanging in there, and there’s a Books-A-Million on the other side of town, last time I checked, but I know their days are numbered too, and anyway, I use the library.

As the nation struggles to keep an unemployment rate under 10 percent, I haven’t seen anyone suggest that part of the reason it’s being so stubborn might be all the brick-and-mortar stores that are succumbing to the Internet.

That leads to today’s diversion, which is: What businesses are Internet-proof? What will you never be able to do online?

I can think of one: You’ll never be able to get a haircut online, so there will always be a need for barber shops and hair salons.

What say you? What will still be around in 20 years?

To suggest a diversion idea or leave Tater a fan letter, you can reach him by email.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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