We all want things to be comfortable, cheap, and convenient. We’re Americans, after all.
But the pursuit of these qualities in our lives above all else isn’t always a good thing. Take huge, faceless corporations, for example. Places like Wal-Mart thrive because people looking to spend less don’t care that:
-that the company treats its employees like garbage
-that its predatory practices drive out local businesses and cost the jobs of people whose companies treat them well
-(New one as of 5/1/13): that Netflix drops movies from its service all the time. Just because they don’t think they matter. Check out a partial list here and see what they think you don’t need to see
But hey, at least you can save a few pennies.
Look, I know I’m an interested party here. It’s no secret that the video store biz is in trouble. And while we at Videoport did a little dance every time another plastic rental chain went under (screw you, Blockbuster, Home Vision, Hollywood, Movie Gallery- you shouldn’t have messed with us), I also know that, apart from the fact that I love my job, and Videoport, and my coworkers with an irrational passion, that there’s value in a place like ours.
I could talk about the facts that:
-our staff have been here forever, and know literally everything about movies, and how the store works
-we like nothing more than turning people on to movies and TV shows they’re going to love as much as we do
-we routinely do stuff for free (donating movies, this here VideoReport) to help the store because we want it to do better. And because we love it.
-our owners have stuck it out in this business for 25 years, dedicating themselves to keeping the place running and all of us in the jobs we love.
-those owners treat their employees so well that no one ever leaves, ever. (Hell, Andy’s still the new guy and I think he’s been here for six years).
-we’re responsible neighbors, and tireless supporters of local business (practically all our supplies and services come from local companies).
-we’ve taken on all comers, and are still standing.
And now there are these stupid vending machines (where you can stand in a shady 7-11 parking lot and have a scratched copy of one of fifty crap movies farted out at you), and the internet in the form of the N-Word, Netflix (where, when it’s working, you can let a company determine what you can download and when). These places, operating according to the Wal-Mart principles above, don’t care about movies. They might as well be selling rubber vomit for all they care about movies, and you. They work together to undermine the few video stores like ours that are still trying to do things the right way.
And they’re winning.
They’re winning because people want to save a few pennies (although Videoport has raised its prices exactly three times in 25 years, and when you do the math, they’re not much cheaper at all). They’re winning by luring people into remaining sedentary, isolated, and alone. But they’re also winning because they’re ever so gradually eroding people’s standards and expectations. I mean, you can’t expect to have all the movies in the world in one place at reasonable prices tended by helpful, well-treated, knowledgeable employees and run by a conscientious, responsible local businessman, can you?
Oh right, you can. It’s called Videoport. It’s right here.
Come rent some movies at your friendly local video store. We’ll help you find just the right ones.
773-1999 to reserve what you want to watch tonight. Trust me- we’ve got it.