Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Monday, June 03, 2013
I wandered into my local Blockbuster retail store last week, which is also the last Blockbuster retail store in the state of Connecticut, and was met at the door by a handwritten sign alerting customers that all rentals needed to be returned by Friday night, and that the store would be closed for several days, to reopen later this week. What could this mean? Would they possibly be resetting the store? It was, after all, the last retail Blockbuster in Connecticut, and maybe, just maybe, corporate was going to throw some money at the store, expanding it and adding genre sections. But as I pushed my way through the door, my heart knew better than to think it was on nothing other than life support. The crew there, from the top down, is nothing short of top-notch. Not only do I appreciate that they greet me by name, but they also are bursting with recommendations for me personally. But this time, there was somewhat of a funereal atmosphere to the store. "What's going on? You're not CLOSING, are you?" "Yeah, we are," stated Niko, the closing manager for the second to the last Blockbuster in the state of Connecticut. "What happened?" I asked, because the look on his face was as if someone had died, unexpectedly. It seems there's a liquor store next door, and the owners of the store made a pitch to the owners of the plaza for Blockbuster's space. How much was the lease? they wanted to know, and they bought out the lease and gave Blockbuster 30 days to vacate the property. What was there to say? I wasn't talking to the owners of the store, and I certainly wasn't talking to any Blockbuster execs. I was speaking with the people who give the store its personality and who build their customer base: the retail crew. Real working people who made sure your home movie-watching experience was a great one. We chatted, and I left. I knew there'd be another fire sale and I'd be able to get great movies for dimes on the dollar, but this was different. I felt a personal loss. I'd been relegated to the red kiosk outside the local grocery store, with no personality and no personal interaction until it came time to swipe my bank card. As I drove home, I really felt a pain in my chest. Not only would I miss the entire crew, but I'd miss them individually, and the way they really made my visits fun and personal. More people on the unemployment line, for nothing other than greed. We really need another liquor store. Better yet, we really need another liquor superstore. But now, there's no Blockbuster retail store left in the state of Connecticut. Just retail carrion for vultures like me to pick through, looking for that perfect movie to buy for a buck. Technology and greed, mostly greed, marches on. I really don't get it. Liquor stores were recently afforded the privilege of opening on Sundays, a first in the state of Connecticut. But I guess that wasn't enough. They had to eat the film store next door. How odd. You could do one-stop shopping there. Go grab your six-pack, or your bottle of red, and grab a movie of two for you and the kids. A perfect retail pairing. But how I forget the retail species which eats its young. Rest in peace, Blockbuster Naugatuck. You will be sorely missed.