ONE IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER - BLOCK BUSTER
And that's exactly how many Blockbuster Video stores are now in existence since the last two Blockbuster stores in Alaska are shutting their doors. So the only remaining reminder of this once video rental giant will be in Bend, Oregon.
Oh how the mighty have fallen. This comes after John Oliver and Last Week Tonight gave the Anchorage store Russell Crowe movie memorabilia - namely a loin cloth form Cinderella Man. This is some time coming since Dish Network started closing them down in 2013. It only made sense that a place so isolated and so spotty in terms of internet coverage would still depend on video rentals from a brick and mortar store. But I guess that's in the past.
I guess my big question is what will happen to the jockstrap of Russell Crowe in this situation. I mean, who will give it a good home? I'm trying to figure out what the "This is part of my childhood that is now gone" sort of memory that I or anyone else will have about this. And I'm not really feeling it. In fact, I'm more along the lines of good riddance. This shit should have been shuttered a long time ago.
Full disclosure, I worked at Blockbuster. It wasn't the whole awesome experience. Then again, you wouldn't expect it to. I had to deal with a lot of bullshit excuses for late rentals and pissed off folks when they find out they have a $2 late fee. Which, I guess if you're renting a $5 movie, should you really want to argue for 10 minutes about a stupid small fee. I never understood that and I wasn't getting any pay incentive for collecting on late fees. 9 times out of 10, if they were cool with me or even just acted like a human being with me, I would just press the magic buttons in the computer and erase whatever stupid late fees there was.
I also created about 50 different fake Blockbuster accounts. The moment they tossed me in to that situation of creating accounts, I just had too much fun. I must have made a ton of comic book character accounts that I would eventually just toss and see what magic those accounts got into, trouble wise, over the years.
The worst thing about working there was the upper level management who took the job way to fucking seriously. It was a shitty job with shitty pay. No one is going to care as long as the ship was sort of running some what smoothly, which it really wasn't that difficult. Acceptance of the fact that on a Friday or Saturday night, the shelves were going to be complete and utter shit. Staffing up to clean up and prepare for the onslaught of the next day was key and it was something they could never get right, or they just didn't give a shit to get right.
One closing manager was the goddamn worst because.. well, she always would want to play one of two films. To catch you up, after we closed the doors and started cleaning, it would only make sense to toss something in to the VHS and have it play on all the screens. Well, this one manager loved the shit out of Eddie Murphy stand up comedy and they would only want to see either Raw or Delirious. At first it was great, but after several weeks of watching it, I'm pretty sure I can still recite the whole routine by heart. It got to the point that I and other workers would just hide the video somewhere in the store and claim that the tape was lost or rented out. She would check the system and it would create an hour extra of work in her looking for it.
I'll also touch on the stereotype of the art house/indie movie watcher working there that you'll never meet up to their expectation of cinema. I can tell you that working at blockbuster would crush those sort of starry eyed notions in a heart beat. It just didn't last. Not like you find in those independent rental stores that seem to exist for some reason - that reason is they rent out porn and more importantly, ignore your sick habits in a way only a doctor or a shrink in terms of keeping your secrets.
I do find it funny that Blockbuster went under. Their huge stance to just fuck you on late fees whenever possible was nothing short of worthy of some karmic justice. Those years I worked there were pretty rough on me. I used to drink a 2liter of Pepsi to deal with the hassle of the customers. It was retail work and no one should really complain about it, I guess. But yeah. That was fucking awful. Finding purpose in your work during those days was tough. Just the lack of concern and not giving a fuck was huge because of how corporate handled the workers and handled the customers.
So I guess what I'm saying is, shed no tear for this final lonely Blockbuster. It deserves the fate it is seeing.