Just as we know that video killed the radio star, I’m certain that Netflix butchered the video store. The ease of scrolling screen after screen to find the perfect picture for movie night – all done from the comfort of your couch – beat out the act of getting in your car and taking your kids to a video store to select a flick from one of its genre-specific aisles.
But that makes me sad. So sad, in fact, that I am one of the people who still hits up my local Family Video, which is going strong after 40 years, to pick out a movie or two to watch with my husband after our toddler goes to bed.
While we can rent a movie at home with a click of a button or scroll the selection on Netflix, Amazon Prime and more, there is something to be said for walking the aisles of a video store.
Here are five reasons I think taking your kids to a video store is still valuable – and why parents need to make that happen.
1. New releases and ‘coming soon.’
The excitement of the new arrivals and the anticipation of what’s to come – they are all viewable on a sign by the front door of the video store. You simply walk in and it’s right there.
Perhaps one of the new releases catches your eye – then you can just walk over to the new release section – in alpha order wrapped around the store – to pick it up.
Don’t find your copy? Just walk up to ask an employee if one was recently returned. Sure, that requires talking to people, but it’s a great skill for your child to learn, don’t you think?
2. Browse the aisles.
Today’s kids will never understand the joy of walking up and down the aisles of Blockbuster. You guys, for real, the sense of nostalgia I feel just typing this out right now is indescribable.
You remember what it was like, right? Just being able to walk into the video store and hike it from aisle-to-aisle until you came across the perfect movie for your night.
When I was a kid, that’s what my Friday nights were all about – of course, I was careful to avoid the horror section because it gave me the heebie-jeebies. But I took my time to select one, two or three movies to take home.
3. You can read the back cover.
Browsing the aisles leads me to this next point, which might seem silly but I still find it rather enjoyable. You can actually pick up the DVD case, flip it over and read the synopsis on the back cover. Don’t like what you read? Move along to the next movie.
It’s sort of like being able to pick up a copy of a magazine versus reading it online – it’s the same end result, but it’s a different user experience, and it’s one I still enjoy.
4. Discover the oldies.
From classics like Gone with the Wind and My Fair Lady to B-movies, animated flicks and sitcoms, there are so many things to discover – and one just might pop out at you at your local video store. After all, you are walking up and down those aisles – you never know that you’ll find.
5. Stock up on snacks.
Popcorn, ice cream, pop, chocolate and other goodies are conveniently located by the front counter. That means you don’t have to stop at 7-11 or your local grocery store to grab some grub for your movie marathon. Consider it a one-stop shop.
While I understand the convenience of selecting a movie from the comfort of your home, I’m all for packing up the kids and heading to your local video store. It’s a special experience that I truly believe makes memories for families. I know it did for mine.
Photo from Family Video Facebook page / @curiouslycomposed