Blockbuster Video, I knew you well.
On November 6th Dish Network announced plans to close the last Blockbuster stores. An era has ended. I put in a good three years at Blockbuster. I even made my way up to a glorified whipping boy otherwise called a Shift Leader. Some days it was the greatest job in the world. Other days, not so much. What I do remember most was the camaraderie I had with my fellow employees. While I may not keep up with most of them anymore, I can name just about all of them. We were in the trenches together and we counted on one another.
The memories of weekends still send shivers up my spine. Friday and Saturday nights were our game nights. Most of the time we didn’t leave until 2 a.m. because the store looked like a bomb had gone off. We could always count on lines that stretched to the back of the store. People regularly yelled and screamed obscenities at us that would make sailors blush in shame. Inevitably, every other customer would be upset about the latest hit not being available for them. This was usually around 9 p.m. On a weekend. The stupidity of people never ceased to amaze me.
Some nights would be so busy that we would actually start trivia games with the customers in line. The winners would get free popcorn or candy or possibly even a rental. Whatever we had to do to keep a riot from breaking out. Really, it was more fun than it sounds. Usually the violence was kept to a minimum. Usually. God forbid it rained or snow. Those were the days when everyone in the city of Fort Worth decided to show up at the very store I was working at. On those days, we ran out of everything. Seriously, I watched a guy rent Gigli out of desperation. Good times.
One thing that was guaranteed was that you had to work every holiday. The stores just didn’t close. Ever. No, you could look forward to working Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and everything in between. In fact, my first day was on Thanksgiving. I signed up as seasonal help. How the hell it wound up being three years is completely beyond me, but I digress.
Well, now it’s time to say my permanent goodbyes to the big blue ticket. The late fees, the endless lines of customers, the Blockbuster Rewards Cards, the trip after trip with the movie cart, all of those things are gone forever. One day I will be over the trauma. One day I will have fond memories instead of nightmares when I think about a video store. I can start the process of recovery now. Blockbuster, I’d like to say I’ll miss you, but really I’m just going to try and forget you.