So every time we go to Costco, it seems as though the movie section is smaller and smaller. This has been annoying me for years. And I decided I was going to write about that for today. And I went to look on their website to find out how big their selection of movies was on their website. And I couldn’t find it. What I could find was what you see above—their selection of caskets and urns. From Costco. You can’t buy the latest season of, say, The Walking Dead or Best Picture winner The Shape of Water, but for caskets, Costco’s got you covered.
It’s going to take me a while to get over this. Because of course it is. This is like the time I discovered that Amazon will let you Subscribe and Save to buy urns—who needs to do that? But I keep hearing about the Death Of Physical Media. And of course the Death Of Brick And Mortar Stores. But honestly? There are fewer and fewer places in my city to buy a DVD. Best Buy seems to be about a third filled with cell phone options, and their DVD section is shrinking. Target’s got a larger and larger Geek Merchandising section, but fewer Blu-Rays all the time. We do have a funky little independent record shop, but I don’t think you can buy movies there.
We go to Amazon when we want to buy movies because there are fewer and fewer places to buy movies. Oh, okay. The last place I steadily bought physical media in person was my local grocery store’s previously viewed section, but that’s gone. They’ve got a rental kiosk now and fill the part of the store that used to be movies with Seahawks merchandise—they were taking it out last I saw, presumably to replace it with Mariners merchandise, and this is April.
I think a lot of people are getting out of the habit of holding their purchases in their hands. They’re getting out of the habit of browsing, of looking on the backs of boxes to see what else the movie comes with. And then, when the choice to do that is taken away, people lament that we don’t do that anymore. But where would we? I like flipping through a stack of movies and deciding on the spur of the moment to buy one—it’s how I acquired Chicago, for one, though that perhaps doesn’t count as it was previously viewed and on sale. Still. I’d never seen it. I blind-bought it. I made the choice between it and several others.
Where I really miss that option is renting. I find it difficult to do that when I’m looking at a screen. I have spent many a lazy afternoon picking up and putting down boxes, talking them over with others, pointing out the amusing bits of the cover image. And, yes, I’ve had Netflix for like ten years now. And I still have a disc program—I get three discs at a time. I don’t often rent any other way. But I got my Netflix membership because I wasn’t sharing movies at that time. It was when my boyfriend was in Iraq, and I needed the movies to distract myself.
All right, there are a lot of excuses. Still, I can’t help wondering if part of the issue is that stores don’t expect us to buy things there anymore, so they take away our options, so fewer people buy there. So on, in the vicious circle. And in the end, you can buy a casket from a mass-market retailer but not a copy of Moana.
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