The Death of Blockbuster: A Eulogy

Blockbuster will file for bankruptcy later this month, marking the official end of the era of bricks-and-mortar video stores.  Esquire mourns what we've lost in the transition to Netflix's rent-by-mail system:

Blockbuster branded video-renting as a communal act. Whether you were a kid out with friends, a teenager out with a date, or a parent out with the family, you had some sense of mass belonging.

You never really knew what you'd find or experience when you stepped inside. Sure, it would never likely be transgressive or especially exotic—good luck in the foreign section—but there was value in the sheer volume of titles, each of which must have entertained someone. From the high-demand new release section to the unorganized row of recent returns at the front desk—where customers plucked hot new titles with the ferocity of lottery addicts—it was where we went to win.

Read the full story at Esquire.
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Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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