Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Old Fart Central: R.I.P.

Aw, man, the Videorama store is closing.

I guess it had to happen sooner or later, and this is way, way later than you'd think. Videorama is a little neighborhood store that rented DVDs or CDs or PBJs or whatever they were--the things you jam into one of your boxes with all the cords hanging out of them and a movie would appear on your TV as long as you could figure out which of the seventeen remotes you don't dare throw out is the right one. It was just our speed. We had a routine. We'd decide to watch Breaking Bad and we'd go down the block and fetch the beginning of Season One, with five days on the rental, and then we'd go back six days later and pay the late fee. We're not really set up for binge watching. Dave falls asleep twenty minutes after the TV comes on and I have to keep monitoring him to see where I'm going to have to back it up to the next night. But it worked for us. It got us out on a rainy night for a little walk and the ice cream store was right there on the way back.

We weren't the only ones in there, either. There'd always be a half dozen old farts shuffling through the aisles and, remarkably, two or three people behind the counter. I loved those kids. They'd help out when we finally discovered we were missing Breaking Bad episodes. It took us a while because we were accustomed to being confused about the plot and, after all, something horrible was always happening to the characters, so it looked right. Turned out the manufacturers would put out discs and call them "Complete Season One" before half the episodes had been produced, and we'd think we had the whole thing. So we got in the habit of coming in with our disc, handing it to the counter kid, paying our late fee, and he'd find us the correct new one.

The thing is, we figured we were just about the only people left who rented movies. Everyone else had gone over to some other system. For years people have been getting movies through their mail slots and then later they were sucking them straight out of the air and into their TVs. I looked into it, once. I would have needed a new box of some sort, and sure, I could probably find room for it on top of the old Tivo or the eight-track player, but accumulating another new box with wires depressed me in a way that walking in the rain to Videorama didn't. Especially with the ice cream store right there on the way back.

Now you don't need the new box as long as you have a new TV. I still wasn't sure how any of it worked. It wouldn't have surprised me in the least to discover that people were now summoning movies directly to their retinas by licking their phones. "It's easy," they'd say, "and if you spring for the laser treatment one time to get the chip implant, you can just pay for it by blinking." I'm not interested. My retinas definitely do not support High-Definition and I'd probably scrape the shows off with my monocle anyway.

But our nephew keeps dropping off appliances as he upgrades, and so we found ourselves in possession  of a new TV, and we hung towels on it and such, and seven months later a young friend plugged it in for us, and showed us how to suck movies out of the air with it, and it's all working very nicely. But I can't help but feel that the little Netflix button on the new remote was what drove the last nail into the Videorama coffin, and I'm sorry.

33 comments:

  1. Our wifi is so lame we can't suck movies out of the air. They keep stopping to do whatever rebuffering is. So we are still the old farts getting discs in the mail. We even have a TV with a little Netflix button, but it might as well not be there.

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    1. Your internet must be really shiny by now!

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  2. Suck movies out of the air, that is a great way to describe it. We used to visit a video rental place too, and it had a huge selection, and the clerks would recommend things. We do use Netflix now like you.

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    1. Sooner or later nobody will have a job anymore and we'll all stay indoors.

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    2. People do have jobs in this scenario, but it is at Netflix instead of Videorama. We also get CDs mailed to us via Netflix in addition to the option of streaming since we also have problems with buffering on the streaming movies even thought Cox Cable promised that wouldn't happen any longer if we upgraded ($$$)to premier level. We get TV, telephone and internet with Cox Cable for $320.71 a month. I am stunned at the exorbitant price and wonder if anyone else pays so much around the country. Cox is the only game in town although Verizon FiOS is coming in and they may be an OK competitor to cable. Just don't know anything about them.

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  3. Sorry, I have to ask, has anyone invented sucking ice cream out of the air? If the answer's "No", then Netflix is NOT progress :o(

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    1. I'm putting you on it. Get back to us.

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    2. I'm putting you on it. Get back to us.

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  4. I refuse to keep up with this weeks latest technology. In fact I am still collecting and listening to vinyl records. I'm still awed by indoor plumbing.

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  5. You might still have a savior! We have these "Red Box" video rental machines springing up all over. Like at the grocery store. Pretty easy to do, and all you gotta do is remember to take them back, damn it.

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  6. I know... between this and Amazon prime delivering everything I would not need to leave my home at all... hummmmm

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  7. Hilarious and true, Murr! We don't watch movies anymore. Husband falls asleep same time as Dave. I get restless legs sitting for that long watching TV, but not sitting reading. Figure that (psychosomatic) one out!

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    1. It's because your brain is working when you read and it shuts the body down so it can concentrate.

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  8. I've taken to watching saved episodes of tv shows on my laptop.
    The chap who used to own the local video rental place now sells high-end real estate...

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    1. Around here, there's no other kind of real estate.

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  9. Yes, I admire the business plan of Neflix and their honesty. They had to raise rates this year and sent me an email telling me, unlike Comcast that triples rates and never explains at all.

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    1. Sure they did! "It's April! Time for your every-three-month because-we-can ten-dollar screw-you rate increase!"

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  10. I had to buy something in an actual department store this week, and it reminded me of why I prefer to do my shopping online whenever possible: the sales people were circling me like a flock of vultures around a sick rabbit.

    We used to have a neighborhood video rental place that I could walk to, but I so much prefer Netflix. I just give them a list of what I want to watch and they send it to me, and I can watch whenever I want with no late fees. I'm usually resistant to new-fangled technology, except for the technology that allows me to stay the hell home instead of dealing with over-eager sales help.

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    1. I wonder how much of what we love about technology is how it allows us to live with a blanket over our heads.

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  11. Well, I watch movies and TV series that I get FOR FREE from the library, and download audiobooks and ebooks to listen to as well on my Kindle Fire, that I don't have to pay any monthly fee for, so I am sittin' purdy. We don't have cable or Netflix. If I didn't get the physical discs at the library and just downloaded audiobooks or ebooks, I wouldn't even have to go to the library once a week, as I do now, as it would all be done through the ether.

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    1. I still kinda miss our counter guys. Sure, they were probably all on the autism spectrum, but I like expertise in action.

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    2. Hang on a second, sculptor1, rewind a bit. Is there an ice cream parlour located between you and the library? We might be on to something!

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    3. There is! Baskin Robbins right on the way. Like to join me?

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  12. Netflix is available way downunder in Australia too. My daughter has a friend who uses it and occasionally thinks about getting it for herself. I'm holding off until she does and then she can help me out when I don't understand any of it. Nobody I know has rented videos or DVDs for at least two decades. Not even when the rental shops also sold snacks, ice creams and drinks, and bargains such as 3 for $5 for a week.

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    1. Hold out for a foot massage while you're at it.

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  13. We moved into the modern age a couple of months ago. Now if we could only convince Netflix Canada to get the fourth season of Wentworth, I'd be sittin' pretty.

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    1. Oh dear, I don't even know what Wentworth is, or is worth.

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  14. It takes me awhile to give up my old farthood ways, too, but Netflix is really cool. I just wish I COULD find the remote for my DVD player, though. (Oh, and try Orange is the New Black. Intense, dark, and you can fast forward thru the lesbian sex scenes if you want.)

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