The Video Store Days #16: Wrong Nostalgia?

There are many people out there who chastise people for having nostalgia for Blockbuster Video or Hollywood Video. Is it wrong to have nostalgia for these video stores?

Should you NOT have nostalgia for something because the company or thing that you are having the nostalgia for wasn’t the greatest? This was a question that I have seen posted before on the social media. This is in regards to Blockbuster Video, the biggest video store in the world until it wasn’t. There is a documentary on Netflix called, THE LAST BLOCKBUSTER, that covers the company as a whole as well as gives us a look at the last Blockbuster in existence.

When I was a teenager, I had really bad depression and anxiety. I used to leave the house and walk around the neighborhood trying to get back to myself. In 1994, we got a Blockbuster down the street from my house. At the time, I was not allowed to cross the main street that split the town I grew up in into two halves because it was a very dangerous street. Therefore I could not go to the video store that I always went to with my parents. After I was allowed to cross this street, my mother’s fears came true and I was hit by a car trying to cross the very same street she didn’t want me to cross. This new Blockbuster was on the same side of the street as my house, which meant I could go there whenever I wanted.

I would walk up to this Blockbuster and walk through the aisles, taking in the movies. There were times when I would go up there a few times a week. I knew this store like the back of my hand. In fact, if you asked me to draw out the layout of the store and where everything was, I could do it with ease. When I would go there, I would pick up every video box and read it, taking mental notes of who was in the film and who worked on the film. This is how I learned a lot about directors, actors, producers, and film company names. My parents put me on their account so I could go there any time I wanted to and rent whatever I wanted. It was nice to have the freedom to do this as a teenager.

I became friends with a girl who worked there. She asked me once why I came up to the store all the time and would leave with nothing. I told her and she actually had sympathy for me. She looked at my history of rentals at the store and would hold movies for me. I didn’t rent all of them, but I did rent a lot of them. She would also give me free stuff from time to time like the calendars Blockbuster used to sell around Christmas every year. There were coupons in the back of the calendar and it was always nice to not have to pay for them. She would also let me rent movies even if I didn’t have any money. I later found out you could do this at any Blockbuster by adding the balance to the account. I was always grateful of the way she treated me and all the stuff she did for me.

That Blockbuster closed less than ten years after it opened. When I was working for Hollywood Video, I had a district manager who had worked for Blockbuster before she made her to Hollywood Video. We were talking one day and she mentioned that she had opened that Blockbuster store (it was her first one). I told her the stories I told above and she told me that they closed the store because crime was really high in that part of the neighborhood and it became unsafe to have that store there.

So, is it wrong that I am taking a look back at a time when Blockbuster Video helped get through a few troubled years in my life? No. It is not. It is not wrong to have nostalgia about the things you liked in your past. Unless the thing or things you are having nostalgia for were bad or got people hurt. The thing is that most people have nostalgia for things that were a positive in their lives and there is nothing wrong with that. Nostalgia is a good thing. The things we are nostalgic for helped shape who we are today. That song you are nostalgic for? That helped shape your life even if it was a small thing.

The other thing is: We didn’t all grow up with multiple video stores within a decent drive from your house. Some people only had a Blockbuster or Hollywood Video in their town. They grew up with Blockbuster as their only video store. Are you going to tell those people that the nostalgia they have for the only video store they ever knew is wrong? There is no way in hell I am going to do that. I can’t do that. That could ruin someone. You are a monster if you do that.

So, have nostalgia for the things you are nostalgic for. Don’t worry about what other people say about the things you have fond memories of. Who gives a shit what other people think? Relive the things you have great memories of. I know I do.

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