For the most part I enjoy the Redbox system for renting movies. While I dislike the pressure of someone standing behind me in line and I don’t particularly care for the onslaught of questions that come after I select my title the convenience and low cost outweigh my gripes. In fact I am so accustomed to the Redbox way of things that it takes a little bit of a nudge to remember how things used to be.
That nudge came yesterday when I needed to pick up a couple movies that came out several years ago. Redbox specializes in new releases, which is just fine with me as I don’t usually have an urge to watch older movies, but of course with the task ahead of me I needed to turn back the clock and visit a type of business that I had not entered since before I started my twenties. I am talking about a movie rental store.
Although how could I visit a movie rental store when Blockbuster and Hollywood Video bit the dust and entered the corporation dinosaur graveyard years ago? Wait a minute, you mean to tell me that mom and pop video stores still exist? Well you didn’t need to tell me that because I already know…I actually drive by Missoula’s own relic each day on my way to work. Nestled in an old shopping mall area on the east side of town right off from campus is a place called Crazy Mike’s Video. Having frequented it a couple times during my early college years and even making note of its retro nature back then I prepared myself for a trip in the time machine.
I don’t know what word to characterize the vibe that came over me when I entered the place other than depressing. When I walked through the shoplifting proof doors of Crazy Mike’s I became the one and only customer. The store was neat and tidy with shelves adequately lined with DVDs but I just had that sense that places like this shouldn’t exist anymore. I felt out of place. This is of course in no disrespect to Crazy Mike’s because surviving with that type of business model in this current era of on demand and kiosk rentals is an extraordinary feat. However, I personally just didn’t feel inspired.
As the only customer I didn’t want to put pressure on the girl behind the counter to get up from her post and ask if I needed help finding anything so I just went directly to her and asked if she had the movies I was looking for. She typed them into the computer and reported that the store had both and I could find them in the comedy section. I trekked to the comedy area, tracked the titles down alphabetically, and went back ten years as I pulled the movie from the shelf. I took the DVDs to the counter and before the employee could say anything I politely said I would need to create a Crazy Mike’s account.
She took me through the process and got me set up. If I could have paid double for the rentals as a way of not having to go through the time and trouble of getting an account created I would have. When it was all said and done I paid a shockingly low $4.50 for both movies and she surprised me when she said I had them for a whole week. As I walked out of the store a faint smile crossed my face as the Crazy Mike’s sticker at the corner of the DVD’s had a “Be Kind Rewind” message on it.
Most likely the last time I ever go back to the place will be when I return my current rentals. I react favorably to some nostalgia but for whatever reason I didn’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling with the old school mom and pop movie rental store. Just not my thing. Don’t Blink.