Remember When we rented from Video Stores??

Remember when we used to go to a store to rent videos??  I find it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that the phenomenon of the video store began and ended in my lifetime.

When I was a kid we patronized mom and pop video stores.  There was a video store on Route 112 in Medford, NY and one on Montauk Highway in Patchogue, NY that we used to patronize all the time.  Every store was basically the same.   You walk in a glass door to find rows and rows and every wall space filled with rectangular video boxes and movie posters.  Some offered microwave popcorn, candy and soda.  Some of the stores also had “the back room” for the adult movies usually with a curtain or beads to keep the kids out.  I have so many great memories of perusing those shelves in search of something to watch.

The process was simple.  You turned over your drivers license and a credit card and they gave you a video rental card.  This gave you the right to rent video of your choosing.  Of course, back then we had to use our parents card to rent because we couldn’t get our own.  We also had to have special permission on file to rent R rated movies. My friends and I rented mostly horror movies and watched them at night during sleepovers.  I had one friend who’s mom also enjoyed horror movies so she would take us to the video store and rent a couple of low budget 80’s horror movie.  The lower the budget the better the film was back then.

There would always be that “be Kind, rewind” sticker on the video tape although.  I remember when they sold special VCR tape rewinders.

Then came a time when big chain video stores made their appearance.  Blockbuster, West Coast Video, Movie Gallery etc.  The Mom and Pop video stores began to disappear, sadly.  I disliked Blockbuster right from the start.  They had a very homogenized selection of videos there and it got worse as their history moved on.  I loved West Coast video because they always had what I was looking for and you didn’t pay until you brought your video’s back.   That was really cool. Of course, there was a sticker on each video reminding you that if you didn’t rewind the video you would be charged $.50.

With the advent of Netflix, video stores got less and less business and even Blockbuster later got into the mail order video rental game. I was guilty of joining Netflix and have been a member for years enjoying the convenience of having a “Queue” in which I could pre-select my movies and have them automatically shipped to me as I returned them.  And it was an unlimited number of rentals for one low monthly fee for which you could have three movies home at one time.  I watched hundreds of movies this way when I was single. An amazing deal.
Then netflix decided to play with their service and pricing structure. Offering only streaming or only mail order for a lesser price or you could maintain streaming and mail order for a slightly higher price.  At this point my usage had gone down after I got married so I was forced to pay the same price for less service.

Then came RedBox.  Whoever invented this was a genius.  Go to a box, look for a movie, pay a low price, receive a movie.  No memberships needed.  I also use redbox.  But there are pros and cons for each rental option.

Pros and Con’s of Netflix and redbox

Netflix Pro’s

  • Mail order convenience.
  • Great selection of new, old, obscure movies.
  • Streaming option
  • Ability to “queue” movies and shows for rental with automatic shipping as movies are returned.
  • Tv series available for streaming and mail rental.
  • Some games.


  • Change in pricing . service structure.
  • Not a terribly great selection of streaming movies available.
Red Box Pro’s

  • Quick video rental on a whim
  • Low price
  • Games available.
  • Rent from and return to any redbox location.


  • Not a great selection

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