Five Reasons To Rent Movies From Your Local Video Store

photo by Carl Jameson

photo by Carl Jameson
My dvd player waiting to be feed the latest straight-to-dvd movie featuring a b-list cast. © Carl Jameson 2015

If you’re lucky enough to still have a video store in your town or neighborhood, and most likely you don’t, you should pay it a visit. Renting movies from the video store isn’t as easy as streaming a movie, but it’s more of an adventure…



The search for the perfect popcorn movie on a Friday night can be part of the evening’s entertainment. I’m lucky because there’s a good video store within walking distance from my house. I walk to the store and get to know my neighborhood better: the cats, the dog walkers, the after Happy Hour revelers and after dinner joggers.

You may not be so lucky and you’ll have to bike to a kiosk or drive to one of the few stores left in your town. You can always borrow one from your local library of which mine has tons.


Walking around the video store makes you ambitious, if that’s the right word, to watch all of “what’s that director’s name again?” films. There’s pleasure in browsing the aisles of the video store. The history of cinema and television is all there: from the earliest rudimentary magic of “A Trip To The Moon” to “Godzilla 3D”

Each DVD cover beckons like a carnival barker screaming out thrills and chills. The designers of dvd artwork know you judge a movie by it’s cover and that good design will make you grab before you think. Most of of the movies inside disappoint, but that’s part of the attraction.


Talk to the clerks. They’re friendly.

They’re able to find titles that are misplaced or to recommend selections that you may not have known existed. They’re movie watching pros and Liberal Arts majors trained to see no difference between high and low art. Everything has a meaning and can be “read” – like your mustache.


I get to support a local business with, admittedly, an outdated business model that will only survive if the store is full of hard-to-find movies. That should be easy enough, especially if Netflix’s algorithms keep trimming their selection to only the most popular movies.

Don’t discount the remaining video store operators. They’re smart. And if they follow the lead of small bookstores and record stores they’ll survive the onslaught of digital competitors too. Their success will keep a tiny percentage of money in your neighbor’s pockets and out of the hands of big digital.


DVDs allow you to watch movies without being watched at the same time. Sure, the video store clerk knows you rented “Waterworld” for the third time, but they don’t share the information with all their corporate and security minded buddies.

Privacy rights and DVDs are things of the past in our always connected age and as such most people don’t care about them. It’s OK not to be connected to the corporate run internet 24/7 and have your every move, thought and eye twitch tracked and monetized.



You’ll need to return the DVD on time or face a late charge.

Late charges suck and can make renting from the video store more expensive but, it’s only courteous to return your movie on time. And you get to visit the video store again.


The DVD may be scratched, be unplayable or skip.

Think of it as a lesson in anger management. You can choose to see it as an opportunity for keeping things in perspective or you can completely explode and yell at the clerk while he studies your mustache. A mustache that signals mommy issues.


You have to leave the house…but on the way to the video store you can stream the latest episode of “Storage Wars” to your mobile, maybe they’ll find a storage unit full of unrecorded VHS tapes.

Oh, don’t forget to look both ways before you cross the street.

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