I flew back from Chicago in the middle of last week and worked from home for a couple of days. I had been away for over a week so to redress that balance was a welcome change. My son (only half) joked that that he found himself coming to ask me about his homework only to find that I wasn’t there.
I used the local sports centre each day to satisfy my daily fitness centre needs but found myself frustrated by long delays due to construction work on the main road. I had to find an alternative route, even though I realised that, despite not being stuck in traffic, the extra distance would equate to the same overall driving time.
My alternative route took me past the shop a couple of times before I realised that it had closed down. Silver Video had for years been one of the most common stores I visited. The clue to what had happened was in the name. When it opened some 20 years ago it was a rental store for video cassettes. My wife and I spent many a memorable hour forlornly looking for any video that we had even heard of let alone wanted to watch. The more memorable moment was that disappointment when the video we had searched for, paid for and then taken home turned out to be boring, or unfunny, or both!
Ten (or so) years ago, Silver Video morphed in front of our eyes into a DVD shop with only a handful of videos remaining for a few months in a discount basket. Everything else was much the same – a regular visit (although more often with my children rather than my wife)…the forlorn search…and the inevitable disappointment. At least DVDs were easier to skip through, and you never had to rewind them because the previous renter couldn’t be bothered.
But today Silver Video is closed and empty. When I thought about it, I realised they had tried every trick possible to keep going – loyalty cards, free delivery, no penalty for late return. But nothing they did was able to stave off the inevitable. They were operating a defunct model in a rapidly changing market…a marketplace where hundreds of movies are available from our living rooms – by internet streaming, via cable/satellite TV or even through door to door delivery.
These days I can select my movies without even leaving my sofa. Unfortunately, not much has changed in terms of the forlorn search and inevitable disappointment; but at least I can avoid that moment when the one film I do want to watch is already out on rental.
Silver Video became obsolete. They had a good run of prosperity and profit, but the world changed around them. Their market disappeared in front of them. They were either not willing or not able to adapt to survive. My assumption is that the people have moved on to other businesses and other roles, but that video store – that business – is no more.
The only movie rental stores I see these days tend to be specialists in larger towns. Or have other associated money generating activities such as coffee bars, or vinyl records! Perhaps I am underestimating Silver Video – maybe they saw the future coming and chose a planned exit on their terms?
Would it have been possible for them to evolve fast enough and far enough to have survived? I don’t know, but in truth I am left with the feeling that despite what they saw and what they thought and what they knew, they had just hoped it was not true.