Five things we desperately miss about video shops.


I know it’s our fault video shops no longer exist because we maybe didn’t visit one for 10 years, and walked past apathetically as they literally begged us to “BUY 14 DVDs FOR 25 CENTS OR WE’RE OUT OF BUSINESS DO YOU UNDERSTAND.”

Yes we understood. We just didn’t give a sh*t. 

We were all very busy fussing over Netflix which didn’t require us to get out a second mortgage because we returned a movie a day late.

But now some of us feel… regret.

Because we miss the smell of popcorn mixed with hope and excitement, but also plastic.

We now feel nostalgic for some of our earliest memories, which inevitably involved our mum yelling about video shop late fees and maybe accusing them of being ‘thieves’ while we hid in the ‘Arthouse’ section hoping that no one knew we were related.

We miss the Friday night expedition of heading to the video shop, racing towards the ‘New Release’ section only to discover that the movie you wanted is all rented out.

Here are the six things we miss the most, two decades on from the Golden Era of the Video Shop.

  1. The popcorn, but also the snacks more broadly

There is no snack food currently on the market that competes with video shop popcorn and that is a scientific fact.

It varied slightly, of course, depending on the shop. Video Ezy weirdly sucked all the air out of their popcorn so that it looked like one of those Space Bags. Blockbuster tried to push microwave popcorn and no. That’s not what we wanted. 

They had other standard snacks like M&Ms and Maltesers, and the fact that they were always slightly overpriced made you want them more. 

     2. The smell

It smelled like happiness and potential.

There was always a faint hint of microwave popcorn which in retrospect didn’t make… sense.


The whole shop also smelled like the inside of DVD case which had the scent of a) new and b) toxic plastic. Mmmm.

    3. The deals

Sometimes you went to the counter with one DVD only to be told it would be cheaper if you got 18 and suddenly all your plans for the week ahead were thrown out.

You knew in your soul that you couldn’t watch them all, and also that you’d lose two or three over the course of a week. But you couldn’t say no to the 16-year-old boy who just needed you to spend less monies on more movies.

     4. The excitement of new releases


You knew what date Titanic came out. And you were there, doing that thing where you check behind the plastic cover to see IF THERE’S A DVD BEHIND IT.

Seeing it there, ready to be rented, to watch in the comfort of your home, gave you a feeling in your gut that made you want to wee a little bit and shot pins and needles down your legs.

       5. The family excursion

You see, everyone had to go to the video shop. You couldn’t send a representative. There was too much at stake.

You’d split up. Cover as much ground as possible in a short amount of time. You only had eight minutes before mum realised she had better things to do and tried to usher everyone out.

You went to the horror section and read all the blurbs. THERE WAS NO GOOGLE AS WE KNOW IT TODAY SO YOU HAD TO GO WITH YOUR INSTINCTS. Was it going to be a… good movie? Or one of the worst ever created? Who knew. That was the risk.

It is a modern day tragedy that we have lost video shops forever – and it’s important to acknowledge that there were two reasons for their demise.

The first is that their business model was entirely flawed, and the second is that they stopped charging my mum late fees because they were terrified of her.

…. Sorry.

But we shan’t ever forget the good times.

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