(89 Stories)

Prompted By Good Riddance

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Oh, it was so great at the beginning. My husband brought home the machine from his office and we went off the the video rental store and wandered the aisles like kids in a candy store. On a weekend, after the kids went to bed, we’d watch movies back to back, remembering to “be kind and rewind.” He would go back on Monday with the VCR, blinking in the sunlight after staring at the screen for hours on Saturday and Sunday. It was so new and exciting, especially for parents of young kids who had to pay for a sitter when we wanted to see movies on the big screen.

And then someone (me) would have to get in the car and return the tapes we’d rented. If you were late, there might be a fee. Sometimes we were late. And sometimes, we may have put the tape in the wrong box. The tapes could be defective, and so there went date night, or you had to deal with disappointed kids who had a bowl of popcorn and high expectations about seeing Duck Soup or The Wizard of Oz.


When videos began phasing out, we realized we no longer needed the machine that played them. The rise of the DVD meant making more room on the shelves for those skinny boxes. Adios, VCR.

I think the last video rental store in my neighborhood is now a bank or something. Sure, you can rent a DVD Red Box at the grocery store, but why would you? Everything I could possibly want to see (or just about everything) is readily available on Amazon Prime, Netflix and others. making the choices both easier and harder.

I don’t miss the old tapes, or  the renting and returning and all the time it took to find just the right thing to watch when the kids were quarantined with chicken pox, or the slacker teens in their logo t-shirts who sat behind the counter, judging your movie choices. Nope, it was good riddance to all of that.


Characterizations: been there, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Well, yes and no. The technology made it possible to tape things off TV easily (yes, I know, we can DVR things now), but fast forward and rewind easily, and keep our stuff around forever, not just rent. I am one of those freaks who bought movies…lots of them and still have many in my basement. My favorites got ruined in a flood a few years ago. I still had a functioning machine until I checked to see if those bad tapes were really ruined. I assumed I ruined the machine as well. I know the quality is horrendous compared to the hi-def we get today, but I just love my old, out of circulation movies. I buy and watch DVDs too. Can’t always stream what ever you want. We don’t subscribe to every service. We didn’t use the rentals all that much because you couldn’t always get what you wanted and they were frequently poor quality, so I’m with you there. I know it was inconvenient and more expensive than what we do today, but I wish I could could watch my old library. And I want to replace (with DVDs) the tapes destroyed in the flood. Nothing I can do about the stuff I taped off TV (like one of Daniel Day-Lewis’s early movies that was so awful that it went straight to video, but I got it off TV once…”Eversmile, NJ”, awful, but interesting).

  2. Suzy says:

    So true, Risa. We bought a VCR right after my first child was born in 1985, along with a videocamera to take home videos of her. I still remember our first movie rental, which was Flashdance. And while we mostly rented from Blockbuster, we did buy some of our favorite movies, especially the Disney ones so the kids could watch them over and over. I still have all of our videotapes, as well as one old TV with a built-in VCR that I have saved in case we want to watch them. Can’t quite say good riddance yet. But I agree, having Netflix and Amazon Prime makes life a lot easier!

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