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Monthly Archives: December 2009

I come from a fairly small suburban town in Massachusetts, where we do our best to support local business. Growing up my family and I would make weekend trips to our locally owned video store, Advanced Video. I have fond memories of making weekend trips there to pick out a movie and getting lost in the various nooks and crannies of the store as I browsed the comedy section. Sadly this store eventually closed shortly after my 13th birthday and we had to settle for the corporate alternative Blockbuster. Then when I came home for Thanksgiving Break I was astonished to find that Blockbuster was finally going out of business. I pulled up to the store and its windows were littered with large “Clearance” and “Sales” signs that were visible from the main road. Naturally I went in and as I was browsing the isles for bargains I started to wonder, “What could have brought this corporate giant to a close after being in business for so many years?” Then it hit me, Netflix was behind it. Netflix is an online DVD and Blu-ray Disc rental service, offering flat rate rental-by-mail and online streaming in the United States. Netflix appeals to its customers with their low rates, convenience, and wide selection of movies.  This is an issue around the country as Netflix is slowly becoming the norm, making local video stores and even the corporate giant Blockbuster obsolete.

Netflix may be the growing norm, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that going to your local video store is a lot more beneficial to both you and your community. By going to a local store you are paying for a friendlier atmosphere and employees who are cinematically knowledgeable and who offer better customer service than their counterparts. When you go to a store in your town you also develop a relationship with the workers, opposed to renting a video online where you interact with a computer and a series of phone tellers when you ask for customer service. Local employees will also offer personalized movie recommendations when you’re not quite sure what to get and help you find any movie you may have in mind, a service that does not come with Netflix.

Renting a movie is also supposed to be an experience in itself. When you go to the store there’s a whole process that comes with renting a movie, by simply clicking a button you miss out on this. When you go to the store you get to browse all the different isles for the perfect movie, buy movie snacks such as popcorn and soda to accompany the film, and debate with your company over which movie to finally rent. In a way it’s a bonding experience. By clicking a button you really don’t get the full movie experience that you would from going to a local store.

Finally by going to your local video store you are putting money back into your local economy. Many organizations have been established around the very idea of spending locally, such as Community Involved in Sustainable Agriculture that was established in Massachusetts whose focus is on buying produce from local farmers. When you rent a movie online it maybe inexpensive and convenient, but where does that money actually go? When you support local businesses your money stays within your community and helps to keep it financially stable, where as if you spent your money on a corporation you would be taking business away from local stores, potentially increasing unemployment rates. We have to remember too that the people that work at these stores are our neighbors and friends; they are members of our community. In spending your money on Netflix and similar corporations you may be driving your neighbors and friends out of business.

Netflix is slowly taking over the video renting market leaving little room for the small locally owned stores that we once grew up on to thrive. By supporting corporations like Netflix (which may save you a few bucks initially) you are hurting your local economy/ local businesses and potentially increasing the unemployment rate in your own town. Renting a movie should be an experience that you can enjoy with friends and family while stimulating the local economy, not a simple *Click* *Click* Done. If we don’t start supporting our local businesses now we will start to see a lot more stores closing in our communities, and not just video stores like Advanced Video and Blockbuster.