I’ll Miss You, Video Stores

Video Verite is one of the several chic little shops that lines Portland’s Mississippi avenue. It’s the kind of place that groups movies by director and has lots of obscure specialty stuff. Posters line the walls, and the whole place has a decidedly movie-geek feel to it. It’s precisely the sort of establishment that makes Mississippi (and Portland in general) “hip.”

Pity that it will be gone within the decade.

I just took back a DVD, and I know that eventually such an activity will be utterly obsolete. Even renting movies seems a little silly, as I know I could just download them if I wanted to. As of now, everything that a video store offers is more or less superfluous. They traffic in video information, and everything that they offer can more or less be found online. Video Verite, and all of its siblings, will soon go the way of the newspaper.

This disappoints me a little. I like going there. I like the decor and being surrounded by titles. I like the atmosphere and how the place looks on the street. The staff seems nice- last night I wanted to get An American Werewolf in London, but it was out. The guy behind the counter effusively recommended Dog Soldiers, as an alternative, though, and we proceeded to geek out over our shared love of Ginger Snaps. This sort of foray into geeky expertise, being surrounded by movie-ness, is fun. It’s neat to go into a place where you know that all sorts of things you haven’t thought of await, and there are people who will gladly help cultivate your taste in whatever you’re into. I also like things like movie stores (and book stores) simply as fixtures of urban life. It just feels right for Mississippi to have a store like that.

It’s not an efficient system, though. Don’t get me wrong- I’m completely on the side of advancing technology, and making information more accessible. However, I know that urban fixtures that I appreciate will be phased out because of it. Soon, there won’t be any more posters or movie geeks behind the counter. There won’t be any rows of DVDs (or even Blu-Ray discs) looking at you from the shelves. You won’t need to walk around in movie-ness any more than you’ll need to get newsprint on your hands.

Obviously this makes me a little sad and wistful. The process of technological advancement that I’m so fond of won’t be without side effects. One of my favorite businesses will go under, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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