Blockbuster is closing hundreds of stores — over 500 this year, on top of 374 last year. In the most recent quarter the once-swaggering company lost $435 million — on top of a $360 million loss a year ago.
I hadn’t thought about Blockbuster in years — in today’s world there’s Netflix (the old-fashioned mail way, plus its streaming service), Hulu, and 5 new technologies that were announced just last night — but the news made me think about my old (very old) friend on the Post Road. It shrunk to half its size last year, ceding the east end to a big-and-tall clothing store (not my cup of tea).
I couldn’t imagine Blockbuster’s business model working in Westport anymore. Particularly when the library offers DVDs for the fairly low price of free.
I called the Westport store. A chirpy voice answered — a ringing phone was probably the most excitement she’d had all day.
“Blockbuster is shutting lots of stores,” I said. “Is Westport one of them?”
“We’re fine,” she replied.
“Well, how’s business?” I asked.
“Do you need something?” she countered.
“Like someone else I can talk to there?” I said. I was thinking like, you know, a manager.
“Like a DVD?” she wondered.
No. I did not need a DVD.
And I don’t know anyone else in Westport who still needs anything from Blockbuster.
Which is why I’m not sure business really is fine, over at the local “video rental store.”