In this age of BitTorrent, Apple TV, Netflix DVD mailers, and even Netflix streaming, you'd think that a reasonably with-it mid-twentysomething like myself would take advantage of one of these technologies when he wants to see a movie. You'd be dead wrong.
As shameful as it would seem to be to admit, I still go to Blockbuster. Their entire business model has imploded, H. Wayne Huizenga has had to sell the Marlins, and yet there I am still paying my $5.43 (plus late fees). As I'm sure none of my readers has been to a Blockbuster since the Social Security "reform" fiasco, let me share with you the marvelous human ecosystem that still thrives in the harsh environment of the few remaining Blockbusters -- who knows, maybe you'll even stop by one of these days:
Mid-30s White Man-Child (Employee)- In some amorphous supervisory role but still not the manager. Very knowledgeable about movies but not interested in helping you, preferring to sulk as he considers his station in life. The oversized dark blue polo shirt, tent-like khaki pants, and white sneakers contribute heavily to his man-childness.
Benefit: Makes you happy you're not him
Late Teens Black or Hispanic Guy (Employee) - Extremely eager, energetic. Clothes actually fit (sorry man-child you can't blame anyone but yourself). Very helpful.
Benefits: Helps you find movies. Restores your faith in the American economy's ability to deliver decent jobs to minority youths after it was crushed by The Wire
Late Teens Decent-Looking White Girl (Employee) - Totally disinterested in the job. Totally disinterested in you.
Benefit: Get to meekly say "Thanks a lot" really fast to her
Children and the Elderly (Customers) - Of course have no idea what NetFlix or BitTorrent is, so see Blockbuster as only choice.
Benefit: Cute, cuddly, blissfully unaware of classical liberal economics
Mid-30s Successful Black Man (Customer) - Only wants things on Blu-Ray. You would think if he is technologically savvy enough to have a Blu-Ray player, he could figure out another way to get movies, but I shouldn't be talking.
Benefit: At least someone else reasonably close to my age goes to Blockbuster
Teenage to Early 20's Athletic White Girl (Customer) - A mainstay of any Blockbuster. Almost always come in groups, often wearing some sort of athletic gear like yoga pants. Have amazing bodies. Their disdain for NetFlix and BitTorrent as too 'alternative' drives them to the 'Buster.
Benefits: Liven up the place, elicit Lester Burnham-like fantasies in man-child employees
20's to 30's Casually-Dressed White Guy - And here's where I fit into all of this. Through a unique combination of laziness, impulsiveness, impatience, and a secret technological incompetence that he would never admit in public, 20's to 30's Casually-Dressed White Guy has yet to master Netflix, BitTorrent, or even iTunes. So when he needs a movie, it's off to Blockbuster.
At the end of the day, you may scoff at me and my compatriots and marvel at the ease with which you procure movies. But what you call a transaction cost, I call... Paradise