Stuck on VHS is a visual history of video store stickers

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[Monster Truck voice] You’ve read the sticker…Now…See the movie!


They weren’t kind
They didn’t rewind
And now they’ll be fined!
– Otis, “Kicking and Screaming”


I need this book as I’ve had a lot of obsessive VHS projects

My most recent one were I was bored in quarantine so I made an entire anachronistic episode of Disney Channels DTV (as one does) and produced to actual VHS and digitized back any tape damage is real.



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At 25 seconds in, a wild James Rolfe appears!

Remember that time in our nation’s history:
You’re bringing back your 3-day late Blockbuster video.
You don’t want to be charged that onerous late charge.
He doesn’t want to charge you that onerous late charge.
But there is nothing to be done.
You will be billed that onerous late charge.
You will pay that onerous late charge.

I once had situation where I didn’t realize the tape was late as I was turning it in. At that point, to be paying $15 was ridiculous, but the stated value of the tape was $20, and for $5 more, I would gladly own a VHS copy of Yojimbo. However, I had made the fatal mistake of turning in the video before I knew what the late charges were. The employee would not let me take back my video and just pay the full value of the tape!  He insisted on making me pay the late charge and kept the tape. Good times.

Give a man a uniform…

That’s what inspired Reed Hastings to start Netflix. The rest is history.

That’s slightly unfair. It wasn’t that he was abusing his “authority”. Nor was it that he had a lack of imagination or a lack of compassion. It’s just that: this was his job. The entire business model of Blockbusters was based on late fees. Everyone is late. Everyone is charged 2x to 3x the nominal price of their shitty VHS rental. Everyone hates it. Everyone, in ways small or large, grovels and begs for dispensation. The compassionate employees, the ones who give customers a break, are summarily fired. It’s just not worth your minimum wage job to give someone a break.

Good point. I keep forgetting that labour laws differ vastly from country to country and then unthinkingly argue from what is, in comparison, quite the privileged position.

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