Rental stores used to be everywhere
If you grew up before the age of the smartphone and online streaming, there’s a good chance that you went to a VHS (or later, DVD) rental store fairly regularly.
For many of us born in the late 1980s or early 1990s, rental stores were a portent for the impending weekend. We would be given money, or taken there if it was too far to walk alone, and pick out a few DVDs to tide us over.
If we were really lucky, we might even rent a PlayStation game or two, in the vain hope that we might somehow watch three films and finish an entire video game between Friday evening and Sunday night.
Sadly, with the advent of Netflix, most rental stores have now shut down, unable to compete with the instant gratification of watching something without leaving your
'It's something I can get in my hand, not just download.'
This DVD rental store in South London is one of the last in the country, but it still going strong. pic.twitter.com/lUOHf39SuL
— JOE (@JOE_co_uk) October 6, 2019
They’re not all gone though, so we travelled to one of the country’s last remaining rental stores in South London to speak to its owner about the business, how he competes with behemoths like Netflix and Amazon Prime, and why some people reject online streaming in favour of a personal experience.