Remembering the five emotional stages of a trip to Blockbuster
Nobody came away looking good after 'Stage 4 - Panicked Compromises'
At the risk of sounding like Peter Kay, remember going to Blockbuster?
Begging your parents to drive you down to the local VHS establishment so that you could rent Toy Story for the 7th time, thereby proving that had they granted your relentless requests when it was initially released on video by simply buying it, this unnecessarily repetitive scenario could've been avoided.
But they never listened, hence they were badgered with Blockbuster trip requests every weekend until you were old enough to drink alcohol.
It was an emotional affair from start to finish. Nobody walked away from a visit to Blockbuster with their sanity intact.
Let's relive the excruciating memories together.
Stage 1 - Unbridled Excitement
You've done it. You have successfully pestered your parents into submission. They've held their determination to deprive you of happiness for too long, now it's time to indulge a smidge of joy. The second you heard that magic word "Fine", it was game, set and match. You're going to Blockbuster to rent a video and suddenly every trace of tension and sadness has dissolved from your tiny child body. This is the best day of your tragic little life, with second place going to the time the men forgot to collect your birthday bouncy castle and you got a whole extra day of fun.
You're giddy, anything is possible. This is the trip to Blockbuster that will get your short little life back on track. All those bruises from being shit at climbing trees, the time your Mum put a blanket ban on Sunny D because Susan from yoga told her it's turning kids' skin orange, it's all forgotten. Past grievances are forgiven. This solves everything. A family trip to Blockbuster to rent a VHS. This, my friends, this is living.
Stage 2 - Logistical Anxiety
As everyone slowly piles into the back of Mum's Ford Fiesta, the excitement slowly turns to anxiety. There's a lot of people in this family, five, according to the last headcount. Realistically, Mum and Dad aren't going to rent half a baker's dozen videos. It's too many, and they certainly won't be paying for two nights rental. "We're not made of money", they remind you as they tend to do every time you request the most meagre of coveted possessions.
To get the ball in motion, you spitball some ideas to kill time during the car journey. "What if we get something funny?", you ask. But your siblings aren't playing ball, they want to get a horror movie, or something animated out of spite. You use this time wisely to come to a balanced compromise, over hushed insults so as not to prompt your parents' automated response to friction with "We won't be getting anything if you keep arguing". Nothing is resolved and it's too late. The blue and yellow hues are blinding. You're outside Blockbuster. Or IKEA. No, it's definitely Blockbuster.
Stage 3 - Overwhelming Chaos
Your giddy family of five enter the building and everyone immediately disperses. Dad's gone looking at something to do with golf, Mum's over at the romcoms, your siblings are fighting off a vicious pack of werewolves for all you care, and you're left to literally and metaphorically bring this thing home. You want to rent The Santa Clause, despite it being July and this decision undoubtedly sparking the commencement of World War III on the car journey home. Miraculously, you source the empty VHS case and take it over to your Mum.
She laughs, then tells you to put it back. You decide to persevere because no great act of valiance ever went unquestioned. Now it's time to convince your siblings because three stubborn lunatics are far more powerful than one. They point blank refuse your recommendation. Your idiot sister wants to get The Parent Trap, while your brother, you've just decided, is too young to get a vote. Everyone starts crying. Dad proudly emerges with Star Wars and you throw yourself onto the grubby blue Blockbuster carpet. It's oddly comforting, reminiscent of all the strops you've had at home. Mum grabs you by the scruff of the neck and gives you a stern talking to.
Stage 4 - Panicked Compromises
Things have, by all accounts, taken a turn. What started out as a hugely positive event has descended into utter turmoil. You've been publicly scolded, your brother has very possibly had "an accident" in his trousers and your sister has yet again revealed herself to be a simpleton in every capacity. Things have reached crisis point. Mum is threatening to go home without any VHS rental because you and your siblings cannot keep your shit together (particularly your brother) for the duration of a trip to ruddy Blockbuster.
So the compromises come into play. You're warned that everyone will be going home empty handed unless there can be a mass consensus agreed upon. It becomes abundantly clear that nobody will be getting their own way today. Something with universal appeal is going to be rented to avoid any further public embarrassment. Dad suggests Star Wars again, to no reaction. Mum suggests The Lion King, a movie you have all seen eighteen times, and is rightfully hushed. This is an epidemic. The family unit is in tatters. This might actually be the threatened trip to Blockbusters that ends in you going home with nothing. This is chaos.
Stage 5 - Relieved Reconciliation
A Blockbuster employee with a smidge of a background in psychology materialises. Nick has seen this typical video rental friction scene play out eight times on this particular day. Rather than allowing the battle to continue, he glides over and informs everyone that Hook has just been released on video and "...everyone's renting it. It's so popular, there's just one copy left and it could be yours for the night". "It's a wholesome tale about an abduction and a valuable lesson about the dangers of hallucinatory drugs mixed with poor parenting skills", he jokes. Your parents agree that it sounds like the right fit for your brazen family and you're just happy to leave the shop with something, so eagerly agree.
Everyone is happy, Nick upsells some popcorn and sweets at the till and Dad sneaks the Star Wars video into the pot for a little midnight treat. Despite being nine years old, you experience a sensation that you will later identify as a nicotine craving, to sate the jitters you're suffering after such a tense moment. Everything is in order, Nick simply asks for the family Blockbuster card to complete the transaction and you'll be on your way. Mum's rooting through her handbag while you eye up the sweets section, tempted to push your luck and beg for a second bag of Maltesers. Mum sighs. She has forgotten the Blockbuster card. She's fucked it. All of that nonsense was for nothing. Nobody's getting a video tonight. Everything has gone to shit. Life is a bottomless pit of suffering and despair. When will the sweet release of death materialise and save you from this neverending- Oh no wait, she's found it. Crisis averted. Enjoy the movie! Don't forget to rewind it before you return!