Blockbuster Closes 400 More Stores
Blockbuster Video is closing another 400+ stores, followed by the hundreds that it closed in late 2010. Blockbuster, which filed for bankruptcy last year, was seemingly saved by DISH Network, which purchased the store. The original plans called for DISH to introduce its own kiosks inside select stores and use those stores for selling their television packages. Just before Christmas, hundreds of stores across the country learned that DISH was closing the doors on multiple stores.
As recently as October and November of 2010, some Blockbuster stores were still hiring new employees and hosting “casting calls”, which are essentially auditions for potential employees. A friend of mine attended one such session in November with five other individuals. Of those five individuals, three lost their jobs when other Blockbuster stores closed.
Though he did not get the job, Blockbuster employees told the workers straight out that the store would not close anytime in the near future. He received a call a few weeks later, inviting him to a second casting call, as the store was still hiring new employees. The store completely rearranged its shop, making room for the DISH kiosk. The week before Christmas, the store discovered that it was on the closing list.
Reason for the Closing
DISH likes to tell workers that the stores are closing because the lease on the building is up and the landlord wants a rent increase and/or another business signed a new lease. It is the same story DISH told during the last line of store closings and most of those stores still sit empty. According to some former employees during the last closing, DISH promised that the stores would reopen in the future.
Deceptions from DISH
DISH sent posters and sale signs to Blockbuster stores that say the stores are not closing, just simply moving. As of January 3, 2012, the Blockbuster stores in Dayton, Ohio feature signs saying that the stores are moving/moving on, when in fact the stores are simple closing. According to some reports online, DISH still claims that it will reopen the stores in the “near future”.
Blockbuster Employee Optimism
Employees working at the closing Blockbuster stores remain optimistic. As recently as two weeks ago, one employee stated, “we still don’t know if we are closing. We might get to stay open.” Apparently DISH told several stores that they were closing, then said they might not close, and then sent the sale signs, sometimes without telling the workers of the final decision.
On a recent visit, a store employee encouraged shoppers to call and file a complaint with DISH. This store, which was the store with the fourth highest sales in the region, was told that if enough people lodged a complaint, the store might get a second chance. The store is now closing, as is a nearby store that has the third highest number of sales in the region.
Blockbuster Closing Sale
Before you get excited about the low prices on movies, you might want to hit Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, or any other store where you can get new movies. Leading up to the end of the year, Blockbuster ran a sale on previously viewed DVDs at 3 for $15 or 5 for $25, which included entire television sets. The closing “sale” now offers the same movies that were $5 last week started out at $12.49 each. The other movies in the store, the ones not included in the original sale started at $9.99 each. In some cases, the same movie had two different prices, depending on where you found it in the store. Those cheap television series now cost $24.99 per season, though some were just on sale for $15 or less brand new from other stores.
If you head to the Blockbuster closing sale for new releases, you will end up disappointed. Blockbuster lost its exclusive deal with Warner Brothers last year and employees were instructed to buy new copies of releases at local stores and put those out for rent. DISH instructed employees to pull certain titles off the shelf before the sale started and send those to headquarters for re-distribution.
The week before the closing sale started, my local Blockbuster sent back every copy of Fright Night, One Day, Paul, and several other titles. Many of the recent Disney movies were packed up, as were popular movies from the last few months, including Zookeeper. What is left in the store is a combination of films that few people want and older titles that are not worth the price. DISH also requested that the stores pull most video games. When the sales started here, the two stores had roughly 20 video games left between both stores.
With the closing of 400+ more stores, on top of the closings from 2011, it is clear that Blockbuster cannot survive. One employee claimed that DISH had plans to reopen stores starting on the West Coast and working across the country, but most doubt that will ever happen.
If you have a Blockbuster Pass, make sure that you visit your nearest Blockbuster as soon as possible. If no stores remain open in your area, you can cancel your Pass. If one does stay open, you might get one month free at the new store. On a personal note, my Pass had three weeks left when the closing sale started. Despite promising that I could continue my program at that store, once the sale started, the store could no longer rent titles. My only option was to return the game to that store and drive 30+ minutes to another store to continue my Pass. Some claim that DISH encouraged them to push the Pass program and make sales, up until the store closed.