Blockbuster


From Teju Cole’s Open City:

On the other side of the grocery store was a Blockbuster; though I had never rented anything from there, I was startled to see a sign announcing it, too, was going out of business. If Blockbuster couldn’t make it in an area full of students and families, it meant that the business model had been fatally damaged, that the desperate efforts they had made recently, and which I now recalled, of lowering rental prices, launching an advertising blitz, and abolishing late fines, had all come too late. I thought of Tower Records – a connection I couldn’t help making, given that both companies had for a long time dominated their respective industries. It wasn’t that I felt sorry for these faceless national corporations; far from it. They had made their profits and their names by destroying smaller, earlier local businesses. But I was touched not only at the swiftness and dispassion with which the market swallowed even the most resilient enterprises. Businesses that had seemed unshakable a few years previously disappeared in the span, seemingly, of a few weeks. Whatever role they played passed on to other hands, hands that would feel briefly invincible and would, in their turn, be defeated by unforeseen changes. These survivors would also come to be forgotten.