A bunch of used Blockbuster DVDs
There were about 300 Blockbuster Video locations left when DISH Network (DISH) announced in early November that it planned to liquidate the chain and hold onto Blockbuster only as a brand. With so few stores and a continued insistence on dedicating disproportionate amounts of floor space to new releases, Blockbuster's selection of leftovers probably wasn't all it could have been in its waning days.
But as we've mentioned before, Blockbuster brought this on itself. Well before its 2010 bankruptcy and 2011 buyout by DISH -- and even before its takeover by Viacom what seems like a lifetime ago -- Blockbuster was a part of the everyday experience and a collective, tangible experience for many communities. But shrinking selection, increasingly ignorant staff, long lines and draconian late policies soured many Americans on not only the chain, but video stores themselves.
When Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN), Apple's (AAPL) iTunes, Coinstar (OUTR) and myriad other streaming, kiosk and on-demand options appeared, they were instantly preferable to both the Blockbuster experience and the hell of other people it created. As a result, Blockbuster customers and other shoppers ended a frugal holiday tradition by taking their last dive through Blockbuster's used DVD and Blu-ray in search of scratchy stocking stuffers -- their scavenging obscured by the window-sized clearance sale signs in Blockbuster's remaining storefronts.