No returns, take backs, or exchanges.
The video store was the staple of every proper 1980s and 1990s childhood. I can remember Friday nights going to pick out video games for our Nintendo (later Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis), and Saturday nights twice a month to pick out movies (the other two Saturdays in the month usually involved a trip to the mall for dinner, and the other was a trip to Grandma’s for dinner). Those Saturday night visits to the video store always happened after dinner if we ate out (or my dad went if we ate at home), and always after church. Because in the 90s, the Venezio family got their religion on Saturday nights, and then did fun stuff afterwards.
It was during this time that pay-per-view was actively competing for those lucrative video store dollars. It was several channels of movies, along with an accompanying channel that showed previews all the time, the “barker” channel. It was a good way to know what movies were available, and the cost was comparable. The whole idea was the convenience of pay-per-view – no videos to go out and pick up, remember to rewind, or return to the store. You made the selection on your remote (or called the cable company), and when the movie was to start, you just had to be ready.
Of course, back then, the ability to rewind, fast forward, and pause a pay-per-view event were not possible, so really the only way to not miss a minute of what you purchased was to…record the event/movie to a videocassette. And believe me, for the price of events back then (which are just as expensive now), that really felt like the only way to get your money’s worth out of your purchase.
My family used to buy pay-per-view stuff for special events – all the wrestling events from WWF – er, excuse me, WWE. We had videocassettes of Wrestlmanias dating back to the first one, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, Summer Slam. Back then, there really only were a few a year, and these days, those are still the “big events.” I don’t like wrestling anymore, but I still enjoy Royal Rumble, mostly because my husband makes a game out of it, and we have hosted several Royal Rumble parties in the last few years.
Those were the kinds of events you couldn’t get on videocassette until WWF – er, WWE – released them to home video. I know that happened, but seriously, it took so long back then that it wasn’t worth it.
Say what you want about the inconveniences of having to drive to the video store, pick a movie out, and then have to return it afterwards, but I miss those days. I myself worked at a video store when I was in college (from 2003-2005), and it just never felt like this type of service would ever go away. Who knew?
If you asked today’s commercial how they felt about having to go to the video store, they’d say it is the worst inconvenience in the world!
We travel to the magical year of 1994, where a couple one-ups each other over how terrible their day was, and how they need to return the video they rented to the video store.
It goes from some playful “sliding the tape back and forth” to an all-out war of the feet, complete with some very 1990s graphics and the grossness of feet touching a videocassette.
I have plenty of my own stuff, but I had been thinking about this commercial, as I remember seeing it frequently back then, and yet, no one had it uploaded to YouTube by itself. Seriously, I think everything else is on YouTube, and not this commercial. However, I did find it within a block of previews from the Laserdisc for TCI’s “Sneak Prevue,” airing during the week of October 24, 1994. The only person to have this commercial was the Oddity Archive’s spin-off channel, ArchiveAnnex, which has the full prints of stuff that is excerpted on the show.
I contacted Ben Minnotte of Oddity Archive about possible use of the commercial, and he said it was fine (and asked for the link to read the article).
Now that’s a deal!
I uploaded this commercial with an introduction, which is a first, but I wanted to thank Ben Minnotte of the Oddity Archive for allowing my use of this video. I’m eternally grateful!
If you prefer a cut-to-the-chase approach, here’s the commercial without the introduction…
Man, that 90s font!
This commercial aired frequently during 1994 (probably from the summer until the end of the year), and you couldn’t miss it…if you enjoyed watching the channel with all the trailers. I never said I was normal – it is amazing how watching this stuff like a weird child has paid off so well in terms of writing material and nostalgia.
As for the foot thing, I’m sure that wasn’t the worst thing to wind up coming into contact with a videocassette. I used to receive – ahem, adult – films through the drop slot from one of our customers, always covered in – brace yourself, this is gross – lube.
I’m serious. I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t come across on of those nasty videos he returned.
Equally gross would be kids videos coming back with food stuff on them, but that guy took the cake.
And he NEVER dropped them off in the store – he always dropped them in the return slot, even though we were open. I always had the paper towel roll ready, because we very well couldn’t return the videos to the floor like that.
And now I think I know why video stores went out of business.
These days, it is still called pay-per-view by us outdated individuals, but largely, the service is On Demand, and you can pause, rewind, fast forward, and stop watching the event or movie you paid for. Events are still pricey – we bought an AEW event in February that was about $50 (probably more), but it was worth it for my husband and our friend. Pay-per-view pretty much focuses on these types of events, with movies moving to a “video on demand” type of structure.
However, in 1994, they were desperate for you to skip the video store. We weren’t willing to do that yet.
Again, a special thanks to Ben Minnotte of Oddity Archive for allowing me to use the commercial from its original source. The original source itself, a scoped version of the previews for that week on a Laserdisc (he removed the wrestling content), is cool in its own right, and definitely worth a look.
Upload via ArchiveAnnex (Oddity Archive spin-off channel on YouTube) – the commercial airs at 10:20
Why rent it? You got it (and recorded it!) on…
Have a great Throwback Thursday!