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Aaah the end, the real end…I’ve talked and thought about it for a long time, but after just closing the doors for the last time on my shop, its a bit more real now.
I’ve just spent the last hour hour helping a particularly difficult customer and hoping to hell this wasn’t how it was all going to end when a regular from the last decade walked in with an ice cold beer for me and everything suddenly felt pretty darn good.
I started this business in my late 20s , when i was putting to bed my first not so successful but really fun tourism business and was a little directionless in life. I took a gamble as one does so easily at that age , never having any idea how it would blossom into so much more.
Those early days where interesting, 12 hour days, 7 days a week, roping in friends and family to help wherever possible. I remember Jeff, my first employee and the many many awesome ppl I’ve had the pleasure of working with since then. I remember my hammock strung up behind the counter to while away the quiet hours. I remember packing away the hammock when things kicked off sometime around 2009 and knocking a hole in the wall to expand to keep up with the demand. I remember roping in yet more mates to help with the expansions, paid in beer and free movies. I remember my sacred Monday nights spent watching movies in my man cave and counting my shoebox of cash. I remember trips to London to buy bagfuls of obscure stock at crazy prices and smuggling them through customs. I remember once it was all set up tweaked to perfection getting bored and starting a cafe next door. I remember regretting it, and then unregretting it as it too blossomed into something more. I remember the customers, so many who became more than just customers, following their lives, becoming friends with some.
I remember people talking of torrents and of pirate bay and not really noticing a difference. I remember realising we offered more to those who cared for human interaction and having an experience rather than just watching a movie. I remember rumours of Netflix arriving. I remember fibre arriving, and the gradual yet exponential slide towards the movie afterlife. and here i find myself, late on a Sunday night, standing behind a counter I’ve spent many happy hours behind, remembering all the remembering, and thinking it was pretty damn good!
All in, I’ve realised a few things from the experience:
People like people – you can get hold of a movie many different ways but nothing replaces the full human experience, the chats, the nonsense and all the pieces in between that get you from the door to the counter and back to the door with your chosen movie.
Too much choice is hideous – I recently spend almost an hour reading up online and watching trailers just make a choice of what to watch on Netflix… and even then i decided to change half way through. I’d much rather have spent that time chatting with a human behind the counter, having a pow wow and going home with an educated and committed choice. If i’m not into it halfway I’ll stick it because I have no other options, and invariably I’ll be happy because it wasn’t just a random click that brought me to my choice anyway.
Community is amazing – every decent sized group of people has all manner of people, freaks and weirdos, lost souls, found souls, happy people, sad people, and everyone in between and it makes life interesting . I’ve served 1000’s of them over the years and very very rarely come away not feeling enriched in some way. Clickety click click online doesn’t give you that. Sure its really convenient and probably a lot cheaper but it takes you back to my first point – people need people!
And on that note i’m heading home with a happy heart and some really great memories – thanks to all – customers and staff – who’ve been a part of it in any small, large or in between part.