My Trouble with Disc Binging

March 23rd, 2013 by |

Every geek has to have some kind of collection, right? It’s practically mandatory. Me, I don’t really have anything of note on the comic end. I don’t so much collect comics as I just keep some. I don’t really buy figures often unless I’m at New York Comic Con and feel the need to get a souvenir or there’s a sale at the local comic shop. I don’t even really collect much in terms of wrestling.

What I do have is an extensive DVD collection. A disgustingly extensive DVD collection. Now I’m gonna talk about it.

I guess it started to take shape in my senior year in high school, 1999-2000. I spent a year working at a local video rental chain West Coast Video. It was a laid back job. The most laid back being the time me and a friend were forced to work during the Superbowl. Pretty sure we had two customers the whole day, so we just watched Clerks because who was going to yell at us? It was such a different time back then because DVDs were new, so the store was 75% VHS tapes and another big chunk was video games.

We always had to have some kind of DVD playing, though at times we were able to just put on music and let it slide. The problem with the DVD mandate was that, like I said, DVDs were new. And we were in public. There are NOT a lot of DVDs you can show when you Boolean that. Suffice to say, I must have watched Yellow Submarine a million times without never truly watching it at all because I was busy with other stuff. Weirdly enough, I had Amazon’d a copy of obscure B-movie Six-String Samurai (about Buddy Holly as a samurai in a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas) and played that all the time despite us never even carrying the movie in the store.

When I went to college, I expected to come back every break and work at the store again. Unfortunately, I came back Thanksgiving to discover that my store was closed. Apparently, they didn’t pay the rent and got locked out one day. That was that. I shouldn’t be surprised with management’s lack of competence in that regard, since I’m suddenly recalling how on my first day at work, the manager showed me her brand new back tattoo of Animal from the Muppets wearing an Austin 3:16 t-shirt while drinking a beer. How did that place not burn to the ground?

In college, I had some friends to hang out with every now and then, but I never led a very active social life. It was all video games, writing and watching movies in my spare time. Over the next few years, my DVD pile grew quite a bit. At this point it was about having your favorite movies catch up to the new hotness. They’re finally releasing Night of the Hunter on DVD? Sweet! Count me in! Pulp Fiction is being rereleased as a two-disc set with a buttload of extras? Great! I’ll just give my “interactive menus listed as the only extra” copy to my roommate!

After college, I ended up falling into my job at Barnes and Noble, which I only left last week after seven and a half years. That compounded my collection quite a bit. For one, twice a year they’d have “buy 2 get 1 free” DVD sales and that became a reason for me to eventually own the entirety of Batman: The Animated Series and all of its spinoffs. Then they’d have me cover breaks for the Movies and Music department, which meant a lot of standing around a half hour at a time and seeing stuff that looked worth picking up once the shift was over. With other sales and new releases that I felt the need to get immediately, my collection got bigger and bigger over time.

The Movies and Music section of my B&N did pretty bad business for a long time. It didn’t help that it’s in a large mall and directly under it was an FYE store that sold the same DVDs for less. Eventually, that store went out of business itself and that’s when it got dangerous for me. It’s one thing to buy DVDs that you go out of your way to find. It’s another thing where a store that specializes in DVDs is closing down. The DVDs all get crazy discounted and I’d visit there and pick up a bunch of stuff. Then a few weeks later, the discounts would get crazier and I’d buy more stuff. It becomes me realizing, “Why yes, I would like to own the complete Dolemite if that’s what you’re selling it for.” I still haven’t watched a single minute of that box set. The prices get lower and lower and by the end, I bought a shitload of stuff.

Coincidentally, with FYE out of the way, the Movies and Music section of B&N has been making money hand over fist for the last couple years.

By this point, my collection’s gotten out of control. I look like a goddamn hoarder. There’s a literal wall of DVDs stacked in my place and it has to go. So I got rid of it all.

Not the DVDs. I got rid of all the boxes. What do I need them for?

I picked up some of those disc wallets via Target, each enough to carry 224 discs. It took me hours, but I was able to alphabetize the entire library and stick them in FOUR of those bad boys. Though the one thing I haven’t added to the disc wallets is my set of CHIKARA wrestling DVDs. The only information on the tops of the discs themselves is the date of the show, so I’d rather just keep the full package on that.

Suffice to say, I already have my hands full. Whenever I got a new DVD or two, I’d keep the box aside and eventually re-alphabetized the whole mess a year later. With the improv stuff taking effect in my life, the DVD buying kind of dried up because I actually had something that I cared about spending money on.

Then about a month and a half ago, I saw the sign at a nearby Blockbuster store that I only see because it’s next to a grocery store I frequent. The place is finally closing down after all these years of Netflix kicking its ass. Like the vulture that I am, I went in and picked up a bunch of $7 DVDs.

A few weeks later, I returned again and got a bunch of $5 DVDs.

Then $3 DVDs.

Then $1 DVDs.

It’s a crazy experience because it’s like a barter system. Buy Damage starring Stone Cold Steve Austin? No thanks. What if it’s $7? No thanks. $3? Eh… still no. $1? Sure, why not.

Once things wind down some more, it’s amusing to see what’s left on the shelves. Apparently they overestimated the success of Zack and Miri Make a Porno because there’s like 50 copies of it. Not to mention a bunch of copies of the Spirit and other tripe (not counting Punisher: War Zone. That shit is awesome).

Then you see movies that you’re completely shocked nobody else has picked up. Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman? Clue? Raising Arizona?! Big Trouble in Little China?! The Never Ending Story (aah-aah-aah aah-aah-aah aah-aah-aaaah)?! What’s with you people?!

After weeks of bouncing back into the store, I’ve garnered about 50 DVDs. Now I need to buy a new disc wallet. I don’t think that’s so much a cry for help. What is a cry for help is that one of the DVDs I just bought is Monster Brawl. I’ve already seen it before and it’s as bad as you’d expect.

I think I only did this so I can force myself to review it one of these days.

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5 comments to “My Trouble with Disc Binging”

  1. And I thought I owned too many DVDs. My first job was also at a video rental place, though it didn’t get a DVD player until after I left in 2003. Instead I bent the rules as furiously as I could with the VHS library. After being promoted to shift leader, I found myself spending lots of time alone in the store. For some reason, we had forty volumes of Dark Shadows. I managed to work my way through them all. I’d also watch the Transformers movie first thing every Sunday. Hell, thanks to the lack of supervision, I was at one point watching episodes of Kikaider and Hurricaneger I’d downloaded off the internet and dubbed to tape. Of course, there were times when the manager tried to crack down on me, telling me I could only watch movies from the kids section or only Disney movies. I would, of course, endeavor to watch the craziest crap possible within these limits. Or often just Fantasia, because if I had to watch Aladdin one more time, I may have fed the tape to a trash compactor. Oh, and after I started watching Muppets From Space, half of the other employees in the store decided to start watching it too, to the point where it was playing nearly constantly.

    Anyhow, I have way too many stories about this, and it’s totally off topic. On the subject of buying too many DVDs, I did it too. Having no bills at that point in my life, I’d go to Suncoast nearly every week and spend my whole paycheck on DVDs. Mostly anime; having gotten into it when it was sold two episodes per VHS tape for $40 (if you wanted subtitles), I was quite happy to get dual-language DVDs with four or five episodes for $30. I even bought myself some $200 box sets. Of course, after I moved to video game retail, my discretionary income shifted to that. Combine this with a lack of space, and my DVD buying slowed way down. Of course, I now own way too many video games and don’t resist Steam sales and the like as well as I ought to, but I’ve spent enough time rambling about things only vaguely related to what you were talking about.

  2. @Gaijin D: Ha, Muppets From Space was one of our handful of playable DVDs we had. We watched the hell out of that, which was great because Bobo the Bear’s voice is incredibly soothing. The closing Blockbuster had that on the shelf, but I decided to let the price drop long enough that I ended up missing out.

    The only anime I own are Street Fighter movies, Fatal Fury movies and some Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure imports. Hey, I need my Hol Horse.

  3. @Gavok: Do you mean the JoJo OAVs? Because those actually came out in the US. Of course, the company that released them barely managed to get them all out and then promptly went out of business, so I can understand you missing out. I understand there’s a new TV series for the 30th anniversary, but considering how JoJo has repeatedly tanked in the US, we may not get it. Oh, and there was that part 1 movie a few years ago. Supposedly, it was so bad that Hirohiko Araki himself forbade a DVD release.

  4. I think moving to the binders is a good idea. That way you get to keep the discs, without sacrificing all the space to store them. There was a time when I really coveted having a shelf full of DVDs. I really though having every movie you ever loved on disc was the coolest idea. But then I realized that I NEVER watched the DVDs I bought, and instead found myself watching movies I owned on TBS. That’s when I stopped buying discs.

    I do think there is something great about having a tailored personal library, especially if it’s one you use, but I’ve really swung the other way when it comes to the accumulation of stuff. I have a hard time buying anything now, because I don’t want to have a lot of stuff in my house. And when I do buy something (because I can’t get it digitally or from the library), I sell it after I’m done.

  5. As a collector, I just can’t comprehend getting rid of the packaging for DVD’s. I mean, that’s like collecting vinyl records and discarding all the sleeves and liner notes. Sure, you don’t NEED that to listen to the album, but it’s part of the whole. It makes me cringe the same way it would if someone told me they tear off the covers of all their comics before storing them.

    Although, maybe I’m being a bit hypocritical here…I have maybe 700-800 movies, and since space is an issue I ended up “thinkpacking” them, basically trimming 1/8th of an inch off the cover so I can fit the sleeve into a case that is half the width of a standard case. I get to keep all the art and packaging, but it’s technically been “damaged” (although you wouldn’t be able to tell as the trimmed portion is so small). Still, I’m sure someone out there thinks the action of cutting my covers is just as bad as throwing them away…to each their own I guess! You gotta collect in a way that works for you.