Empty Feeling

Chaos in Print

I feel so dead inside.

I go to Future Shop. I stand among the shelves. I look them over, one by one. I flip through the multitude of discs, but it always comes back to the same thing.

I just don’t want any DVDs.

I know. It’s weird, isn’t it? We’ve come a long way from four and a half years ago when I first bought my DVD player. I’ll never forget it. I saved my money diligently for a year. I went down to Future Shop in January of 2001, in the hopes of getting a good deal at a post-Christmas sale. And I did. I bought, what was at the time, a model from the upper end of the mid-range spectrum. It still performs pretty well.

The following six months were insane. It was quite common for me to blow a whole paycheque on DVDs. You know those cards they give you at HMV, where when you buy 10, you get the 11th free? I filled up two of those cards in three weeks. Once that period passed, I settled down. I would only spend about half of my paycheque on DVDs.

And going to Japan didn’t slow me down, either. I would buy DVDs online and have them shipped to my home in Entwistle. When I came home, I had quite a little stockpile of new DVDs waiting for me. I spent my first two weeks back watching them all.

That’s about when I started entering this funk. I was headed back to school that fall. Suddenly, the purchase of every DVD carried with it the sting of, “Well, you should be saving your money for school.” And so I did.

I’ve spent two years doing that, and now it’s become routine. “No, no. Don’t buy it. You need the money for other things.”

Plus, you have to throw in there the current DVD industry constantly throwing me for a loop. The practice has been dubbed “double-dipping.” That’s where they release the special edition DVD, and then, two months later, an even more special edition DVD comes out, in the hopes that you’ll buy it again. The public started turning on this practice when a Miramax executive boasted at a home theatre conference that no less than 6 DVDs of the two Kill Bill movies were being planned. “We’ll be rolling in it!” he said, or words to that effect. That’s affected me, and it’s sure to affect the DVD market as a whole in the future. I mean, why buy it now when the super-special edition will be out in a couple of months?

Speaking of, I’m still waiting for that boxed set of the 2 Kill Bill films, which was going to be the third release that the Miramax executive boasted of.

That’s another factor. This “wait for the boxed set” mentality. We have all kinds of science fiction and fantasy films now where we’re told, “This is the first of a trilogy!” This is causing many people to go, “Well, then, I’ll just buy the boxed set of the whole trilogy.” I was amazed at most of my classmates at NAIT. I boasted of buying The Star Wars Trilogy as soon as it came out, and the fellow Star Wars nerds just shrugged it off. “I’m waiting for the boxed set of all six films,” they told me. I, too, opted to wait for the boxed set of The Matrix Trilogy. It’s out now, but I’m not going to buy it. I need to save the money for other things.

That is the root of my problem. There are DVDs I want. The Matrix Trilogy…the latest batch of Studio Ghibli films…completing my collection of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’ve just become so accustomed to this “save the money for more important things” mentality that I don’t buy anything.

I’m sure that’s all about to change. Industry insiders are already predicting that this will be one of the crowded Christmas shopping seasons to date. “Crowded” meaning a glut of new DVD releases.

You know, it’s going to be fun watching what happens. Everyone’s talking about the box office slump and blaming DVD for taking people away from the theatres. If that’s the truth, then this Christmas is going to be crazy, as everyone buys the movies that they were waiting to be released on DVD. But what if DVD sales reach an all-time low? What if the slump carries over into the home theatre? Who will be blamed then?

I don’t know. All I know is there was a time when I’d stand in the DVD section of every electronics store, and my eyes would light up. I would be excited as a kid on Christmas morning.

But I don’t feel that way anymore, and it makes me sad.

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