Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are available at any time with just a click of a button. Pull out your headphones, plug it into your phone, and watch a wide assortment of movies anywhere you go.
Now, think of this – the smell of popcorn and sweet candy filling the air. Movies, hundreds upon hundreds of selections, able to please just about anyone, sitting on shelves on every corner and spare inch of the room walls.
The moment you step into this atmosphere, you get the complete movie experience.
Unfortunately, this has been stripped from us, and so soon. Millennials have never really had a chance to walk inside a Blockbuster.
I feel that it is too convenient and easy for us to get entertainment. It’s not just movies. It’s really any form of retail.
Bookstores and mom and pop shops are closing, as are large stores such as JCPenny, which plans on terminating 14% of its stores this year alone (Bankrate.com).
Why go somewhere to buy something when you can easily get it online?
Yes, there are positive attributes to online shopping. Items are often cheaper online, especially with Amazon Prime. Avoiding lines and crowds is also great. And who doesn’t want a large variety of items? Which brings me back to my main point – easy accessibility.
How does living off of convenience reflect a society’s values?
We can sit on the sofa comfortably, buying to our hearts content and watching Netflix until the sun sets, but there is a cost.
With fewer people buying their items at stores and relying on technology to fulfill their orders or desires, brick and mortars are at risk of shutting down. Jobs are also lost at corporations that close as a result.
One store that I’m incredibly sad about that went out of business is Family Christian, which has been around for 85 years. They closed 240 of their shops, letting go of around 3,000 people who are unemployed – due to consumers and their desire for convenience (USA Today).
I have fond memories of Family Christian, one being my mom taking me there after coming home for the weekend during my freshman year.
We saw all of the encouraging Bible verses on the décor and felt a sense of happiness that we could spend some time together before I had to head back to college.
No matter how hard you try, you can’t have memorable experiences on online stores.
The same goes for Blockbuster. I went there many times as a child and had fun looking at all the different types of movies upon the shelves as my father, brother and I planned our movie nights.
These were special moments, and now I can’t make new memories because the stores are all gone.
So, maybe it’s not the end of the world that a video rental place closed down.
But I fear that there lies something greater down the road ahead, a bigger picture that we seem to be missing.
Because of our unwillingness to leave the house and explore what is beyond our phones and computers, we miss out on experiences such as interaction with other people.
And in addition, we are putting more people at risk of unemployment.
Instead of buying all of your items online this week, try this. Support a local, family-owned shop around the Belton/Temple area.
Who knows, you might end up with an object you can’t find on the internet or make new memories with friends by shopping together.