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Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Word About VHS

It's no secret that I love a bargain.  I furnished my house for less than $1000 just by collecting things from estate sales and swap meets; furniture left on the side of the road and whatever I could convince friends and relatives to part with.  It really amazes me what people will just throw away.  Being on the outside looking in at Consumer Culture provides a unique perspective.  It would be SO EASY to overthrow the system if everyone just stopped buying new stuff and bought things used or repaired what they already had.  The kicker is that nobody would really want for anything, thrift stores, garages, storage units are all stuffed full of perfectly serviceable things.  If everyone knew what I knew about the art of hunting, bargaining and giving things away; and weren't so obsessed with getting the shiniest, newest thing, we could shut down the production of everything except food, energy and techie gadgets (because sometimes the cool new thing really is better than the lame old thing.)  Oh, and paper cups and napkins and other disposables and consumables.  But I digress.  This isn't supposed to be a platform to air my thoughts on unsustainable economic and manufacturing practices. 

I wanted to talk about my last big score at the Sun Thrift.

I like cassette tapes.  DVDs are good for some things, TV shows for one, saving shelf space for another.  Blu-Ray has its merits if you have a boss home theater system, but I don't.  My TV is a hand-me-down.  It's actually gotten to the point that I find nicer sets than mine sitting out on the curb on trash day.  (wtf?  throwaway culture!)  I wish that was just a joke, but I'm serious. 

Cassettes are cool because, if you get tired of watching something, maybe you saw Scully's bra and you wanna take a porn break or something, you can take the tape out of your VCR and it holds your place.  Amazing!  You can't do that with a DVD; you gotta find your remote, wait for the menu, REMEMBER where you left off, mess around with the menu some more, then the cat sits in front of the DVD player and it won't get signals from the see?  It's just such an unnecessary hassle.

Also, cassettes are CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP.  I got these babies for 50 cents a piece.  That's cheaper than a rental.  Even if I decide that I don't want to keep any of these and donate them back to the same thrift store where I bought them, I've still saved money. 

If you live in the United States, I can guarantee that your local thrift store has hundreds of titles on cassette that can be yours for a few coins.  Granted, you probably won't find anything that was released after 2001, but the more well-loved the movie, the more likely you are to find at least 3 copies.  When is the last time you saw Wayne's World?  My thrift store has 6 copies (that I found without having to get a step-stool.)

And that is why a $10 used VCR is a worthwhile investment. 

1 comment:

  1. I finally got rid of my VCR last year, when I realized I hadn't played anything on it for over five years & was using it exclusively as a very large digital clock.

    There is something very nice & warm about analogue video, even though the picture quality looks awful now compared to dvd & bluray. I have fond memories of making tapes up (two Marx Bros or Woody Allen films per 3hr tape) just the same as audiocassettes. But to keep the thousands(!) of films I now have as videotapes would take literally whole rooms to store - DVDs too, if i kept them in hard cases. The advent of Avi files is making film collecting a hell of a lot easier..

    The good thing is though, as with vinyl, if you're into them, now is an amazing time to snap them up for nothing.