After some bold promotional efforts (including giving away free rentals to customers who canceled their Netflix accounts and to those who “checked in” at the store on Facebook) Video Americain has had to partially surrender to the economy and the new Internet movie paradigm by closing its Charles Village location.

I just want to let everyone know that this wasn’t my fault; it was your fault. I didn’t get a Netflix account; you did. When my wife and I set out to watch all of Battlestar Galactica, we didn’t sign up for Hulu Plus; we rented the DVDs, disc by disc, from Video Americain. And you know what, they probably would have had to close a month earlier without all that money I’ve paid them in late fees.

So when you head into VA next Friday looking for a good deal at the liquidation sale, feeling like a graverobber, thinking what a shame it is to lose a local cultural hub, to resign one more formerly social activity to the inhuman digital garbage-pile of the Internet, I want you to think, “This wasn’t Bob’s fault; this was all my fault.”

7 replies on “Video Americain Closes Charles Village Location, Not Because of Me”

  1. I really don’t think it’s my fault, all their negativity about Netflix and the Internet made them seem really uncool. They could have embraced the Internet and mailed people DVDs and tried to foster an online community of movie lovers in Baltimore. But instead they just whined about how the rug was being pulled out from under them and now they’re gone.

  2. Hahaha! It’s a Google ad! We can’t control it, but we are stopping network ads as of Monday…too late for V. Americain, unfortunately…

  3. Having been a member of VidAm for over a decade, I will truly miss the place. I was also perpetually late in returning videos, so much so that there was a running joke that my late fees supported a college fund for the clerks there. I don’t think blame falls on the regular residents of Charles Village as much as the revolving door of JHU students in the area. THEY are the ones that have wholeheartedly adopted the “get it now” paradigm of the internet. Pirating, Hulu, Netflix, iTunes… buy a home brew kit and they never have to leave the dorm room save for classes and parties. Fortunately for CV Liquors, they don’t generally have the patience for home brewing.
    Granted, we started the trend when we began to demand that our photos and dry cleaning be done in a hour lo those many years ago. We welcomed instant gratification; our children were born demanding it. In that sense, it is OUR fault.
    Some will claim this is progress, that the internet is merely filling a void; but who will fill the void when you have questions about that little arthouse, foreign film you’re thinking of getting? Who will fill the void when you realize that film isn’t available for streaming? Oh, wait. That’s right! There’s still a Video Americain in Roland Park, only two miles from the soon defunct CV location.
    I say we get over it, quickly, and make sure we can keep THAT one alive.

  4. I consider Video American very similar to a library. I could get books cheaply through Amazon, but it’s the browsing that is the beauty of the store – PLUS the very knowledgeable employees. You never know what you’ll find just from looking at the titles along the walls. Netflix definitely has its place (i.e., renting something very current), but I hope the Roland Park store remains for the film resource it is – both for cinemaphiles and non-film geeks alike. Plus, I like to donate old dvd’s and tapes that our family has outgrown. Maybe they should hold a monthly film at a local school to help raise awareness of some of the loved classics & unknown to many of us films out there. Really hope they survive.

  5. This is clearly a huge loss to the Baltimore cultural landscape but I hope everyone else finds the overt humor in the tone of this story. Because scapegoating netflix subscribers for Video Americain’s closing is simplistic and not really journalism. Netflix certainly played it’s part but I believe there are other mitigating factors involving the ownership that are not touched upon. Baltimore’s also just doesn’t have the economic base to support two art-house video stores 5 miles apart (I’m guessing hopkins students aren’t lining up to rent fanny and alexander). Sometimes things just change and sometimes for the worse. Make sure to support the Roland Park store while you still can.

  6. NOT my fault either, though i guess if i had more money, i could have given them more…/

    comparing the coolness of Netflix to Americain is a JOKE! if you think Netflix is clever and hip, you are doomed to the shallow, crappy future you are creating. yes, of course the internet is the future, but muck like Netflix is a step in the WRONG direction, and places like Americain will be mourned like the library of Alexandria, and our generation scorned for not preserving history, again…

    i will be dropping every last cent in my pocket in the upcoming liquidation, not as a plunderer, but as my “duty now for the future”, adding further to my already significant ex-Americain collection which already contains several VHS gems unavailable on DVD, and stuff Netflix has never even heard of…P

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