Saturday, December 12, 2009

Retail Fail: Hollywood Video

The retail bloodbath continues...

Wanted to rent a movie at the Hollywood Video in downtown Silver Spring tonight? Sorry, you're short. There's a big red sign posted on the entrance alerting customers to the fact that the location is no longer in operation as of yesterday. A peek inside revealed the shelves have already been stripped completely bare.



Thanks to Netflix, I can't say I was much of a customer, but I had gone there on a few occasions when I needed a movie in a pinch.

What sucks is that they are making people go to up to Wheaton to return their rentals. I think if you had anything rented when they closed, ownership should automatically transfer to you. Or at the very least they should leave the return box open and come collect the returns after a week or so.

Unfortunately, this leaves us with another empty retail space (and a fairly large one) downtown. I guess there have been some glimmers of hope, though - that toy store did move in on Ellsworth.



28 comments:

Silver Spring: Then and Again said...

I have hated this location for years because of terrible customer service and can't believe they lasted this long. I'm glad they are gone. Long live Netflix!

Dr. F. said...

I'll miss Hollywood video. It was the un-Blockbuster, though I only went there when the movie I wanted was already rented out at Video Americain, my go-to video venue.

Anonymous said...

That sucks. I hate Blockbuster with a passion and won't give them a nickle. Plus, it won't look good to have such a prime spot empty.

I'm not exactly on top of the top films of the day and Redbox has fulfilled my needs nicely at a very cheap price.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the toy store will last long...I got the impression that it's just there for the holiday season, kind of like the Halloween store.

WashingtonGardener said...

Yes, that toy store is definitely seasonal and just cherry-picked a few categories, not much depth to the selection there.

Shocked that Hollywood last as long as it did actually. Thinking that game renters held it up. Hope they get something quickly in there.

Agree that a return rental box should be left for at least next week for those whose only sin was trusting the store they rented from would still be open two days later!

Sligo said...

Funny that Rockville's town center has a year-round high-end toy store, but we only can support a temporary one. Retail in Silver Spring is a joke.

ForestGlen said...

Maybe we will actually get a useful store in its place....

Kristy said...

Not everything is closing. One new business is opening: Joe's Record Paradise on Georgia Ave., where Champion Billiards used to be. Oh, and the inexplicable caramel shop on Georgia Ave., Velati's.

Anonymous said...

On a slightly different retail-related note, WTF is going on with Piratz Tavern & Quarry House? I went to both tonight (Sun) at about 7pm, and they were both closed. I'm not 100% sure of QH's schedule, but Piratz is most certainly supposed to be open on Sundays.

Anonymous said...

RE the temporary toy store: The Washington Business Journal reported about a month ago that Nando's Peri Peri (the awesome chicken restauarant) had signed a lease for that space. Now that is some incredible chicken (and other goodies!). If you haven't eaten there, try 'em out in Chinatown & Dupont Circle. Mmmmmm....Nandos.

Anonymous said...

IHateYuppies said...

Hollywood Video fell victim to Netflix and internet downloads. The place had a decent selection but the customer service was pretty awful. I am sure it is a matter of time before the Wheaton store location closes as well.

Not sure why QH and Piratz were closed on a Sunday. I wouldn't worry about QH because that place always has a steady crowd. The Piratz Tavern might be in financial trouble though.

-IHY-

Springvale Roader said...

Good riddance! Terrible and rude customer service, lousy selection. I stopped going there years ago, despite how convenient its location is (was).

This has been a long time coming, especially with the far superior service of Netflix.

jackie greenbaum said...

FYI, the Quarry House was simply closed for it's employee holiday party on Sunday night. See you all every other day of the year, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day :)

Anonymous said...

Hoping for a medical marijuana dispensary in the Hollywood Video space. It seems to be all the rage.

Bauhaus Bob said...

I, too, loathe Blockbuster. For one thing, they insisted that I use a credit card to apply for membership, a debit card just wouldn't do. I'm not about to pay annual fees nor risk 21-percent interest on a credit card for any reason. I'm definitely not going to go apply for that just so I can use Blockbuster.

For a long time I was able to go to Potomac Video, which had the usual current-run selection and lots of really odd old monster movies, probably the best library of old SF and "weirdness" in the area. However, they closed down their locations hereabouts and that left nothing but Hollywood Video.

Hollywood's Wheaton location is in a pretty sketchy strip mall in the heart of Glenmont's Poverty Apartments district, and to find parking you practically have to do battle with the hordes of Korean families shopping at Han A Rheum, though if you've ever shopped there everyone knows that doing battle with the hordes of Korean families shopping is one of the main selling points of the place. They're actually fairly cheerful about it, and usually it's not personal, it's just apparently the old country tradition to scrabble and shove over the rutabaga bins. But I digress.

Once you manage to find parking, and dodge the sketchy gangsta types that start heading for your vehicle the second you turn off the engine, you might make it alive into the Hollywood. As for me, I am the only person I know of who goes into the place without an entourage of at least a half-dozen people.

They generally do have a good selection of the current crop of movies. They also have an immense selection of what I call "sociopath specials", having actually gone so far as to have an entire section full of the sort of cut-rate slasher flicks which in absolutely all cases have cover art depicting fetchingly-dressed and attractive young ladies in postures of terrified supplication with their mouths gaping in screaming horror. I studiously avoid that section and also anyone that I see in it perusing the box covers. Frequently they're the same folks who approach your vehicle the second you turn off the engine. If there are any missing girls in the region they'll probably be found under the floor in these guys basements someday.

Customer service, at least what I experience of it, tends to consist of 3 or 4 staffers and 2 or 3 of them immediately clock out to go home the very second that I walk in the door. And however empty the place might be when I come in, by the time I get to the counter there are five people in front of me, all of them filling out new membership applications, and inevitably while I'm waiting for no less than 20 minutes, five or a dozen people get in line behind me and generally half of them start acting up, usually misbehaving rug-rats with indulgent parents who can't imagine that their little ankle-biters aren't the object of universal adoration.

Bauhaus Bob said...

Continued:


The last time I was in there was, well, the last time I'll be in there. A recent change in management replaced about half of the staffers and the place fell victim to one of the unfolding tragedies of East MoCo. To wit: a lot of new hires in any stores are hired specifically because they're bilingual in English-Spanish and the staffers themselves might be and usually are fairly competent and customer-friendly. However, a lot of the customers come in and see that the staff are "latino" and they figure that they can harass the non-latino customers away and then the place will be "only for us the Spanish". Generally the violence is fairly subdued and of the subtle sort that feels like someone dropped a scorpion into your shirt-collar while you were getting your change, but it's convincing, and Hollywood Video in Wheaton will be getting exactly what that harassing customer wanted: not a damned cent of this anglo's money. Maybe he was just another foreign Jew Basher getting revenge for the crucifixion or something. But anyplace that even has the appearance of tolerating this sort of crap needs to fail.

Frankly, I expect a lot of stores to fail for this reason, and I expect Hollywood Video in Wheaton to either go under or to gain the reputation of a place that nobody except ghetto rats will shop. And we all know how much money ghetto rats spend on video.

Time to get NetFlix.

Anonymous said...

Wow bob, you can say that again! Wait, maybe better not--no time to read it all :)

Springvale Roader said...

Bauhaus Bob,

Video American in Takoma Park has a great selection of movies, including your (and my) beloved old horror oddities.

That said, so does Netflix, and you don't even have to drive there.

And to whoever said that Hollywood Video should now become a medical marijuana dispensary: I think that's a brilliant idea. Seriously.

Gotta go now. That old backache of mine is acting up again. If there was only something I could take for it...

Bauhaus Bob said...

Even NetFlix might be stuck in a bind, with FIOS popping up all over the metropolitan area and with an excellent selection of On Demand viewing choices.

Once they build up a significant library of "weird old stuff", brick-and-mortar video shops probably won't much be able to compete. NetFlix might find themselves relegated to serving more rural areas where FIOS doesn't go, leaving FIOS to dominate in metro/suburban areas.

Sligo said...

That scenario will never happen until the following occurs:

- Movies are released on On Demand at the same time they are released on DVD/Blu-Ray.

- Cable companies have the proper bandwidth to provide the same quality viewing experience of Blu-Ray. (I include the sound in this.)

- On Demand adds nearly every movie available on DVD to match Netflix.

Right now Netflix has their own streaming service, which I occasionally use via my Xbox.

If there's any immediate threat to Netflix, it's Blockbuster, whose monthly fees are somewhat less.

Springvale Roader said...

I agree with Sligo. I have FIOS, and you can watch any movie you want on-demand...so long as it's offered by them.

OTOH, Netflix has approximately one bazillion more movies in its catalogue. It just takes a day or two to receive your Netflix film, so not much advanced planning is necessary.

Sligo: I've heard that Netflix' streaming still has some burps and bugs in it.

Also, while Blockbuster might be a little cheaper, I tried them before Netflix, and their customer service made me switch away from them.

Sligo said...

I recommend using the Netflix streaming service to watch TV shows that are out on DVD. Much more efficient then getting a bunch of DVDs. I recently watched the first season of Californication on my Xbox and it worked fine. Picture quality isn't quite HD, but neither are the DVDs.

Anonymous said...

I use Blockbuster as opposed to Netflix because it is cheaper and also because it comes with 5 free in-store exchanges a month. So on the occassion that I want to get something right then, I can swap the moves for ones in store.

Netflix, however, does have a larger library if you fancy the obscure and harder-to-find. They also tend to have less wait times for the new and/or high demand stuff.

Bauhaus Bob said...

Netflix and FIOS are sort of made for each other.

Look at it this way: my dither over whether or not to ever go back to Wheaton-Glenmont's Hollywood Video is moot. My sister kindly gave me a "one dvd out at a time" 6-month gift subscription.

Netflix has an increasing number of offerings available with "play to your computer". Considering that one of the computers is a Mac with HDMI output, and considering that I have a component stereo system and a 23-inch HDTV/monitor combo screen, for me the experience will be just as good as if I used FIOS "on demand".

I'll spare you the technical ruminations but I presume that the quality of the Netflix streaming is as high as the quality of the speed of handshaking and the bandwidth in general. So even something equivalent to an upconverted DVD-to-HDTV experience is better than my FIOS set-top box feeding a very good but standard-definition JVC television.

So, would Federal anti-trust statutes prohibit a merger or cooperative agreement between FIOS and Netflix? If the two of them teamed up, and streamed DVDs as fast as the new releases came out, everyone else could be crushed unless they could do the same. So maybe it would be anti-competitive.

Sooner or later, I expect that companies like Verizon will get sued to allow "generic" set-top boxes to be privately owned, in the same way that Bell Telco was sued to allow private ownership of telephone handsets instead of the handsets being leased property of the telco.

Once this happens, companies like Netflix or competition could populate a HD DVR with a BluRay overnight, you watch it once the download is complete, and have a locking feature on the DVR so you can't illegally download or copy it from there.

The overnight download would be so that it wouldn't suck up all your bandwidth while you're trying to read the morning Post or suchlike.

lilkunta said...

@ Bauhaus Bob said...
Your post is so vile. Your racism IS NOT needed. Glenmont is not full of poverty apartments. I have never had to fight any Koreans for parking.

Anonymous said...

I believe all of you gloating about this store closing down are forgetting that there are real people that work there that are losing their jobs.

Anonymous said...

I worked at the HV in downtown SS for over two years and I can tell you the reason it closed down was double fold...rodent infestation that after over a year was still rampant and the fact it was a very poorly run company. Hard work and loyalty counted for nothing there and the turnover in managers was ridiculous...a new DM would bring in a new manager only to have the process repeated again a few months later.
I understand some of the customer service wasn't what it should be at times but when a company pays minimum wage and 80% of the time only has one person working you can expect the staff to be stressed. Goodness knows how many weekend nights I worked alone when there would be a line of people in double figures, the phone would be ringing off the hook, the returns would be piling up, a customer would want help on the shop floor and drunks were trying to start trouble...not possible for one person to handle all at once but the company didn't care. Just like it didn't care about giving its staff notice of the store closure until the final day of its existence. Even then there was no official reason given (and we do know the store was still profitable) so the rumor was it was shut down by the health department due to the constant rodent problems. Whether that's the truth or not I have no idea but, as a side note, I would never eat food from anywhere in Downtown Silver Spring.
HV was a disgusting company to have worked for.

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