Disturbing Trend With DVDs

Posted Friday, May 2, 2008, 4:16 PM

I live in a fairly average suburb; not too far away from the city centre, but not so close it's expensive and elite. The local shopping area is quite comprehensive, with everything you could want, and a few specialist shops besides. It doesn't have a good hot chicken franchise, though.

However, it does not have a specialist DVD store. Rental shops, yes, but not for buying, so the only place I can go locally to get my fix (and DVDs are one of my few real vices, if you can even call it that) is the Target store. Target covers a wide range of items, not really specialising in anything specific except maybe household goods and clothes, and they carry a few big and cheap brands, but not much else. In the realms of DVDs, therefore, there are serious holes in their available selection.

One thing that annoys me is that they don't get in the newest movies on the official day of release, and instead it may be four or five days before they appear. This doesn't really bother most consumers, but for people like me, especially when it's something I've been pining for in my annoying geeky way, then it can be quite frustrating to make the effort to go in specifically and not find it there.

The next thing that bothers me is that the selection is so naff. It's usually just the big name movies, a few of the really popular TV series, rather a lot of the stupid crap for the under 2s, and whole shitloads of oldie stuff from before 1950. So if I want something a little unusual, such as season 2 of Count Duckula, or Ross Noble's latest stand up show, then most likely I'll never find it anywhere in their store. I'm sure they would order it in, but it would take them days to get it, and there may even be an extra charge for the effort, when it's easier for me to just hop on a tram and grab it elsewhere.

And now we come to the crux of why I'm ranting today. A new trend has begun at Target and other major retailers (Borders is doing this too) and that is some movies are coming out with two editions - a barebones one with no special features, and a 2-disc edition with all the bells and whistles. It used to be that they only stocked the full-on edition, so no matter which store you went to, the moment you recognised the name of the movie on the cover you could pick it up confident that it was the bestest available in the country. But now that can't be relied upon. Now Target et al are only getting in the barebones editions!

Bastards!

This means that in order to get the version I want, I have to make the effort of going to a more comprehensive store, which in this case is going to have to be JB Hi-Fi, the only store in the country that does it properly. I wouldn't even trust Ezy-DVD's shop to stock it, as they seem to be tiny and pokey and a lot less impressive than you'd think considering their online store.

But JBs doesn't have a store conveniently near me - the nearest ones are about 5km from here (in all four compass directions) so they're a tram or train journey away. That's not a great expense, but it is annoyingly time consuming.

I have to be vigilant. Today I almost bought The Golden Compass from Target without checking the back for the list of its content, but I did check anyway out of force of habit. Lucky that I did, it had no mention of any extra features. I thought that was very unusual, considering it's a visual extravaganza of a film, and it would be perfect for showcasing a bunch of cool documentaries showing off their effort. So I looked around the shelves, but no other edition was visible - that is, except for the Blu-Ray one, which strangely enough listed shitloads of cool stuff. So I knew something was up. I decided to detour to Chapel St and go to the JBs there, and sure enough, there it was: a 2-disc edition, right there on the top shelf.

I was careful this time, but I am sure one day I'll accidentally drop my guard and end up with the naff edition of something sometime soon.

Damn them!

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