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8 February, 2006

Why buy?

I rent DVDs from Amazon, six per month.  I'm not going to overtly advertise the service, but I like it, and have recommended it to friends.
In at least two instances, I've been surprised to encounter resistance to the very concept: "if you want to see a film why not just buy it?"

Either that means the objectors have drastically more disposable income than me (to buy as many DVDs as I rent would cost ~£720 pa rather than £119.88), or that they only watch films that they're confident of liking enough to buy outright.
That's a remarkably disappointing attitude, restricting oneself to safe choices and closing oneself off from experimentation. What about the films about which one is merely curious, or 'classics' that could inform and broaden one's cinematic experience but which one mightn't actually wish to see twice?

Perversely, it's the same people who express incredulity that my rental list would include a Korean film: "why would you spend money on that?".
Exactly my point: I wouldn't be inclined to take that risk 'cold', and spend £6.97 on Oldboy (£19.99 in a high street shop), but £1.67 is more than reasonable. Having seen it, yes, I would want my own copy! At a rough guess, I'd say I go on to buy about one in twenty of the films I rent.

I don't think it's that these people are merely uncritical consumers of the latest overhyped, demographics-driven mainstream pap – they may be that too, but I suspect there's more to it.
Rather, it seems the underlying objection is to the very culture of renting; that owning outright is somehow superior, and renting is somehow a bit tacky, even squalid.

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