.Awhile ago I detailed the annoying practices of video dealer "in-betweeners" and this morning I ran into an even more totally baffling ideology from a swap meet DVD seller. Today I could have scored an authentic, factory sealed copy of Zombieland, exactly nine days before its official release date. The guys selling these are there every weekend and peddle a strange mix of "real" discs, obvious bootlegs of real discs, and throwaway bootlegs of UFC events and Bumfights. When I first spotted this crew setting up shop a number of years ago, they carried nothing but bootlegs, though I guess over time the fear of that whole up to five years in prison and/or $250,000 fine-thing caused this real/fake release mixture. I seldom see people actually buying stuff from them, but they manage to usually have Tuesday's new blockbuster releases like clockwork. Sometimes they have real releases way ahead of their street date and this is where this morning comes in.
There it was, Sony's brand new Zombieland DVD, sitting there next to bootleg copies of Gran Torino and the Platinum Edition of The Lion King. Now, this occurrence isn't new to me, and realizing there was only one copy on the table threw up alarms. So I put on my idiot face and tone as I coyly asked how much the DVD was. I was quickly met with "It's not for sale, it will be next weekend." Huh? I didn't press the reasoning because these dudes look like they have friends on C-block, but what possible advantage would there be to not sell the product you have out...to sell?
I don't give a flying damn if you'll have it for sale next week. I don't want it next week, but I will buy it now. What, I'm just imagining that I'm holding this DVD in my hand? What's for sale and what isn't? Pre-release swag is awesome (well, with movies that are worth it) but the thing is this thrill dramatically decreases with the arrival of the street date. So yeah, I could wait and buy it from these dudes next weekend...or just wait three days more for February 2nd and pick it off the bountiful retailer tree anywhere. There's almost no incentive to buy it from these guys if they won't break street dates by a substantial margin and this should be obvious even to them, right? Chain stores and e-tailers can indeed face hefty fines for breaking street dates, but you aren't Best Buy, man. I'm sure Mr. Police Officer will notice those badly-printed covers on your Drag Me to Hell bootlegs before those real factory-sealed DVDs already out or not resting on your table. Maybe it's just me...?