Monday, October 25

Making It Official: $1.00 is too damn high for a VHS, folks...

.
If you've been reading BoGD for even a week, you're probably well aware of my love of video tapes. So naturally I'm a seasoned swap meet vulture; prying cassettes from uncaring hands before their inevitable trip to the great dumpster in the sky. Before I took up seeking out VHS (and Beta), I primarily collected DVD and have seen the trends in price with regards to movie discs at flea markets and yard sales. I can remember when used DVDs hovered around $8, then $5, and settling in for quite a long time for $3 a pop. Nowadays, sealed discs average six bucks while recently the used rate has began dropping further to just two bucks. I don't believe this is from people becoming wiser and opting to Netflix, Redbox, or Blu-ray. It's more the realization that the resale potential of their collection consisting of Corky Romano and The Lord of the Rings is tantamount to a flaming bag of dog shit.     

Yet oddly enough, the space-consuming, antiquated, and generally unwanted VHS format still commands a dollar a piece and has for years. No matter the condition or age, a buck seems to be the unwritten suggested price, despite the much newer predominant disc-based format now being a mere one hundred cents more. All this really hit hard yesterday at one of my swap meet haunts. The first guy I spotted with tapes had a few of the Elm Street series. I picked up a beat-all-to-hell copy of Media Entertainment's 1989 Dream Child VHS. A dirty, dog-earred ex-rental complete with a small bottom rip from someone who couldn't grasp the concept of taking a cassette out of a slipbox. The thing was I needed this unrated copy for comparison purposes as an overseas tape is currently flying across the Pacific en route to my mailbox.

While I'm standing there examining a heavily abused, twenty-one-year-old tape I hear, "Yeah, the tapes are a dollar and DVDs are two." For shits and giggles, I pick up a nearby disc of Casino Royale (full screen, of course). The cover, disc, and case are in perfect condition. For one dollar more. Possessing haggle skills passed down by my father and honed for years in the weekend trenches, I work the tape down to fifty cents. This is the nice price for tapes and should be mandated as the revised normal rate for swap meets and yard sales. A dollar is understandable if one obviously babied their collection with kit gloves, but the vast majority of tapes look tossed around in a dryer and left to rust in storage. There's no justification for trying to pass off VHS (and especially Beta) for a George Washington in '10. Instead, let those quarter pieces satisfyingly jingle in your pocket after a day of selling...                                                        
.   

5 comments:

Andy said...

Ah but what price does nostalgic memories of video rentals from the past command?

The only VHS I currently own are one metric TON of Disney films given to us by a family friend. We specifically bought a VCR/DVD combo for the kids just to play these old tapes. Even the sound of the tape loading can take me back to my wasted youth...

Lee said...

Totally agree. People selling VHS tapes obviously have no need or love for them. A tape that looks in perfect shape? Okay, maybe it's worth $1. You know, if it's not available on DVD, or if it's one of those late period VHS tapes that had extra features after the film had played (I once had an Anchor Bay version of Halloween that was like that). But after that? Damnit, .25 cents for a beat-up copy, .50 cents for a decent shape copy. Christ, at this point, with BluRay and stuff, it's like trying to sell a 8-track for $1 or something.

Anonymous said...

Haggling the price of tapes at swap meets is probably a bad idea though, enough people as it is see them as worthless and throw them out before considering selling them onto a new home, if there's not even a single $1 in it for the swap meet sellers then your unlikely to find old gems for too much longer.

Ian Miller said...

I agree with both: after securing some tapes in a "three-for-a-dollar" sale, I've had a hard time paying even a dollar for most titles, unless (as you stated) they're rare, or in primo shape, because at that point, finding available space becomes worth more to me. On the other hand, if I were all fired up to see SILENT MADNESS and came across the copy in your pic, I probably would have spent 2-3.00, it just depends.

Of course, in a swap meet situation, dude or lady carried those heavy-assed boxes in, so barring potential jerk-o seller factor, I would just pay the dollar, unless it was the last day or I was buying a bunch of 'em, god forbid. I have too many already!

Anonymous said...

c'mon people! It's a dollar! I will happily pay $1 for something I want...maybe even more...you cant even get a can of soda for $1 these days!

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
Basement of Ghoulish Decadence, Basement of Ghoulish Archive, and all original material Copyright © 2009-present by Jayson Kennedy. All rights reserved.