Most of us have taken countless trips to a local movie rental location on weekends to scour the shelves, trying to find a movie everyone actually wants to watch. If everyone can compromise on something (which is usually no easy task!), and the movie is actually in stock, you wait in line to pay for the movie, buy some overpriced popcorn and drive back home for an evening of entertainment. Then hopefully you remember to take the movie back before you get a late fee.

Does that scenario sound familiar to anyone? Late fees might be a thing of the past, but renting movies is a common occurrence for most of us. However, that specific example is becoming less common everyday thanks to newer, more preferable methods of renting like picking up a movie at a Redbox machine or getting movies by mail with Netflix. Online video game rental sites have also become the preferred method for renting games for XBox 360, PS3 and the Wii. An increasingly popular movie rental option is accessible right from your TV (if you have digital cable or satellite) in your On Demand movies.

With all of these different choices for renting movies and video games, it's no wonder traditional movie rental stores are shutting down by the hundreds all over the country. Movie Gallery, which also owns Hollywood Video and Game Crazy, filed for bankruptcy in February and has now announced that it will liquidate all of its locations in the immediate future. Blockbuster has been closing stores by the hundreds as well and is struggling to stay competitive in today's ever-changing economic situation.

Why is it that so many of us have stopped going to our neighborhood rental stores to fulfill our entertainment needs? (That's right, needs!) Have we taken up a personal vendetta against them? Or is it really that hard to make another stop on our way home from work or the grocery store? Don’t you feel just the slightest bit of guilt when you drive by the now-empty Hollywood Video that you visited so often and then forgot about when you started your Netflix membership?

Folks, when it comes down to it, we are the ones responsible for the death – or at least the mortal injury – of the movie rental giants of the past. We are the ones who have decided to sometimes compromise on selection in favor of paying a dollar at a vending machine. We are the ones who have decided we would rather make the postal carrier bring our movies to our doorsteps so we don’t even have to leave the house to rent a movie or a video game. And now we have decided that we don't even want to leave our couches, because we can just click our TV remotes to rent movies.

Who can blame us for choosing convenience over loyalty to our neighborhood rental store? Did anyone feel sorry for candle makers when the light bulb was invented? What about abacus salesmen when calculators were invented? They probably did feel a little sorry for them actually, but not enough to stop them from choosing what was obviously the more convenient, progressive product.

So although we may, for one brief moment, mourn the downfall (or at least major restructuring) of the once great video rental chains, we will continue to rent movies from the new movie rental giants. That is until something newer, cooler and more convenient comes along to meet our needs. That means unless Congress approves a Blockbuster bailout package, brick-and-mortar rental stores will have to evolve with the times or become part of our entertainment history.

No one can say at this point if movie rental stores will survive the day to become a stronger (definitely smaller), more competitive movie and game rental option. One thing is for certain, though. We as consumers will be sure to keep choosing the cheapest, most convenient method for renting movies, without concern for nostalgia or loyalty to the old neighborhood rental store.

Check out our review of online video game rental sites.

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