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Remembering the Glory Days of the Video Rental Store

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Lovely and nostalgic round-up from the readers of Atlas Obscura.

Though some specialty video shops survive, the golden age of the video store is over. Browsing the wide variety of online streaming options has largely replaced wandering the aisles of the local rental shop. But the memories remain. We reached out to our readers and asked them to recall their favorite moments from the rental days gone by. What we got were surprisingly emotional stories of warm family times, cruddy jobs, and cultural awakenings in the VHS age.

For many, the video store was a communal space where they could have their horizons broadened by little more than some shocking box art, or reliably find that favorite movie they’d seen a thousand times. Rental stores represented possibility, adventure, and very often, togetherness. See our favorite reader responses below.

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