When to hock your old flicks

I went out with a friend to sell some of his old DVDs to one of those buy/sell chains like BMV or Sonic Boom. I’m not sure how many he actually sold, maybe ten or twelve, but he did manage to score twenty dollars – an insignificant return when compared to the original market value of these disks. He, as I know him to do, over-intellectualized his reasoning for wanting to get rid of this selection of films and television programmes, but the base reasons are valid: they took up space and too-easily inspire laziness in spite of how many times he had watched them.

I believe he was partly inspired by the unnecessarily large collection he saw when he last visited my place. A collection I jokingly described grew out of a combination of gifts and loneliness which I have often found myself wondering what I should get rid of. I don’t see myself watching Dodgeball, Hobo with a Shotgun, Dead Snow, Garden State, the Punisher, or Zack and Miri Make a Porno in the near future, perhaps I could use these to buy a coffee the next time I approach destitution.

I could argue that I keep these in case I have guests, though I’ve never found many in that particular list to be all that useful (in the past, company has often chosen Serenity  or Everything is Illuminated over Seth Rogen, and Hobo ‘s school bus scene is too obvious a mood killer for the dates I don’t want to end immediately). I’ve also considered that the amount of money spent on the films I no longer wish to keep would be a laughable fraction of that spent on said films, and while I do recognize this is a kind of backhandedly cheap way of not making money back it is a bit insulting to have a store clerk look over your past purchases and tell you how much they’re worth – if they’re worth buying back at all. Fuck that guy. And his hat.

After we left the store, we discussed the outcome of the voyage. For my friend, what little monetary reward was presented him was past the point. He succeeded in his purge. He told me that, were the clerk not to find any interest in his bag o’ DVDs, he’d take them to places like the Salvation Army.

After my own bout of over-intellectualizing the event to the point of writing a wordy post regarding the value of selling off your old possessions I realized something: I need to learn to move on.

Like, seriously.

This isn’t even that philosophically big of a deal.


1 Comment

  • rthornhill says:

    An interesting post to any of us with needlessly large DVD collections. You raise issues I find myself increasingly considering in the age of Netflix / Hulu.

    Growing up, I bought VHS tapes and later DVDs in large quantities, often indiscriminately given how low the price point often was. Indeed, anyone who has wandered the basement at BMV knows how easy it is pile up on movies for prices barely above the cost of a rental.

    However, as you point, we are ultimately left with a pile of what can all be called "stuff" that we are very unlikely to watch more than once. As you also point out, the "value" of these DVDs almost never appreciates. Even when one has an out-of-print title, it often is only a short amount of time before it returns to print anyway.

    Of course, that having been said, I almost never regret the initial purchase price in terms of exchanging value to see a movie–it's more that I find myself possessing a physical object whose value has decreased both literally (good luck selling it) and figuratively ("Why do I own this again?").

    I wonder then if the solution is simply digital film subscriptions / rentals? With Hulu+ offering a prime slate of Criterion releases for viewing at any given time, this option becomes more and more attractive.

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