Nostalgia in artifact VHS tapes similar to vinyl records

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For some reason, my roommates and I thought our apartment was not chintzy enough and that the next logical step was to bring up one of our VHS players. We each had a few tapes hiding in the darkest corners of our basements and in the back of media cabinets at home, but we figured we’d see what else we could find for cheap at local stores.

So finally, over at Buybacks on Peach Street, my roommate Pete and I found what we were looking for. It’s a little self-explanatory, but Buybacks is a media store that will buy your used movies, music and games, and we sometimes like to go and look at the used CDs.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure right? Well, this time, what was most people’s trash was our treasure.

They were selling tapes for 10 cents, and if you bought three, you’d get the fourth free. As we were sifting through the shelves, one of the employees yelled down to us from the top floor, “Please, take as many as you’d like.”

Yeah, they knew a couple of suckers when they saw ‘em. We were probably the first people all week to look through those old, dusty movies that they were desperately trying to get rid of. A half hour or so later, we left with a big box full of tapes for about $7.

Now, we can watch classics like “Caddyshack,” “Rocky,” “Wayne’s World” and a bunch of ‘90s Disney movies, all in their original grainy glory. The last one we watched was “Mr. Mom,” a Michael Keaton movie from the ‘80s (which is great by the way). If you squint really hard, well, it still looks like you’re watching an old VHS tape, but who cares?

Not that it’s a fair comparison, but it kind of reminded me of how vinyl records have become so popular in the past couple years. Something old becoming new again.

I remember reading in an article someone compare CDs to office supplies and even though I’d never thought about it like that before, it kind of rang true to me. There’s not as much charm in buying a CD, or especially a digital copy of a record.

I would think it feels more like you’re actually buying someone’s art when taking home a 12-inch record in one of those big cardboard sleeves and filling a room with music instead of just your ears.

Record enthusiasts will tell you all about how vinyl sounds better than digital and whatnot, but I think the nostalgia is what is really bringing people back more than anything. I guess that’s kind of how it felt looking through all those old tapes.

We also found a lot of movies that came out during the time when VHS tapes were the main medium that you never really see anymore, like “City Slickers” and “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.”

It almost makes me forget about all the times the VHS player got jammed at home when I was a kid, with tape strewn across the floor as my dad tried to dig the cassette out. He basically put a household ban on renting them from the library.

I’m also pretty sure 20 years from now, unlike vinyl records, kids won’t find a single redeeming quality in VHS tapes. But they do bring back a lot of memories because they’re physical mementos from a time that we all grew up in, like vinyl records for our parents’ generation.

KYLE JOSEPH

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