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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Reckless Video Redux

5/5/19 Reckless Video in the Maple Leaf neighborhood

It’s not looking good for Reckless Video.

The last independent video rental store in Seattle, Reckless is where we have been renting movies in the Maple Leaf neighborhood for nearly 30 years. Although we subscribe to Amazon Prime and occasionally stream entertainment that way, we still enjoy walking up the street a few blocks, chatting with the staff and other customers about their recommendations, and occasionally running into neighbors there. Even the rack of candy for sale and posters on the wall feel more friendly than scrolling through titles on Amazon. As a sign at Reckless says, “the Internet is not a neighborhood.”

One by one, as other video rental shops have closed their doors during the past decade, Reckless has somehow managed to stay open. However, a recent article in The Seattle Times reported that Reckless is now operating in the red, which can’t continue forever. “But I don’t want to just close down and not let people know this is happening,” owner Mike Kelley is quoted saying.

I felt very sad reading this news. Maybe Netflix, Prime and other streaming services are just the way of the world now, and it’s time for Reckless to die. When it does, we’ll just stream our entertainment on Prime, so it’s not as if we’ll miss out on the latest movies or TV series. But I’ll certainly miss our ritual of walking up there to pick out a movie and chatting with the staff about their favorites.

I sketched Reckless five years ago, and even back then I wondered how much longer it would be around. But it has hung on so far, and I wanted to sketch it again. Mike has some new flags out front. One says, “Shop Local.” The other says, “Burn Netflix.”

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