And Then There Was One: There’s Now Only One Blockbuster Store Left in the World

iStock.com/mrtom-uk
iStock.com/mrtom-uk

It’s nearly the end of an era. A Blockbuster store in Bend, Oregon—the last U.S.-based survivor of the video rental chain—is about to become the last Blockbuster store in the entire world, CNN reports.

The news comes as the Blockbuster Morley store, located in Western Australia, announced it would be closing at the end of this month. Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010 but continued to license its logo to individual franchises across America. However, due to the lure of affordable streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, the stores began to shut down one by one.

The Bend store became the last remaining Blockbuster in the United States in summer 2018, when two Blockbuster stores in Alaska finally shut their doors for good. "If you'd asked me 14 years ago, there's no way I'd thought we'd be the last one," Sandi Harding, the general manager of the Oregon store, told Engadget at the time. "It just seems a little crazy.”

While lamenting the demise of other Blockbuster stores last year, staff at Bend's Blockbuster also celebrated their survival by selling T-shirts and hats. They even collaborated with a local brewery to create a limited-release beer called The Last Blockbuster, which was launched during a party at the video store. If they were going to go out, they were going to go out in style.

And yet the store, which has been open for more than 20 years, still manages to attract business—and not just from visitors from who want to relive a nostalgic experience. Although it offers newer movies, Harding says their older, classic titles are the real selling point. “You can go to Redbox and you can get the new titles, but they don't have the older ones," she told CNN. "Netflix and Amazon don't have everything, either."

[h/t CNN]

Game of Thrones Counseling Available for Upset Fans Following Series Finale

Iain Glen and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Iain Glen and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

It’s no surprise that some fans are having a hard time dealing with the fact that Game of Thrones is over. The show ran for eight seasons, and became a huge part of fans's lives and Sunday night routines. Moreover, since the season 8 premiere first aired, fans haven’t been too thrilled with the trajectory of the show, and it has only gotten worse. (The final episode in the series scored the lowest rating in the show’s history on IMDb).

But if you’re having a hard time wrapping your mind around the end of Game of Thrones, or just want to vent, there's a counseling service here just for you. CNN reports that if you go to Bark.com, a UK-based online marketplace, you can find a Game of Thrones counselor who will listen to your every qualm about the show. "The professionals will help them digest their feelings and interpretation of the show, which could range from anger and confusion to sadness and grief," the service description reads.

"We watch them to escape our daily lives and immerse ourselves into the 'unknown,'" Lynette, a counselor from Bark.com, said in a statement regarding people's TV show obsessions. "This is the very reason why we sometimes become addicted to watching them, the stories they tell become part of our identity."

There’s options of booking a 30-minute or 60-minute session, which range from $25 to $51. Fans can choose from a face-to-face session, group session, or online, and can specify which specific problems they’re having regarding the show. 

What do we say to Game of Thrones-related anxiety? Not today!

New Coke is Making a Comeback Thanks to Stranger Things

Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Caleb McLaughlin, Millie Bobby Brown, and Sadie Sink in Stranger Things.
Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Caleb McLaughlin, Millie Bobby Brown, and Sadie Sink in Stranger Things.
Netflix

In what was considered one of the biggest consumer product marketing blunders of all time, the Coca-Cola Company upset devotees of their signature beverage by introducing New Coke in 1985. Sweeter and smoother than the original, people practically revolted over the change, and the drink eventually disappeared from shelves.

In 2019, New Coke is not only resurfacing—it might turn out to be one of the company's savviest marketing moves to date.

CNN reports that Coca-Cola will be producing 500,000 cans of New Coke in collaboration with Netflix to promote season 3 of Stranger Things, the 1980s-set paranormal drama. Cans will be featured on the show in a kind of retro product placement.

Fans can look for the cans online, which will be offered as a free gift with the purchase of two special Coca-Cola Classic or Coke Zero Sugar glass bottles with Stranger Things artwork beginning Thursday. Special vending machines will also be set up in major cities, and visitors to Atlanta's World of Coca-Cola can purchase the product there, too.

The company is using the exact same recipe for New Coke that got them in hot water back in 1985. For many, it will be their first chance to sample the drink that anti-New Coke activist and retiree Gay Mullins described as being "unbelievably wimpy" and tasting like Pepsi (a comment meant to be derogatory). Originally intended to replace Coca-Cola Classic, the drink was eventually rebranded Coke II and sold through 2002.

Coca-Cola anticipates demand will exceed their 500,000 can allotment, which means you're likely to see them pop up on eBay before long.

The new season of Stranger Things premieres July 4.

[h/t CNN]

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