Monday, April 14, 2008

Save Trash Video

Everyone knows Trash Video at West End. Alternative, locally-owned video store with massive collection of rare and hard-to-find and unusual stuff on VHS.

Trash is in some serious trouble these days. Here's what owner Andrew recently sent out:

ELEVEN BAD MONTHS IN A ROW have seen us sink further into debt – six grand’s worth of immediate bills in the shape of debt collector letters, over $25,000 in back taxes, and the Tax Office are ringing us weekly wanting their money. That’s $30,000 we need RIGHT NOW. And that’s to stop us from drowning, let alone treading water. Add another desperately-needed capital injection of $30,000 to $50,000 just to compete with the chain stores in the neighbourhood.
1) SELL THE BUSINESS. A heartbreaking option, considering it was my Golden Child thirteen years ago. I guess children grow to adolescence and become more demanding, not to mention a severe financial burden. Maybe someone else can turn the store around. Any takers? Only SERIOUS offers, please. This is heartbreaking enough to have to be polite to vultures looking for what they believe will be easy pickings. I can see the potential and so can others, so please don’t insult me with a patronizing gesture.
2) LIQUIDATE. Sell the collection off in its entirety or piece by piece, and close the business down. The absolute worst-case scenario, but one I may have to face.
3) SURVIVE AND THRIVE. The hardest one to achieve, considering my ever-depleting well of energy, sanity and enthusiasm, not to mention complete lack of capital. Things would need to change and a lot of cash would need to be raised. Drop by the store and BUY or RENT SOMETHING. Just come to us for one week, even if it’s for a token rental from our relatively miniscule selection. Even if we are inherently creatures of comfort and habit, please step outside your comfort zone for one moment, jump on a bus and pay us a visit. You can stop us from going under by choosing to spend your money with us.

IF EVERYONE RENTED $10 WORTH OF MOVIES OR BOUGHT a $10 MOVIE OR POSTER BEFORE THE END OF MARCH, WE HAVE A FIGHTING CHANCE OF SURVIVAL. Aren’t you tired of the Brisbane Lament: “I used to really like that place.” We all pay lip service to indie ventures yet spend our money elsewhere. You can reverse the process of independent stores going out of business by supporting them financially.
VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET: do I choose to spend my money at an independently owned store, or am I happy to see my money go to making big business so big it crushes small business in the process? Spend a little cash with us in the next few weeks, and see what difference it makes. Put credit on your account. Even $20 to use down the track whenever you feel the pinch. Or buy credit on someone else’s account, just to say you love them! Adapt and survive. That seems to be the message coming through loud and clear: embrace the DVD explosion. Most emails lament our situation, yet acknowledge the need to transform the business to meet changing economic and cultural patterns. Long-term plans seem to indicate keeping rare VHS titles on the shelves while expanding the selection of quality DVD titles the chain stores neglect. We will still be a niche store catering to a niche market, but potentially capturing a considerable share of that market.
Time to think laterally... Sponsor a New Release DVD. Buy a title from the “SAVE TRASH VIDEO” lists at Avid Reader in Boundary St and JB Hi Fi in Adelaide St (available from Monday onwards), and donate it to the store. We will then give you the equivalent of the receipt in free rentals (plus you get to watch the movie first!), AND list your name on the front cover. You can be a part of Trash history!
Donate your unwatched DVDs and VHS to Trash. Most people watch a movie twice, three times? One customer has even lent us over 60 of his DVDs for an indefinite period - that means over $800 we didnt have to spend on new (and good!) rental stock - in return for free rentals. Owe us money in overdue fees? Please pay all, or even some of the amount. I'm sure we will be grateful as hell and offer to wipe the excess. Or (and this is a simple one), bring those non-returned DVDs back!!!
Donate cash. The time for pride is over. We have put a donation box on the counter, 'cos at this point, every silver coin helps. Loan us some small amount, say $500 or $1000. We will pay it back in six months or a year, or when we can afford to. That way we can plow even more capital into buying new DVD stock. Meanwhile you can enjoy the luxury of free rentals for the period of the loan. Or just write off the amount and call it a gift, its up to you.
We will keep listening to good ideas, get marketing advice. Help us devise a workable advertising campaign. And above all, keep getting the word out that indie stores need your ongoing support.

Volunteer your services for a few hours a week or even once a month. Help us clean, do a leaflet run, offer me an extra pair of hands on an afternoon or evening to put movies away, and get a few free rentals in the process! Benefit Shows. A solution proposed by many, but the sheer time and energy factor to set up and promote an event for possibly very little return, particularly at this moment in the shopĂ­s history, precludes me from the equation. If anyone would like to set up an event, or series of events, I would be more than happy to put my name to it.
From Dana: “A Roller Derby, Marathon Soc Hop, anything that Happy Days did.... we do.” Don’t throw away your VHS player, or get a cheap $30 machine from the Pawn Shop. We will even rent out VHS players for a week or weekend at very reasonable rates. Don't allow commerce to hoodwink you into believing DVD is the only worthwhile format. The truth is, DVD is not the indestructable format we believe (check out some of our 20-plus year old tapes and compare them to a six month rental disc, and see if the tapes skip and freeze or just refuse to play on your machine). Also, help us keep our VHS library intact and halt the process of cultural homogenization. If DVD becomes the sole format, your choices are slashed. Once half of our VHS stock disappears from the shelves, you may never see them again.
Keep the Grass-Roots Campaign Rolling To Save Trash
You don’t need a Blockbuster advertising budget to get your message across. Show how grass-roots networks DO work, and make everyone aware how bad it is for small business to compete against the global corporatization of EVERYTHING. Do a blanket coverage of chat rooms, forums, bog sites, email networks. So I guess our future is in your hands once again.
DO WE SELL? DO WE SCUTTLE? OR DO WE WE KEEP GOING IN A MUCH BETTER SHAPE? If you come in and spend money with us over the next two weeks, we have a good chance of surviving the hump, evolving and thriving. If you don’t, we will wither and die. THE CHOICE IS YOURS. But don’t say “Man, I used to really like that place, it’s a shame it had to close down.” Use your power wisely to change things for the better, if that’s what you choose. Whatever happens in the next few weeks, at least you can say we gave it one last try.

True talk. Here's the Trash blog, myspace and website. Let's all support this local worthy business.

1 comment:

Leavoldsceptic said...

For most of us tax is not something we CHOOSE to pay or not. Back taxes mean you can't organise your own arses. People are sick of your whinges about how hard the world is....