VHS buying guide

“The Washington Post noted that as of 2005, 94.5 million Americans still owned VHS format VCRs.” Well I should surely hope so. There is no better way to watch a movie. 2006 was the official end to the VHS tape. Many people (otherwise known as idiots) began replacing their VHS tapes with DVDs, starting their movie library over from scratch. Then there are people like myself. Those who began buying VHS tapes by the dozen, whereever and whenever the opportunity presented itself. Oh yes, they are still out there hidden in the dusty corners of the world like ghosts in the attic. Here’s a guide on where to find VHS, the format that will never officially die.

If you prefer not to leave the house (like me) then the internet is the way to shop for VHS tapes. Depending on what titles you seek, it won’t cost you any more than it would cost you to purchase a roll of a toilet paper at the corner store. However, if you have copious amounts of unmarked legal tender then perhaps you’re on the prowl for something a bit more pricey.

Say, a HTF OOP RARE original copy of that Jill Schoelen movie Thunder Alley, asking price $79.94. Of course it is an ex-rental, may have stickers and some minor shelf wear. But hey, that’s all part of it’s charm! And isn’t the thought of owning a VHS tape from 1985 that noone else on your block has worth every penny?

Or if you’re feeling especially frivolous, you could buy Ragtime Summer in it’s original uncut big box for a mere $99.95. It is a former rental, but you see David Warner naked (or so I’ve read). In 1977 David Warner said noone would want to see Ragtime Summer because he was in it. Proove him wrong. Purchase this video tape.

If you only know who Tom Hanks is because of The Terminal, perhaps you should do your homework and pick up some of his real movies. Here’s a rundown of Tom’s eighties filmography and what it would cost you to own it on the VHS.

Bachelor Party 3.58
Big $3.98
Burbs, The $15.99
Dragnet $3.99
Every Time We Say Goodbye $4.46
He Knows You’re Alone $11.74
Man With One Red Shoe $4.99
Money Pit $4.87
Nothing In Common $3.99
Punchline $3.99
Splash $4.00
Turner & Hooch $3.75
Volunteers $3.48

There you go. You could own a complete decade of Tom Hanks for only $72.81. On the DVD that would probably cost you close to $200.00. Not to mention that with the VHS tape, you get a heavy sense of nostalgia.

eBay. Stick with sellers who:

  • Scan the actual item
  • Have a high positive feedback rating
  • Offer Buy It Now
  • Have a seller store
  • Don’t use excessive exclamation points in their listings
  • Don’t rely on Muze to describe the items they list

The downside to eBay is anything that is OOP (Out Of Print), HTF (Hard To Find), RARE, and/or an original release will cost you more than a widely released generic VHS. Made for television movies usually sell for ridiculous amounts of money, but if you have that kind of money it’s worth it. The upside? You usually get to see a scan of the actual item and if not, you get a detailed description.

Amazon. Stick with sellers who:

  • Have a high positive feedback rating
  • Have only one listing for the item they are selling
  • Offer a description of the item, not just their store reputation

The downside to Amazon is that you never get to see the actual item you are bidding on. The upside? Some rare big box releases sell for really cheap.

ioffer. The best place to buy DVD-R’s of anything that you want on vhs or dvd but can’t get. Sellers usually don’t jerk you around because it’s a community of people who are just like you. Want a copy of Fallen Angel or Bad Ronald? Get it here.

Recommended seller on eBay:thevhsvideostore
Reliable, honest, fast. VHS tapes are from a video store called VIDEO UPDATE. Boxes are cut to fit hard plastic cases, like video stores used to do. Every tape I get from him plays great. To top it all off, his prices are so reasonable I always feel like I’m stealing from him, especially when he has those excellent two-for-one deals.

But don’t blame me for anything that goes wrong. I am directing you to these merchants. I have never shopped here.

Conversation you might overhear at a garage sale:

“So how come you’re selling off your VHS collection?”
“Well, I’m buying everything new on the DVD.”
“Because DVD is the new thing.”
“Hm, but these tapes are in mint condition. How much are they per tape?”
“Oh, they’re a dollar.”
“Hm. I suppose that’s a fair asking price. How much will it cost you to replace them on the DVD?”
“Well, I’ve already spent about four hundred dollars.”
“Wow. How many have you replaced so far?”
“Twenty I think.”
“Wow. Judging from these boxes, I’d say you have a long way to go.”
“Yes. Our youngest child probably won’t be going to college.”
“Mmhm. I’ll take them all.”
“Great! Now I can replace my DVD player. The other day it just stopped working.”
“That’s a shame. I’ve been using the same VCR my father bought in 1986.”
“So do you know anything about fixing DVD pla-”
“No. I think I’ll just pay for my tapes and leave.”

General asking price is based on what neighborhood the sale is in. Cheap neighborhood, cheap tapes. Neighborhood that thinks it’s not cheap, usually up to $3.00 per tape.

Oh yes. You heard me correctly. Feather boas, furniture made of real wood, tools that look like they may have belonged to the Marquis De Sade.. and video tapes. Lots of big box action too. General asking price is $3.00.

A nice addition to the household department. Because what household is complete without some video tapes? Not mine, that’s for sure. General asking price is $1.99.


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