Rite Aid Retail Archaeologist Uncovers Full-Price VHS Movie

It’s not out of the question that someone might want to purchase a copy of the film version of “A Series of Unfortunate Events. It’s not difficult to imagine that they might even pick it up at Rite-Aid, and that they might be willing to pay $20 for an eight-year-old movie. What caught reader Jay’s attention, though, was that the film was in his local pharmacy’s discount DVD bin, at full price––and on VHS.


What Jay missed, of course, is that this isn’t a VHS tape at all: it’s actually yet another of the clever disguises of Count Olaf.

The other explanation, that this stunning retail archaeology find has just been languishing on the shelf for years, is too sad.


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  1. GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

    Laura, your puns/inside jokes in the posts lately are just one of the reasons I still come to Consumerist day after day. They are much more enjoyable than discovering speeling errors.

  2. noahproblem1 says:

    You young’ins don’t know how hard life used to be – many, many moons ago I spent $80 to buy a copy of “Sixteen Candles”…IN BETA FORMAT!

    • chu1302 says:

      You chose poorly!

    • Blueskylaw says:

      You got suckered; I wouldn’t have paid more than $62.00 –
      Molly Ringwald wasn’t “that” good :-)

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      And these auto-rewinding platters that the kids use for movies and music these days are amazing. I remember my first Betamax player just played, none of this fancy-pants rewind or fast-forward. Of course, when the movie was over you had to take it out, stick your finger in the spindle, and twirl it around your head like a New Year’s Eve noisemaker to rewind it.

    • ovalseven says:

      Yeah, I remember getting my first VHS player in 1986. Got it from ABC Warehouse for $300. A couple of years later, I upgraded to one that supported stereo. That one set me back over $500 at Sears.

      • MathMan aka Random Talker says:

        It’s interesting how inflation affects some sectors, not other. Now, a much better (arguably) piece of technology – blueray player – goes for $50 – $250. The dollar actually goes much further today than in ’86 when it comes to home entertainment.

        • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

          Not to mention a no frills desktop IBM-PC clone would have set you back about two to three thousand dollars. An entry level PC today costs about a tenth of that, or even less in 1989 dollars. Yet comparing the two in terms of performance would be like comparing a pair of roller skates to a Maserati.

        • ovalseven says:

          True, but demand has a lot to do with it. The same turntable I bought in 1985 for $60 now sells used for more than that. Any $60 turntable you buy today is garbage compared to what you could get in the ’80s.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    I would be interested in this movie, but unfortunately aisle 7 was all out of VHS players and
    they couldn’t tell me when their next shipment would arrive since they don’t know themselves.

  4. akronharry says:

    One of the finest movies ever made. I have worn out my tape fro watching it on a daily basis. WHere is this one located so I can buy it?

  5. BSVeritas says:

    Is that price tag dated April 2010?

  6. techstar25 says:

    I’d love to know the series of unfortunate events that caused this tape to be there this long. *rimshot*

  7. AngryK9 says:

    I used to be a field technician for Rite Aid Corp. This doesn’t surprise me one bit.

  8. Torchwood says:

    Amazon has this movie on DVD for $6.45, or on VHS for $3.45. I’m sure the VHS version will satisfy anyone who thinks that DVDs is just a passing fad, and that they have no need for something faster than dial-up Internet.

  9. El_Fez says:

    THAT is full price for a VHS tape? Please! Back in MY day, you were getting a bargain if you paid anything less than a hundred dollars for a new VHS.

    • scoosdad says:

      I’m sitting here looking at a relic from my home video collection. It’s the very first prerecorded movie on VHS I ever bought. I didn’t even have a player at home at the time but we had some of the very first VHS machines where I worked at the time, some Panasonic industrial types and I used to bring one home from time to time. The date on the box for the layout and package design says copyright 1980 by WCI (Warner) Home Video. The movie is “Monty Python’s Life of Brian”.

      I remember paying well over a hundred bucks for it at the time. Not too long ago I bought the same movie on blu-ray for about $10.

  10. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    When visiting the worlds smallest K-Mart, I like to go to the section that has the boxes of hard-sectored 8″ floppies. If I’m going that way again, I will shoot a cellphone shot of it.

  11. do-it-myself says:

    I find it unfortunate that there has yet to be a movie-sequel to this series. It was supposed to be an entire franchise. Whoops!

  12. expostfacto says:

    Rite Aid must never send back old inventory. About a year ago, I saw a VHS copy of Batman Forever being sold for 30 bucks with a sticker on it for a contest that ended in 1997.