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Loose Discs Don't Sink Gift Sets

12 May, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Sorting through Best Buy's stock of Universal Studios Home Video's The Monster Legacy DVD gift sets recently, Todd Brashear, co-owner of Wild and Wooly Video in Louisville, Ky., noticed a customer shaking each uniquely packaged boxed set that features miniatures of horror characters Frankenstein, The Wolf Man and Dracula, looking for errant discs.

According to Brashear, free-floating discs can kill the DVD set's appeal to serious collectors — never mind the potential for defective merchandise.

“They don't want anything to do with them,” said Brashear, whose clientele include connoisseurs of biker/gang, zombie and women in prison videos, among other eclectic fare.

Incredulous to the notion that somebody hawking images of women behind bars would care about free-floating discs, I called Best Buy.

“It's not something we get a lot of calls or complaints about,” Best Buy spokesperson Brian Lucas told me. “And usually I'm the one who gets those kinds of complaints.”

Bruce Herberger, president of Showtime USA Video in Loveland, Colo., and confirmed believer that the studios are out to eliminate independent video retailers, said that if the studio isn't putting the disc in a keepcase, then the product was planned obsolescence.

“There is absolutely no way that disc is going to reach you in any kind of descent shape,” Herberger said.

Most video retailers contacted, however, said the issue of was much ado about nothing.“I've never had anybody mention that to us,” said Russ Homer, president of Instant Replay in Pittsburgh. “You are the first.”

Best Buy's Lucas, who admitted the chain attracts an inordinate number of DVD box set collectors, said the problem might be self-induced.“Maybe if they stopped rattling [the gift sets] so hard,” he deadpanned.

Better yet, don't worry about.

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