Would you pay $40 for a random assortment of five VHS tapes? Almost certainly not, but Urban Outfitters is betting that there is a big enough nostalgia market to drive just such a venture to success. The retailer regularly sells items in its stores, to go along with its clothing selection, that prey on nostalgia seekers and lean into the idea that people will impulsively spend money on things that make them think fondly of the past. But this time they may have gone too far.
Per the official Urban Outfitters website, they are now selling, both online and in their stores, a Mystery VHS 5 Pack that will provide the purchaser with a totally random assortment of themed movies in the outdated, retro medium for $40. The specific pack featured on the website is for 90s comedy movies, with titles such as Heathers (released in 1989), The Waterboy, Office Space, Vacation (which was released in 1983) and Night at the Roxbury being advertised. This is what the retailer had to say about the bundle.
“Set of 5 iconic, assorted ’90s comedy flicks on VHS tape, curated by Studiohouse Designs exclusively for Urban Outfitters. Each set is unique, iconic and will vary from what is pictured here. Don’t worry, there are no duds in this batch!”
Studiohouse Designs is a company focused on retro, often horror-themed memorabilia. Undoubtedly, nostalgia is very in vogue right now. Hollywood is reviving all sorts of once popular franchises for the big and small screen. Shows like Stranger Things on Netflix are helping to drive a massive resurgence in 80s themed media and people are eating it up. Naturally, that may drive some younger consumers to be curious about VHS tapes and there is quite possibly an opportunity to capitalize on that.
Even taking that into account, why pay $40 for five VHS tapes? Especially ones that were quite popular. In some rare cases, it makes a little sense for cinephiles or superfans of certain genres/movies to shell out decent dough for titles on VHS. Some movies never made it to DVD and haven’t since made it to the world of streaming. Those who want to see Rad or I Was a Teenage Werewolf have little choice in the matter. But are movies like The Waterboy worth roughly $8? One stroll through a Goodwill should reveal the answer to be no.
A quick look around on eBay reveals that, even with shipping, these advertised titles, and similar movies, can easily be purchased for a few dollars each. A little more digging, and one can find a lot of 30 assorted VHS tapes for just $32.99, with free shipping no less. Point being, even if one does have a renewed fascination with the medium of VHS, there are certainly more affordable ways to go about purchasing them rather than pay the inflated price for these “unique” bundles from Urban Outfitters online retailers.