They once dotted shopping plazas in America with ubiquity, beckoning binge watchers with shelves of VHS cassettes, microwave popcorn and boxes of candy — and a reminder to “Be Kind, Rewind.”
Video rental stores, pushed closer to the brink of extinction by streaming services like Netflix and changing technology, may be a thing of the past but an overdue rental became an issue of the present for a Texas woman.
The woman, who was identified in court records as Caron Scarborough Davis, recently learned that there was a 21-year-old outstanding warrant for her arrest in Oklahoma.
reported on Thursday.
“I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” she said.
Ms. Davis said motor vehicle officials referred her to the district attorney’s office for Cleveland County, Okla., where a woman explained the charge against her.
last Blockbuster video store, in Bend, Ore., said in an interview on Sunday that bringing criminal charges for an unreturned movie seemed overly punitive.
“We’ve definitely not sent out a warrant for anybody for that,” she said. “That’s a little a bit crazy to me.”
Blockbuster assesses daily late fees of 49 to 99 cents for overdue videos up to 10 days. After that, the store charges customers up to $19.99 to replace one of its DVDs or Blu-ray discs, Ms. Harding said.
In some cases, the store, which does not rent VHS cassettes, will refer past-due accounts for collection, she said.
“We would never charge someone $100 for a copy of ‘Scooby-Doo’ that they never returned,” she said.
It was not immediately clear who owned the now-shuttered video store where Ms. Davis rented the tape or whether she owed any late fees. She told KOKH Fox 25 that she had no recollection of renting the video, saying that she lived with a man at the time who had two young daughters.
“I’m thinking he went and got it and didn’t take it back or something,” she said. “I have never watched that show in my entire life — just not my cup of tea.”
“These extra steps are annoying,” but essential, he said, especially in Hawaii, where the state’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs told a local television station that it is launching an investigation into the high cost of rentals that have been listed for as much as $600 a day.
In lieu of hunting yourself, you can use AutoSlash, which uses rental car company coupons and discount codes to sort through search results that it says would take consumers considerable time. The free service also uses things like wholesale store and airline frequent flier program memberships and affiliations with organizations like the American Automobile Association and AARP to find deals.
The service then tracks the rental to ensure it remains the best value, emailing travelers to rebook in the event of a price drop.
Alternatives to traditional rental cars
There are, of course, transit alternatives to renting a car, including ride share services, bike share systems and public transportation.
For those seeking the privacy and control of an auto, Turo acts like Airbnb for cars, allowing individuals to list their vehicles for rent on the platform, where choices range from $20-a-day older subcompacts to luxury cars like a Lamborghini in Miami for more than $1,000 a day. Vehicle owners set the terms for things like daily mileage limits.
“In summer, when we started seeing people getting anxious to get out of their homes, we saw a boom in local travel and local destinations,” said Andre Haddad, the chief executive of Turo. “The local travel boom was advantageous to our hosts because people needed cars to get to these destinations and less so planes.”
For Justin Villa and Meagan Malcolm-Peck, Turo is a side gig through which they rent five Jeeps in the Denver area, which cost between $73 and $98 a day (they also have a heavy-duty pick-up truck for $184). After an initial three-month crash at the start of the pandemic, business has been steady with drivers and rental periods have extended beyond weekends. They encourage guests to rent about a month in advance.
“There are a lot of operators and owners who aren’t accustomed to being fully booked, and it can be tough to make sure they’re sorting out cleaning schedules and things like that,” said Jeremy Gall, a vacation-rentals industry veteran and the chief executive and founder of Breezeway, a property care and cleaning operations platform.
But, he added, “I think it’s all generally good news, especially in the context of the last 12 months. I don’t think there’s an owner, host or manager who would trade off the uncertainty that they felt this time last year for a fully booked summer.”
You’ll probably pay more than you did in 2019
According to Transparent, a vacation-rentals data company, the countywide average nightly rate for Airbnb vacation rentals in July and August is expected to be around $220. Last year, it was $194; in 2019, it was $185.
At Evolve, a hospitality company that manages more than 14,000 short-term rentals around the United States, nightly rates are up 27 percent in July and 19 percent in August, over those same months in 2019.
“I’d be remiss to say that we didn’t raise our rates significantly,” said Jon Mayo, whose Airbnb in Palm Springs has more nights booked this summer than ever before, despite the sure-to-be-sweltering desert temperatures. “I’m renting at rates I wouldn’t have even dreamed of three years ago.”
Across the 1,000 vacation homes managed by Twiddy & Company, a hospitality and asset management firm in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, weekly summer rates have risen 8 percent since 2019, from $8,406 to $9,152. On StayMarquis, a luxury vacation-property management company, average rates in the Hamptons this summer — around $1,360 a night — are up 12 percent over 2019. Nightly rates across the 270 rentals managed by Hawai’i Life, a luxury brokerage and rental management company in Hawaii, are up 11 percent from 2019.
You’ll probably stay for a while
The elongated travel patterns that emerged last summer, from monthlong stays to four- and five-night “weekends,” are back in full force this year.
The couches were nice, and the Orange County home where Ms. Ellman picked them up was even nicer.
Ms. Ellman ended up really liking Ms. Hutsona, who volunteered to deliver the couches to her home later that evening. But Ms. Hutsona had a tale of woe: Her family’s new Malibu apartment had mold! Ms. Ellman, who had planned on renting out her Palm Springs home to vacationers, took pity.
“I learned that they were having to move out of this house and that they didn’t have a next step,” Ms. Ellman said. “I was like, ‘Wow, that’s pretty devastating. Whatever, whatever.’ I mean, that’s where, stupid me, I offered to let her stay in my place free of charge.”
But Ms. Ellman didn’t know that Ms. Hutsona had recently been evicted from the fancy Coto de Cazo home for trying to pay her $6,500 monthly rent with a bad check and by stopping payment on a second.
The women became close. Ms. Ellman allowed Ms. Hutsona’s family to crash on her couch when she and her husband had meetings in Los Angeles. When Ms. Hutsona, Mr. Vician and their two children were invited to tape an episode of the game show “Don’t Forget the Lyrics!” Ms. Ellman accompanied them as their guest and cheered them on.
Then, things — like Gucci purses — started going missing.
“She just knows how to navigate a person. She acts very reliable, and she becomes very close to you as though she’s your friend,” Ms. Ellman said. “She almost knows when you’re in a position to help, and she works it to the end. But she makes it where you offer it up. She works the angle that she’s in a bind, and she doesn’t know what to do.”
Fortunately, Ms. Ellman had filed a change-of-address form when she moved to Los Angeles. So the bill for a new credit card in her name, while it was addressed to the Palm Springs location, came directly to her. There were charges for a storage unit, car repairs and an Audi rental from Hertz.
6:30 a.m. Today, I’m moving bourbon samples out of the private office I’ve been renting at Vuka, a co-working space in Austin. I meant to do it the previous day, but I fell behind schedule after the winter storms closed Texas, and I’ve been busting my butt playing catch-up ever since. Being pregnant also doesn’t help my energy levels.
8:30 a.m. After we take our daughter, Andi, to her nanny’s house, Kevin drives me to Vuka. On the way, I call my distribution partner in Canada to discuss introducing Eaves Blind to that market. We’re having a hard time securing the licenses we need for spirits sales because the tasting program doesn’t meet their government’s standards.
9:30 a.m. Kevin assembles moving boxes, and we pack all 260 samples. I’ve approved various lots for my Tennessee bourbon client, Sweetens Cove, based on six different barrels ranging from three different ages, four to six to 16 years old.
11:30 a.m. We head to lunch at this vegan spot, Casa de Luz, then back home to unpack the remaining spirits, plus my graduated cylinders, beakers, scales and other tools.
1 p.m. Start compiling a long list of to-do items for a Chinese client who is constructing a distillery in Fujian. I’m creating a timeline of everything that needs to happen before they whip up their first run of single-malt products, including equipment cleaning and testing, as well as ingredient sourcing. I also review all of the instrumentation diagrams their Scottish engineering firm provided. I love the technical side of the industry!
3 p.m. Time to pick up the baby. On the way, I call an Australian-based design firm about a collaborative project with Lindsay Hoopes of Hoopes Vineyard in Napa. We discuss names for a smoked brandy we created using grapes affected by the 2017 and 2020 wildfires. I’m excited about the name we all like — it’s sexy and provocative.
4 p.m. Head home for our nighttime routine with Andi — dancing, lots of funny faces, plus some walking and “talking.” She’s got the hard “k” sound down. She tries to say “truck,” “rock” and “duck,” but it just sounds like she’s sitting there cussing.
ENFIELD, Conn. — The bones of Brooks Brothers stores are scattered across 100,000 square feet here in a warehouse near the Massachusetts border, mixed in with a sea of cardboard boxes and junk.
There are legions of mannequins, empty circular tables that once displayed neckties, posters of horseback-riding gentlemen from a bygone era. There is a whole section of Christmas trees and countless gold-painted ornaments of sheep suspended by ribbon — a Brooks Brothers symbol since 1850 known as the Golden Fleece. Blank order forms for tailors are strewn about. A neon sign that apparently still works. There is no apparel, but there are rows of heavy sewing machines that most likely came from one of the brand’s recently shuttered factories. And in the bathroom, a welcome carpet with Brooks Brothers written in cursive sits next to a toilet.
The whole mass was abandoned here in the fallout of Brooks Brothers’ bankruptcy filing and sale last year, the scraps of a retailer that made nearly $1 billion in sales in 2019. Ever since, the couple that owns the warehouse, Chip and Rosanna LaBonte, has been scrambling to figure out how to get rid of it all. Junk removal companies have told them it will cost at least $240,000 to clear the space, which Brooks Brothers had rented through November. In order to pay the bill, the LaBontes are going to have to sell their home.
retail bankruptcies, which cascaded during the pandemic and affected everyone from factory workers to executives. Smaller vendors and landlords have often been left holding the short end of the stick during lengthy byzantine bankruptcy proceedings, particularly with limits on what they can spend on legal bills compared with larger corporations. And once bankrupt brands are sold, people like the LaBontes are typically left in the dust.
corporate bankruptcies in the United States last year, which had the highest number of filings in a decade, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
The LaBontes, who are in their 60s, have been working with a liquidator to sell what they can of the Brooks Brothers detritus, and are about to list their home in Sherborn, Mass. While they have filed a claim in bankruptcy court, they are anticipating receiving less than 5 percent of what they are owed, if that — and confessed that the proceedings are hopelessly confusing. Most of all, they are angry and incredulous about the situation, especially as Brooks Brothers continues to operate under wealthy new owners.
entire portions of their closets. J. Crew and the owners of Ann Taylor and Men’s Wearhouse also filed for bankruptcy, while sales nose-dived at chains like Banana Republic. Temporary store closures added to the distress, along with the cancellations of special occasions like proms, graduations, weddings and other events.
All that led up to Brooks Brothers’ bankruptcy filing in July, one of the most significant retail collapses of 2020. Brooks Brothers had dressed all but four U.S. presidents at the time of its filing, and prided itself on its American factories, which were also forced to close.
the SPARC Group, including Lucky Brand denim and Forever 21, leveraging the combination of Authentic Brands’ expertise in licensing famous brand names in various lucrative and creative (and some say equity-destructive) ways and Simon’s real estate portfolio.
At the time of the Brooks Brothers purchase, SPARC committed to keep operating at least 125 Brooks Brothers retail locations, compared with 424 retail and outlet stores globally before the pandemic.
Under the new owners, Brooks Brothers switched to wire transfers instead of checks, but kept paying rent on the warehouse through November, sending even more goods there as it closed dozens of stores and shuttered its three American factories, Mr. and Ms. LaBonte said. But after Thanksgiving, it sent a letter to the couple rejecting the lease as well as the contents of the warehouse. According to a person with knowledge of the deal, the warehouse and its contents had not been part of SPARC’s purchase of Brooks Brothers. As a result, said Mr. Van Horn said, the new owner most likely has no legal responsibility to the LaBontes.
A representative for SPARC stopped returning requests for comment.
“They used it for all of their store fixtures, so tables, props, fishing poles, canoes, everything you would see that would go in and out of a store to decorate it,” Mr. LaBonte said. “There’s probably 20,000 square feet of Christmas trees — everything except the actual merchandise.”
As to who would want it now: Customers have included local clothing makers looking for mannequins and a set designer from an upcoming HBO series called “The Gilded Age.” Last Monday, an older couple wandered through the space, looking at the Christmas decorations and empty gift boxes. Habitat for Humanity has been looking at the haul for several days and is taking some of the goods. Still, Mr. LaBonte estimated that somewhere around 30 percent of the leftovers have been sold.
The liquidator paid the LaBontes approximately $20,000 to sell what they can through mid-April or so. The couple will not receive a cut, and will deal with what’s left. When junk removal specialists assessed the cost of clearing the space in December, one quote was around $243,000 while the other was closer to $290,000.
“We’re just another Covid casualty to them, we get that,” Ms. LaBonte said of Brooks Brothers. “But I also don’t think they realized how much stuff was there.”
The junk removal firms, which confirmed the prices with The New York Times, said that it was expensive to remove the volume of goods. The costs included labor, multiple trips to dumps, donation and recycling centers, and the use of specialized equipment such as a forklift, large dumpsters and an 18-foot box truck.
“I’ve been doing this for seven years and I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Rick McDonald Jr., the owner of EastSide Junk, which provided the $243,000 quote to the couple. “They left an astronomical amount of stuff.”
When Authentic Brands, the licensing firm, announced the purchase of Brooks Brothers out of bankruptcy last year, Jamie Salter, the company’s chief executive, spoke about the retailer’s legacy and its “incredible history.”
The LaBontes, confronting a warehouse full of some of that history, were unhappy to see those comments.
They put out a statement recently asking: “What kind of heritage can they claim when they operate like low-rent, fly-by-night bullies?”
Contact Sapna Maheshwari at firstname.lastname@example.org or Vanessa Friedman at email@example.com.
PARIS — With their bright yellow awnings and sagging iron shelves, the Gibert Jeune bookstores, which sell cheap secondhand books, have been a fixture of the Latin Quarter in Paris for over a century, a mainstay of the neighborhood’s shabby-chic intellectual life and beloved by tourists too.
“So old and unchangeable,” said Anny Louchart, 74, a longtime customer who was recently rummaging through boxes of paperbacks at one of the stores, her voice filled with nostalgia.
But a sales assistant told Ms. Louchart that four of the store’s seven outposts in the area, including the one she stood in, would soon close, hard hit by a drop in sales because of the pandemic.
robbing their city of its soul has not spared the Latin Quarter, where fashion stores and fast-food restaurants have taken over many of the spaces once occupied by ancient cafes, bookstores and movie theaters. The neighborhood’s appeal has driven up rents, causing a once-vibrant student life to crumble.
Figures from the urban planning agency Apur show that 42 percent of the Latin Quarter’s bookstores have vanished in the past 20 years, and Paris’s open-air booksellers are also fighting for survival.
But the news of the closings of the Gibert Jeune bookstores — an institution that seemed immortal to many people — has sounded an unusual alarm. It strikes at the very heart of the neighborhood’s identity: access to culture at an affordable price.
Three Gibert Jeune stores just closed, and the fourth was expected to follow suit in the next few days.
student-led “May 1968” protests that took place there.
Ernest Hemingway wrote that Paris and its Latin Quarter allowed “a way of living well and working, no matter how poor you were.”
Michel Carmona, a historian and geographer specializing in Paris, said that the cultural erosion of the Latin Quarter started in the 1980s and was intertwined with the gradual decline of student life. “Cheap bookstores, cafes and movie theaters are primarily for students,” he said.
He added that residents of the neighborhood were increasingly “transit people” — wealthy foreigners eager to have a pied-à-terre or tourists renting Airbnb apartments.
At the heart of this dynamic lies a paradox: Gentrification uproots the same bohemian charm that draws people to the Latin Quarter.
Latin Quarter Committee that lobbies the authorities on defending the neighborhood’s cultural identity.
In an attempt to help, the Paris authorities said they had acquired the premises of some struggling bookstores and offered them rents slightly below the market rate.
In a statement, the leadership of the Gibert Jeune chain said that “the Covid crisis, with the emptying of the Latin Quarter of Paris,” had been the final straw.
apocalyptic” since the start of the pandemic. The gloom that has settled over Paris has been perhaps most conspicuous in the Latin Quarter, whose very heart — the cafes, restaurants, theaters and museums — stopped beating amid government lockdown restrictions to fight coronavirus infections.
The temporary shutdown of these cultural pillars has resonated among local residents as a dress rehearsal for the near future. Cafes and theaters have not reopened since the fall, when a second wave of infections was taking hold in France, and many fear that some will have gone out of business by the time restrictions are lifted.
On the Rue Champollion, a cobbled, narrow street close to the Sorbonne, the lines of film buffs that once stretched out on the sidewalks in the middle of the day are nowhere to be found today. The three art-house movie theaters there were closed for the lockdown
One of the theaters, Le Champo, has been displaying extracts from its guest book — “the memory box,” as it called them — behind its closed windows. A 2018 message left by the prolific screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, who died last month, read: “For Le Champo! So many years later … and how many more years to come?”