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Blockbuster liquidation

It was a week ago today that Blockbuster announced it would be closing most of its remaining 300 U.S. stores by January 2014. The news prompted many to wonder, hey, aren’t there Blockbuster coupons in this coupon book we bought a while ago? Maybe we should stop in sometime, and use them while we still can.

Then Blockbuster said, oh, did we say we’re closing in January 2014? Actually, we meant Saturday. Sorry, our bad.

A mere two days after the closure announcement, Blockbuster officially rented its last movie and shut its doors this past Saturday. So unless you’re in certain parts of Texas or Alaska (where a handful of franchisees hope to keep the name alive and their stores open), if you wanted to rent a movie the old-fashioned way, and didn’t make it to Blockbuster over the weekend, you’re out of luck.

The good news is, if you have a store nearby, you can stop in today for the start of a chain-wide liquidation sale. “Everything must go!” Blockbuster has announced – including “assorted collectibles, fixtures, furniture and more.” Details are few, but some stores have posted signs promising 25% off the purchase of previously rented movies and games. Presumably, that percentage will get larger, as the selection gets smaller.

If you haven’t actually been to a Blockbuster in ages, it’s good to know that no membership card is required to take part in the going-out-of-business sale – so no need to go looking for yours in the back of a drawer somewhere. And if you’re still somehow the owner of a valid Blockbuster gift card, you can use it to make purchases during the liquidation, and it’s still good online as long as you use it by January 5, 2014.

But what to do with those now-worthless coupons offering free and discounted Blockbuster rentals? Even though the company has been in trouble for a while, and few people actually used Blockbuster coupons anymore, they were still available in places like the Entertainment Coupon Book. “We hope that consumers will take advantage of the savings opportunities while the stores are still open,” Entertainment spokesman Jeremy Bakken offered yesterday, apparently unaware that most stores are not, in fact, open for rentals any longer.

Perhaps those who have the Entertainment books can trade in their unused Blockbuster coupons for a free Redbox rental or something? Sorry, no dice. “Entertainment does not currently offer the option to trade in coupons for companies that end up closing,” Bakken told Coupons in the News. “Entertainment deals with thousands of merchants all across the U.S., and unfortunately, sometimes some of those partners do close.”

Bakken said it all evens out in the end, though, since new offers are continually made available online at no additional charge to Entertainment customers. So that should help make up for the Blockbuster coupons that are no longer worth the paper they’re printed on.

So if you still have a stray Blockbuster coupon, it could end up being a collectible, just like your old membership card, your Blockbuster keychain… and that VHS movie you forgot to return a decade or two ago. Breathe easy – it’s finally yours to keep.

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