One day in the 1990s, a hero dad bought a video camera from a Washington Fred Meyer. Only, the camera he bought wasn't exactly new; he bought the floor model.
Now, three decades later, the footage from that store camera is on Youtube, a perfectly preserved time capsule of 90s culture.
His daughter, Kellie Rogers, and her family first found the footage after they took a bunch of old video tapes to Costco to convert them to DVDs. While watching one of the converted DVDs, they found a 26-minute scene showing the electronics section of a Bellevue Fred Meyer.
That's when Rogers realized she was watching the demo tape from the floor model of the camera. She decided to post the video to Youtube, where it gained nearly 36,000 views in five days.
"I had no idea that many people would think it was that cool," she tells WW. "I called my dad and told him and he was like, 'no way!'"
With the help of Reddit, Rogers says she was able to identify the year as spring of 1992, due to someone spotting Garth Brook's Rope in the Wind album, the Wayne's World soundtrack, Slaughter's The Wild Life and Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power. Tracy Chapman plays in the background. It's strangely calming, working as a hyper-realistic art piece much better than that artist who rolled through Manhattan in a metal tube in 1998, filming everything.
Key moments in the video include 5:29, where a kid wearing an acid wash jean jacket blows a giant bubblegum bubble, the amazing jacket at 8:35, the man holding the balloon at 15:12 and the argument about whether or not a radio includes a cassette player at 14:47. But really, it's all incredible.
"I want to find somebody who was in it," she says. "I just thought it was such an amazing time-capsule, just a snapshot in time. You notice people not being on cell phones, how busy that Fred Meyer is, how people just shopped differently. It was amazing to me, juxtaposed to today's world."
Rogers says she received hundreds of comments, but has a few favorites, like young people commenting on the fashion, people referencing Vapor Wave and noticing little details like the unibrow at 1:35.
Her favorite came from Reddit user LovableContrarian, whom she says expressed sentiments towards the '90s that she sympathizes with:
The most notable thing to me was the dude in the back, browsing through a single rack of records for a solid 20 minutes. I was going to come here and post how it was weird, but then I realized: it’s not weird. Not in the 90’s. Before smartphones and Internet and MMOs and all that shit, going out was exciting. Anything was better than sitting bored at home. You could literally make a day out of going to a store. You didn’t Google new albums, you had to actually go look at the album store every now and then to stay updated. You might read the back of the case to learn more about it. There was no site that surveyed new music and automatically ranked which ones were good. You could get magazines, sure, but they weren’t exactly breaking news. In a way, it’s awesome how much information and entertainment we have. In another way, it’s sad. I look at that dude and I think of myself today. I wouldn’t even look at the album rack because I know all of the albums. If I wanted one, I’d buy it and download it immediately. Everything in the store plus 1,000,000% more is on Amazon. I might glance at the albums to pass the time, but immediately get bored and pull out my smartphone hoping for a social media update or some other useless shit. I miss the days where just going out and doing anything was fun. In a way, we’re smothering ourselves with entertainment and information and taking all of the fun out of everything.