In 1988, John and JoAnn McMahon founded Murphy's Express closing in 1994.  They were a small, bright, but hyper-local business that didn't last too long.

You called, and they delivered VHS to the house and picked them up. They installed a small lock box for the tapes.

Rentals are $2.95 each, with a $1.50 surcharge for delivery and pickup. If Murphy's doesn't deliver within two hours - there are at least 10 delivery people crisscrossing the East Bay each night - the movie is free. And there are no "late fees," unless the customer forgets to pop the video in the box. (1)

They only existed in the East Bay area. It had too much competition in local video stores, and the overhead was too expensive - it was ahead of its time by ten years.

The company featured in an SF Chronicle article about a trend of people staying at home, burrowing, cocooning, and the companies that helped them do this. (2)

1) Tuller, D. (1988, Nov 07). SMALL BUSINESS / new home-delivery twist in video-rental market. San Francisco Chronicle (Pre-1997 Fulltext) Retrieved from

2) Nix, S. (1992, Aug 12). One step beyond cocooning / 'burrowers' dig in, stay there. San Francisco Chronicle (Pre-1997 Fulltext) Retrieved from

3)The Netflix Effect: Technology and Entertainment in the 21st Century edited by Kevin McDonald, Daniel Smith-Rowsey, Google Books