Thursday, April 9, 2009

Blockbuster May Go Bankrupt

Blockbuster is reporting that it may go under. This doesn't surprise me in the least especially in light of the service I've received at my local Blockbuster recently. First off we don't rent very many movies that are not kid shows as we have a hard enough time keeping up with the TV on our DVR.

However I did feel like watching a comedy the other night so I stopped off to rent The Pineapple Express. I got into line behind a large number of customers. While in line we were all treated to a discussion between a customer and store manager on the clarification of the "No Late Fees" policy. Apparently the guy had a movie that was due back over a week ago so he was automatically sold the movie for $54. It was quite comical to watch the manager try to justify the price of the sale when the guy could turn around and pick up the same movie from the previously viewed display where they were charging $16 for the save movie.

But I digress, after waiting in line for 20 minutes along with a bunch of other irate customers I was able to rent my movie. I was surprised to note that there was a new pricing scheme in effect. Apparently a new release for one day is $3.99 but now for every day it's over due you are charged another $1.99. Whereas you can get the same movie for 7 days for $5.99. Evidently the incentive is to get the movie back ASAP to save a couple of bucks. If not it makes sense to buy the "insurance" and take the week long deal.

Later on the same night I sat down to watch the show only to get two thirds of the way through the movie before it started to skip back to the start and it was too late to return to the store to exchange it for another copy. ARG!!! So completes the Epic Fail! of renting from Blockbuster. Next time I'm just going to pay the $4.99 to rent it from iTunes without leaving my house.

However, there is a small silver lining in all of this. When I did return the movie to Blockbuster the next day the nice clerk behind the counter put a free rental on my account. So they get a plus for good customer service after the fact but I don't expect to be racing out to use my free movie anytime soon.


Anonymous said...

Stories like this is why I use Netflix. But it also sounds like I watch more DVDs than you do -- I decided that if I watch at least four per month, it makes the subscription worth it. Most months, I watch more than four. Some months, I don't watch any.

I think that ultimately, the future lies with on-demand online streaming and/or rental, like iTunes or Netflix "Watch Instantly".

scot said...

well, since whenever my wife buys a DVD it is a tax deduction for her we haven't had a video store account for five years. haven't missed it to be honest.

The League said...

Honestly, I hadn't rented a video at a Blockbuster in years until visiting a friend out of town last month. Between NetFlix, InDemand on Time Warner, very cheap Premium movie channels with InDemand capability, and a DVR, I haven't had the need. Throw in the punitive policies of Blockbuster (still based in the 1980's model of "you need us more than we need you"), and I try to avoid the video store.