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Blockbuster bah #2 - Not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be
Blockbuster bah #2
Speaking of Netflix and its peccadilos... Just before I left for Maryland, I once again canceled my Blockbuster account after its six weeks of free service (two-week free trial, plus one-month free "Wait! Don't go! We'll do better!" deal-sweetener). During that time, with their abysmally slow turnaround, we managed to get nine movies out of them. (Would have been more if I'd printed the free coupons that came with the account, and redeemed them at our local Blockbuster, but that would have meant getting an actual Blockbuster account.) During the same period, Netflix sent us literally twice as many titles, what with the two-day turnaround being faster than Blockbuster's eight-to-ten-day turnaround and all. There was literally one case where Blockbuster and Netflix each shipped us a film on the same day; Netflix's film arrived, we watched it, sent it back, got a replacement, and watched that before the Blockbuster film even arrived.

Blockbuster has just cut the price of their movies-by-mail service again. I wouldn't have known, except that they sent me a pleading "come back, we're cheaper now and we'll do better, we swear" e-mail a couple of days ago. Personally, I am hoping with vile schadenfreude that this is an indication of desperation on their part rather than a brilliant business strategy that will actually start putting nails in Netflix's coffin. Judging from the way Blockbuster's stock has been dropping over their price cuts and elimination of late fees, that may in fact be the case.

But just to make sure, I signed up for another two-week Blockbuster trial at my parents' place, and filled the queue with movies we can watch over Christmas, and backup movies that my sister wants to see. She doesn't want any online service associated with her name, so I used her cat's name, and my credit card, so if something goes wrong, I'll be the one who gets billed. I'll be astonished if Blockbuster manages to get us movies before I leave town, but their execs are claiming in the news stories that they've got one-day delivery to 65 percent of their customers, so maybe Chicago's just a bad area for some reason. I'm certainly curious to see what their delivery rate is here.

Meanwhile, I'd brought a couple of Netflix to Maryland to watch with the family. I flew in Monday night, we watched one of them (Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure. Ohhhhh, the badness.), and I put it in the mailbox for pickup on Tuesday. It arrived in Chicago on Wednesday -- or, at least, Netflix registered it as returned on Wednesday. I'm still trying to figure out how that's possible. Maybe someone saw the Netflix envelope and returned it to a local center instead of looking at the address? Or Netflix has quietly adopted Blockbuster's system of "once it's in the mail, it registers as returned"? Dunno. It seems improbable. But I still make out the score to be something like Netflix 27, Blockbuster 1.

I'm-a feelin': irritated vindictive

9 people still haven't weakened / Isn't it a great life?
From: keefsbriefs Date: December 23rd, 2004 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
we wanted some music for the holidays so we ordered some old SNL music dvds and Old Grey Whistle Test British Invasion, got the email from Netflix Tuesday that I would expect them Saturday (frown)..but they came today! Yep, they seem to be getting faster and I even rec'd a survey from them to see how they are doing
marphod From: marphod Date: December 23rd, 2004 05:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Or Netflix has quietly adopted Blockbuster's system of "once it's in the mail, it registers as returned"

Unlikely. Early adopters of Netflix had this ability (by going to the website and marking the movie as returned), and Netflix pulled it.

DC-area to Chicago area mail in a day doesn't actually suprise me that much. DC has enough outgoing mail to all parts of the country, that it is optimized for non-local delivery. For instance, it usually is faster to send a letter to a major metro area on the west coast than it is to send a letter from Rockville to Alexandria.
febrile From: febrile Date: December 23rd, 2004 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)


As a somewhat loyal Netflimmer and unlikely Blockbuster, I've little to say to your post. Instead, I'm going to play your favorite game and mine: Non-Sequitur!

Merry Merry to ya, Miss rollick! Here's hoping your travel goes smoothly and your visit is warm and happy!
snowy_owlet From: snowy_owlet Date: December 23rd, 2004 07:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I saw that about Blockbuster, and that Wal-Mart now has a mail video rental service. TOO BAD! We've had such a good experience with Netflix that I am a completely loyal customer at this point. And it's all your doing!!
thefirethorn From: thefirethorn Date: December 23rd, 2004 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

I must comment on something else

and LiveJournal isn't so much my private interface with interesting strangers as the Number Of The Beast, which we all must have stencilled on our foreheads at some point before the Apocalypse.

yes -- and it's ALL YOUR FAULT shame on you.

When are you coming home?

And how is your parent's internet connection holding up?
rollick From: rollick Date: December 23rd, 2004 11:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I must comment on something else

Uh, by "coming home," you mean "returning to Chicago"? I have plane tickets for the 29th, but if the current deep freeze keeps up (my dad points out every day what the temperature differential between here and Chicago is) I may never return. Because brrrr.

Oh, and Grandma didn't come here this year.

Oh, and let me know when you get your package, which I'm hoping will arrive before Christmas.
thefirethorn From: thefirethorn Date: March 6th, 2005 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I must comment on something else

Uh, by "coming home," you mean "returning to Chicago"?

well YEAH, since you havn't lived in Maryland since, like 1989 or something.
rollick From: rollick Date: December 23rd, 2004 11:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I must comment on something else

Oh, and their cable-modem access is spiffy-fast.
jensantarelli From: jensantarelli Date: December 27th, 2004 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)
i'm pretty sure netflix has something worked out with the post office like blockbuster does.
9 people still haven't weakened / Isn't it a great life?