Blockbuster Manager Curses At Customer Who Refused To Sign Up For Rewards Program

A Blockbuster manager responded to reader Sarah’s refusal to sign up for Blockbuster’s rewards program by declaring: “Fucking customers, I’m tired of everyone not listening when they don’t even know what they’re talking about.” Sarah had politely declined to enroll in the program several times before the outburst.

She writes:

My boyfriend and I entered the store on 1848 Airport Rd., Suite K in Chapel Hill, NC at 9:30 PM on Saturday, August 25, to rent two movies. As I am a previous Online customer, but have never held a Blockbuster in-store rental account, I signed up at the customer service desk before checking out with a very polite woman. She started to explain the Rewards program, but upon my polite expression of disinterest, she offered me a brochure and said I could read it over and decide later if I’d like to enroll.

After receiving my card, I went over to the rental desk and waited in line. An employee at the rental desk asked if we were ready, so we proceeded to check out. He asked if we had just registered, and we told him we had. He then began to tell us about the Rewards program, and I showed him the brochure we’d just been given and said we weren’t interested at the moment. He continued to tell us about it, and I told him expressly I was definitely not interested. He continued describing it, and I said, “No, really, it’s okay. I’m not interested. Thanks though.” He started to get visibly frustrated with us, and said that we didn’t understand, and then asked if we’d be renting another movie from Blockbuster in the next year, and how we could get a free movie every month, and I said one more time that I was really not interested. My boyfriend at this point felt like I was not being respected (which I wasn’t), and said, “I think she knows what she’s saying, she’s not interested.” At this point the employee said, “NO, you aren’t listening, why don’t you tell me what I’ve been talking about?” I was incredibly offended at this point, as I feel that the customer is entirely entitled to refuse voluntary programs. At this point, I asked to speak to a manager, and the man held up his employee ID badge to identify himself as the manager. I was amazed that any company would place such a rude individual into such a position, and asked him if he was seriously the manager. Finally, he muttered, “Fucking customers, I’m tired of everyone not listening when they don’t even know what they’re talking about.” This was absolutely absurd, as there were children in the store, directly behind us in line — not to mention that he had just cursed at a customer. He began to argue with my boyfriend, at which point I just asked for our merchandise so we could leave. He slammed the DVDs down on the counter, told us they were due Saturday, and was very visibly on edge.

This encounter has completely turned me off of all Blockbusters at this point, and I’m actually dreading even returning the DVDs I rented tonight. I seriously hope Blockbuster doesn’t intend this to be the normal experience for its customers, and I suggest you seriously consider this e-mail as fair warning of an out-of-control situation. I have heard of absolutely horrible customer service experiences at Blockbuster stores in the past, but I never really believed them until tonight.

I am so horrified by this experience, I am considering filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Again, I’ve dealt with a lot of rude employees at various institutions, but I have never felt so disrespected and so upset as I am tonight.

Reasonable upsells are tolerable when delivered by polite employees, but no customer should be subjected to aggressive outbursts, especially not from managers. Beyond complaining to the Better Business Bureau, contact Blockbuster corporate at (214) 854-3000 and let them know their manager’s outrageous behavior cost them a customer.

(Photo: RocketRaccoon)

Comments

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  1. saythisword says:

    Take that, Netflix! You might make customer service a priority, but
    Blockbuster curses and shouts at people who are trying to pay them
    money! SUCK ON THAT.

  2. spinachdip says:

    The guy must be a charmer with the ladies.

    “Are you listening? I said I HAVE A WATERBED! I drive a CONVERTIBLE! WHY DON’T YOU WANT TO GO HOME WITH ME?!”

    Seriously, I’ve always argued that businesses have to communicate with consumers, be it advertising or PR or point-of-sales, like they were talking to a girl. And no girl likes a guy who’s pushy or desperate.

  3. grouse says:

    Don’t bother with the BBB. What’s the point? The most impact it will have is to pass the message onto corporate, who you can contact directly.

  4. vonskippy says:

    Wow, people still go to brick & mortar movie rental stores. How quaint! (stupid, inefficient, limited selection, paying too much – but quaint).

  5. spinachdip says:

    @vonskippy: As much as I love Netflix, there’s no online substitute for the brick-and-mortar when you decide you want to stay in and rent a movie.

    That said, this reader lives in Chapel Hill, NC, which doesn’t exactly have a shortage of independent and/or local video stores. They’re friendlier, often cheaper, and have wider selections of foreign and independent films (not to mention porn!!). There’s no good reason why she should be renting from Blockbuster.

  6. That70sHeidi says:

    While I haven’t had any rude experiences at Blockbuster, they seem physically incapable of fixing my account in their system. They ask me every single time I’m in – several times a week – to confirm my address. I’ve told them time and again, always politely, that yes, I still live there and yes, George, you asked this Monday. And last Thursday. Still haven’t moved. They’ve tried adding “warnings” to my file not to ask, but apparently the warnings pop up AFTER the request for confirmation.

    I’m waiting to see if the magically-appearing “Adult Block” that I just had removed will re-appear. I haven’t been 18 in at least a decade and I’ve definitely been renting R movies since at least June of this year, but suddenly hey there red flags!

    When Blockbuster rebrands itself as Skynet in a couple years, I’m moving to Fiji.

  7. Buran says:

    @spinachdip: That’s none of our business. Blaming the customer for choosing a particular store doesn’t help the fact that that store treated them like dirt.

  8. nctrnlboy says:

    WOw! Thats kinda bizarre! You’d think most BB employees are used to customers saying “no thanks” during their hard-sell spiel.

    Btw… this weekend I rented two dvds (they were free with the coupons I had)& they forgot to remove the yellow security strip that locks the dvd cases closed. I had to look up a hack online to get it open (involves magnets). I plan on putting the strips back in & requesting 2 free dvds for my trouble when I return them.

  9. That70sHeidi says:

    @vonskippy: The only reason I’m with Blockbuster NOW is that when you do the math of in-store exchanges, the rentals come out to $1 a movie. Even in the 80s you couldn’t beat that price!

    I AM running out of things to exchange for, I might have to run A thru Z down the Horror and Foreign aisles. When I’m done with that, I’m going back to the $10 a month plan. It gets rough watching 12 movies a week!

  10. spinachdip says:

    @Buran: I’m not blaming the customer – I sympathize with her 100% (see my previous comment). I’m just saying, she’s not going to have any trouble finding a non-douchey alternative for her spontaneous DVD rental needs.

  11. curmudgeon5 says:

    Yeah, the Better Business Bureau won’t care, I don’t think; they’re more about fraud, shady business practices, etc., not general rudeness.

    As a side note, if the offending employee is the manager, that doesn’t mean you have to let it go. Ask him who he reports to — probably a regional manager or something. Tell him you want his supervisor’s name and phone number. If he refuses, go home and contact the corporate office with your story — and make sure to mention that he refused to give you the name of his boss, which will piss them off as it’s usually a violation of policy to refuse that. Make sure to ask for and include the guy’s name in your complaint.

  12. Hawkins says:

    This is another reason to try to avoid national chain operations when practical. The manager of a Blockbuster store (or any other corporate behemoth) is just a flunky, a cog in a vast machine. The manager of a local independent video rental operation is probably the owner, or related to the owner, and is much less likely to go postal, and more likely to be nice you you.

    Think about it.

  13. allthatsevil says:

    He most likely was not the store manager, but rather the manager-on-duty; either a shift leader or assistant manager can hold that title.

    That being said, I’m totally confused as to why he would be so passionate about it in the first place. It’s not like BB employees get any kind of commission off something like that. Most likely something else had him on edge and he lashed out at her over something stupid.

    If she were to complain to the store or district manager, he probably would not be employed there for long. They’d probably also offer some kind of compensation, but I wouldn’t set foot in that place again.

  14. allthatsevil says:

    @curmudgeon5: District manager info is usually posted somewhere in the store, though she probably won’t want to go back to get it. She can, however call the store at any time, and ask any employee for that info. They are required to give it, and probably won’t even ask why she wants it. DMs will likely bend over backwards to make her happy.

  15. ivieso says:

    wow that guy is a jerk. You seem like you handled it very calmly. Kudos to you. If it was me, I would have kicked him in the nuts.

  16. bohemian says:

    These upsell rewards programs are getting out of line anyway. I am tired of being marketed to every time I try to buy anything. I don’t want a rewards card, credit card or to give anyone my phone number.

    When will corporate america figure out that this crap alienates customers?

    What the guy at BB did was way out of line. She should have refused to complete the transaction and left.

  17. Crazytree says:

    I had a similar situation at a car dealership, and the salesman got so upset at me for something he mistakenly thought I did… he effectively impounded my car for 3 days and refused to release it.

    Wrote a letter to the corporate office and now he’s the guy who puts the paper floormats in my car when I bring it in for service.

    True story.

  18. JohnMc says:

    Provided this is true, this is worse than the TigerDirect fiasco. Definitely write a well worded calm letter to corporate. You know there are just some people who are not suited for the retail business.

    Were I BB corporate I might suggest a drug test. People don’t usually just go off like this without some ‘assistance’.

  19. arachnophilia says:

    call corporate.

    they REALLY don’t like that, but in this case it’s quite deserved. there is no reason anyone in the store should be pushing a program that much, to the point they are fighting with customers who decline. it’s probably pressure from on-high to sell more rewards programs (and thus, more repeat business) and the added corporate stress of netflix competition.

    they need to hear the effects it’s actually having on business, from the customer’s perspective. if you ever see any employee of any store acting this way, your immediate reaction should be very politely asking for the “guest relations” or “customer relations hotline.”

    then you can explain to the nice people there why you’re never giving them your business again, and it’s more likely to have a real impact on the store or the chain in question.

  20. spinachdip says:

    @allthatsevil: I’d be surprised if the upsell wasn’t tied to bonuses or performance reviews in some way.

    That was the case for the frequent buyer program at a mail order reseller I worked for when I was in college, except we were told to drop the subject the moment the customer said “no thanks”. Though the incentive program there was a pretty decent deal ($25 one-time fee, 10% off everything forever), so we’d automatically add it to the order if it went over $250.

  21. artki says:

    > He began to argue with my boyfriend, at which point I just asked for our merchandise so we could leave.

    The big mystery here is why, after being abused, you went ahead and did business with them? Do you WANT to give them any of your money?

  22. allthatsevil says:

    @spinachdip: I used to be an ass-man at BB, and they never gave employees incentives to do anything. Except for the DirectTV – you had to be an authorized seller for it, and then you got $10 for every person you signed up. I have a feeling that $10 was coming from DirectTV and not BB, though.

    Unless they’ve suddenly started treating their employees better, which I seriously doubt, then he wasn’t going to get anything out of selling that Rewards program. We certainly didn’t when I worked there.

  23. bigTrue says:

    @spinachdip

    personally, my g/f and I go to Blockbuster because it’s right on the corner (less then 1/4 mile away) and we signed up early enough to still get unlimited in store free rentals with the online ones we bring back.

    What’s not to love? I get all the new release stuff when its in store, sign up for it on the list when it’s not, and we get to rent a bunch of older stuff for free whenever we’re in the mood. Since she’s only 23, she’s never seen a bunch of movies I (29) grew up with as staples, so we’re slowly moving through the stack.

    There’s a local place that’s better stocked (an entire Criterion Collection Wall) but its a much farther drive and costs more then unlimited freebies. As for porn, we’ve got a great porn/toy shop only about 10 minutes away that we get all our naughty stuff at. They’ve got a better selection then any mom and pop store has anyway, since they keep up to date with new releases instead of just having a bulk purchase of misc videos to stock the room.

  24. spinachdip says:

    @allthatsevil: I see, that really is surprising. And now I’m even more surprised by the batshit crazy manager if he had nothing to gain from the upsell.

  25. Televiper says:

    Some places do have very good incentives programs that work for frequent customers. It would be much better if they took a hint when the infrequent customers make it known that that they don’t give shit. Instead of assuming the customer heard them wrong. There are times when get calls from my credit card companies about new benefits and I just end up saying, “I actually really just don’t want to talk about my credit card right now.”

  26. The Dude says:

    Take control of the situation. Make a scene. Yell loudly with your hands cupped over your mouth dramatically: I DON’T WANT TO SIGN UP. DO I HAVE TO REPEAT THIS A FOURTH TIME? WHY ARE YOU MAKING EVERYONE IN LINE WAIT? I DON’T WANT IT. I DON’T WANT IT.

    In other words, make the guy look stupid. Play his game. Get out of your shell and you’ll feel much better about the whole thing.

  27. dasunst3r says:

    The moment he said f*** would’ve been the moment I (calmly) walk out of the store and not even bother renting anything. That manager doesn’t deserve any business.

  28. ThinkAboutItPlease says:

    Chances are EXTREMELY good that the cursing manager is under pressure from his superiors. Under pressure to sell the “rewards” program, which, while disguised as “good for customers,” is intended to be a cash cow for Blockbuster. No doubt that manager spread the pressure to all employees to do everything in their power to force the decision their way. This BS comes from corporate policy regarding revenue (which may in turn be substantially motivated by shareholder value pressure). It’s quick buck thinking, not thinking: How can we treat customers with more respect and empathy so they will really like us and be more loyal, and thus produce long-term profitability? It’s the AOL mentality, Jiffy Lube mentality, or Best Buy mentality. Fucking foolish.

  29. Rahnee says:

    Use Movie Gallery instead.

  30. macinjosh says:

    Wow, that Blockbuster is rated PG-13!

  31. Roundonbothends says:

    Well, the motive here may be something else. I’m on the unlimited exchange plan and average maybe five movies traded per week. I don’t actually RENT movies from them in the store, so all they make on me is whatever BB corp. is paying them for the exchange and the popcorn tubs I get every week from my $5.99 “snack card.” I see that they are not promoting the snack cards in my local store anywmore – the display is gone – but you can still purchase the cards by asking for them. (The snack cards are good for up to $1.99 credit _per visit._ So if I make it to the store twice in one week, I get about four bucks of “free” popcorn.)

    I haven’t seen the local store PUSHING the rewards program, but I did see the flyers in the store. I don’t know if it even applies to EXCHANGES. Could this be how stores are trying to move us away from the online rentals?

    What amazes me is that many folks will spend $4.29 to rent a movie. BB Online has ruined me for that. Itunes taught me that a buck is the price of a song. BB taught me that $17.95/month is the price of five movies and five exchanges per week.

    I bet that frustrated, nutty manager is desperate to do anything to get folks renting instead of trading. He’s even convinced himself that it’s good for his customers. It’s really BAD that they are not effin’ interested.

    And my local BlockBuster is clean and the employees are polite. Something I DO find interesting is that I do a lot of plotting and planning about what I’m ordering online. In the brick and mortar store, I just charge in there and find something interesting. Last night, I grabbed anime and a Russian movie called “Mirror Wars: Reflection One,” which was actually pretty decent.

  32. MystiMel says:

    I watch movies a lot from Blockbuster. I’m in the online rental program. I have 3 dvd envelopes I can keep as long as I want and send in when I’m done. Then they mail me out new envelopes. However I hardly ever just mail them in. I usually take them in and return them in the store because When I do they give me a free regular rental for every envelope I’ve brought in. I also get another free rental every month. I’ve never had customer service problems, except maybe occasionally being mailed the wrong dvd. However, that’s easily reported and fixed. I also can’t really remember the last time they asked if I wanted to be a rewards member…
    I like Blockbuster a lot. That store she went to needs to go under some serious review. The manager’s behavior is ridiculous… It makes me think they must have some sort of commission based thing going on with selling the rewards program. Maybe the manager had a quota to fill.

  33. spinachdip says:

    @bigTrue: Okay, so there are good reason to rent from BB. I’d still pick a combo of Netflix and mom & pop (99 cent rentals!) though.

    In my defense, my last experience with BB was pre-Blockbuster Online, and the one near me had incredibly meager selection of movies that weren’t new releases. It didn’t help that they charged a late fee on a movie I returned on time and accused me of lying when I asked to have the fine removed.

  34. Buran says:

    @JohnMc: While that’s pretty bad, no one has the right to not be offended while everyone does have the right to not be subjected to false imprisonment or illegal search and seizure.

    TigerDirect violated someone’s rights and threatened their freedom. Blockbuster was just rude.

  35. darkclawsofchaos says:

    Stare at him creepily, just keep staring and then say no at the very end. If he still insists or if you don’t have the patience, just ask him what is the reward after every few words he speaks times and let him explain it until he gets frustrated and having a confused look helps.

  36. hypnotik_jello says:

    @spinachdip: Except that bb’s selection is absolutely awful in my opinion. The BB near by house folded recently – absolute shite movie selection followed by absolute shite service.

  37. cornish says:

    @artki: That struck me as odd as well. My completing the transaction she made it clear that the manager’s actions and words were perfectly find with her. Not sure why she’s complaining now.

  38. di5ad says:

    The manager’s attitude, tone of voice, and language are inexcusable. So don’t take what follows as an excuse.

    Ever wonder why cler … ‘scuse me … sales associates are so pushy about store credit cards, bonus plans, buying more batteries than you need, extended warranties etc.

    It’s because that’s how they get paid.

    Many of them are making little better than minimum wage and the only way they can increase their take-home is with commissionable or spiff sales. (If you’re not in retail, spiffs are bonuses paid for selling specific items.) The items that normally get the best bonus for the seller are those where the customer is paying for something that they are unlikely to use, or where the markup is so high that the company will make money even after paying the spiff.

    Many of these companies are short-sighted, looking to get an immediate benefit at the risk of losing the customer. So managers are held accountable for the number of these extras that their people sell. In many cases, their salary also depends on the ability of their salespersons to add these extras.

    This system also explains why you should never expect any significant assistance or information from these people. Any time that they spend trying to show you how to use something is reflected in their dollar per hour score. If they don’t sell a certain amount every hour that they are on the floor, they lose any extra money they may have made.

    As an example, the rudeness of Cingu … ‘scuse me again … ATT salespeople after the sale is legendary. Often they won’t even do the most cursory troubleshooting or give you any explanations. The reason is simple. The only time they can make money is if they sell you a new or upgrade contract. That phone you bought for $275 because you dropped the last one in the toilet sounds expensive to you, but the salesperson makes no money off it. Activation takes time and all that time that they’re spending with you means that the ability to pay their rent is slowly decreasing.

    Sticking with sell … ‘scuse me again … cellphones, here’s how it breaks down.

    SCENARIO 1

    1. A customer signs up for a $39.99/month plan and gets a cell phone free – probable spiff $10-15
    2. The customer adds text messaging – probable spiff $5
    3. The customer adds internet access – probable spiff $10
    4. The customer adds GPS, downloadable music, photo mail – each of these adds money to the spiffs raising the the salesperson’s paycheck and helping the manager look like he or she is doing their job.

    Cost to the customer – nothing until they get there first bill.

    SCENARIO 2+

    1. A customer buys a new phone for $300 having destroyed his old one. – spiff $0
    2. Customer needs to transfer names and addresses from old SIM card to a new one – spiff $0
    3. Customer cannot figure out how to connect his Bluetooth device – spiff $0
    4. Customer cannot figure out why all those extra charges are on the bill – spiff $0

    I could go on, but you should be getting the picture.

    Add to that, the fact that a salesperson who pays attention to customer needs and doesn’t inflate the contract unnecessarily, or doesn’t make the base dollar per hour goal is likely to get fired even if he or she has the highest rate of return customers.

    It’s all about right now in retail. If helping you doesn’t make money, then you won’t get helped.

  39. mammalpants says:

    if you were getting an indie flick, there are plenty of other options in Chapel Hill…if you were going for a mainstream film, check out RedBox machines at the Harris Teeters throughout the Triangle area…they are great and you dont have to deal with rude employees…i havent been to blockbuster in years because of the upsell thing.i just want to rent a movie for christs sake!!

  40. affidavid says:

    Huh. Blockbuster is still around? Giving money to any business that employs upselling is like asking for any and all abuse they can heap at you.

    I dumped them as a consumer back when I found out they actively supported pro-life candidates and censored their local managers from carrying films with content and ratings they didn’t approve of.

  41. di5ad says:

    Just a postscript:

    Reality sucks. It’s not that salespeople or their managers dislike their customers, it’s just that their jobs are at stake and the only measuring stick that is being used is the almighty dollar per hour.

    These guys (and I use the term unisexually) are just ordinary people being put under a lot of pressure. I’m surprised that so few of them implode as dramatically as the manager above.

  42. Fairsfair says:

    On a related note, upon moving, I inherited the telephone number of a Blockbuster customer who apparently had trouble returning his videos on time. Every week, I would receive multiple telephone calls by Blockbusters automated system, urging me to return “The Lion King.” The caller ID was spoofed (999) 999-9999 Name Unavailable. I called my local Blockbuster and explained the situation. They were courteous enough, and promised to remove my telephone number from their system. Only, it wasn’t removed, even after several follow-up calls.

    Technology to the rescue. My telephone service allows me to redirect calls, so I redirected their caller ID to the local Blockbuster that had offered to help me. Let them deal with their own system.

  43. Kezzerxir says:

    The problem with retail is there is always someone to replace you. Having these rewards programs and cards count towards performance reviews makes me sick. It’s why people hate big business. To place constraints on employees which they really cannot control. With corporate knowing its not really fair, and knowing there is always someone else waiting in line for a shitty job.

  44. Rover232 says:

    I’m amazed at how pampered the average American consumer has become. She had a bad experience from a twerpy, on edge moron, and now she is “completely turned off every single store in the chain”? Chances are when she returns no one will know who she is, and the big mean cashier will have been fired or quit.

  45. FLConsumer says:

    WRITE to corporate. Companies still regard paper with higher regard than calls/e-mail because of the “permanence” of it.

  46. Millions says:

    Had a similar experience at Game Crazy, the Hollywood video game store. I was trying to buy a Wii (which was pretty hard to come by) and the guy working the counter told me he wouldn’t sell it to me unless I purchased the lame-ass rewards card.

    I told him to go fuck himself, I wasn’t going to be bullied into their pointless rewards shit and left. I e-mailed Hollywood video about the encounter and received a pretty weak, diplomatic response. Two days later I found a Wii at Target…

    I’m getting fed up with this card and reward program shit. I feel like I’m buying a car and the guy keeps trying to shove the undercoating up my ass. I said fucking, NO asshole. Do I need to scream ‘rape’ just to buy something, hassle free?

  47. adamwade says:

    I worked at BB during my teenage years and was a manager myself (this was a decade or so ago). I can tell you that if that happened then, the person would have been terminated with one phone call from the customer to the district manager. Call another BB, ask for the district managers number – they don’t need to know why. Then call the DM. Although their standards are no where near what they used to be (and I’m sure this posting has made it’s way to the DM already), that’s all you have to do with any company like this.

    As I said, I’m sure now that this has been posted here said employee is already gonzo, but calling the DM at this point might get you something out of it…

  48. AerynnMarie says:

    Blockbuster really does seem to be struggling to maintain any semblance of professionalism or profitability these days. My partner and I have been popping in an out of Blockbusters throughout the greater Chicagoland area for the last couple months with the faintest hope of finding some MST 3K DVDs. Every time we inquired about it we were met with strange looks and “Mystery Science wha…? Look it up? I think I might be able to…” We’d then either make due with the paltry selection the store offered up or leave empty handed.

    We finally gave up any and all hope for Blockbuster about 2 weeks ago when we walked into one store only to find that it was a total disaster. The store was a mess, with dozens of those little cardboard place holders with pictures of the front of the DVD on them strewn about the floor. While the employees and other customers seemed completely apathetic to the state of the store, we walked around for a few minutes trying to be okay with things too. Finally we just walked out, drove home, and immediately signed up with another company for online DVD rental.

  49. Scuba Steve says:

    The Manager at the blockbuster is simply the oldest, or longest employed. Which isn’t really saying much.

  50. 2Legit2Quit says:

    I work at Borders Bookstore currently in the cafe, and nothing angers me more then having to upsell those stupid Borders Rewards. The fact is, no one wants one and really, they don’t actually offer anything special? You get $5 off every $150… what?!

    So in the cafe, I always do the same thing. “Do you have a Boders Rewards”, “Nope.”, “Okay”.

    Not to mention, half the time, the rewards was never activated and it prompts for me to enter an email. So I just bash the keyboard and come up with aksf;jsdf@.sdkjsa.com so in essence, you won’t receive your coupons anyway.

    No one comes to a cafe looking to save $5 on a $150 purchase. They want their coffee and the raw couches we have.

  51. Secularsage says:

    When I worked in retail, I got short with a (somewhat rude) customer once, and he stormed out of the store and cost me a sale.

    I deserved it, and I still regret it to this day, even though I’m long done with retail. Sure, I was having a bad day and the guy provoked me, but it was me who lost control of the situation.

    In the case of this manager, it sounds like he’s under pressure to upsell. His job could even be tied to it (it often is in low-performing stores). He’s been brainwashed to believe that the program is something every customer needs, and he’s hoping that by putting the pressure on, he’ll see results. And, truth be told, he probably is, because a lot of people will say, “OK, sign me up” and avoid a confrontation rather than question whether or not it’s a good program.

    But, no matter how desperate he is to make a sale for the program, he’s got to realize that the best customers are earned. He would be far better off to politely smile and say, “I think it’s a really good program — next time you’re in, I hope you sign up!” than to get angry at the customer when his pushy selling skills aren’t effective.

    What the customer witnessed is becoming very common in retail environments where young people are increasingly taking over management positions because there are too many jobs in the service sector and not enough qualified, experienced people. Blockbuster’s management clearly needs to ease off on the program and focus more on the customers; that misplacement is what caused this horrifying situation to occur.

    My sympathies to the customer – her experience will probably not be uncommon as the service sector continues to grow.

  52. woleff says:

    I also have had a bad expierence with blockbuster
    ( notice I didn’t even bother to capitalize ).
    There are other video rental stores.

  53. @allthatsevil: “That being said, I’m totally confused as to why he would be so passionate about it in the first place. It’s not like BB employees get any kind of commission off something like that.”

    They have some kind of quota or bonus system. My Blockbuster has the chart with all employee names on it and the # of rewards signups they’ve gotten right behind the registers. Also the sheet of instructions about how to upsell customers. It makes me feel sort-of bad for refusing since I know they’ve got to hit a minimum. (But they’re really polite and never hassle me.)

  54. e-gadgetjunkie says:

    @ThinkAboutItPlease: Exactly. At the office store I work at, we have to offer the rewards program to every customer. It’s free, we get no incentive, and we get yelled at by our superiors if we don’t sign up enough customer’s per day.
    I don’t quite understand why people get so bent out of shape about something so small. Let the guy have his bad day. How does it hurt you?

  55. ecartman says:

    Don’t forget to bitch though. A couple of weeks ago I was at Wally World on a Sunday morning with no checkers in sight. I complained to the manager about the 15 minutes spent in the only open line. The manager blew me off “can’t get people in on Sunday Morning they all are in church.” I told her to hire some atheists then went home looked up the corporate listings and emailed the home office. Last week I got a 20 dollar gift certificate for my trouble and 5 minutes work. More than fair trade.

    Cart

  56. legerdemain says:

    I’m going to put you in the crazy manager’s shoes for a minute, because this all sounds familiar.

    Generally, this person has training on sales technique. There are probably training scripts that go something like:

    Blockbuster: You know, since you rent with us, there’s a chance you’d enjoy our Rewards Program.
    Customer: Oh really? That sounds interesting.
    B: Yes, the Rewards can really add up. With all of the benefits in mind, would you like me to sign you up? It only takes a moment.
    C: Wow, that sounds like exciting savings for me! Sure, thanks a million!

    They may have some “overcoming objections” training as well:

    B: Well, the rewards can be redeemed for discounts on swedish fish and pop rocks!
    C: That sounds awesome, Blockbuster dude, but I wonder, what if I leave my rewards card at home?
    B: Sure, customer, I know how that is. I hate getting to a store only to realize that my rewards card is at home. We keep your records on computer, so we can always just look you up. With that convenience in mind, can I sign you up for this great offer?
    C: Well, hell’s bells! I’d be crazy not to try that!

    Of course, none of this is reality. What the Blockbuster flunky gets is:
    B: You know ma’am, our rewards–
    C: I’m not interested.
    B: I’m sorry?
    C: Your reward thingy, I don’t want it.
    B: It’s a rewards program. It provides–
    C: Yeah, whatever. When are these due back?
    B: Tuesday. But what I’m trying to tell you is that you could save money.
    C: Look, I don’t want it. What, are you retarded?

    There are two ways it can go from here. Either the Blockbuster flunky skips the script and either ignores it or skips it completely:
    B: You want the rewards program?
    C: No.
    B: Okay, thanks, come again.

    Or, the Blockbuster flunky decides that he or she is tired of being cut off. Continued from above:
    B: I’m not retarded, but you’d have to be to miss out on this deal!
    C: Listen, just rent me my movies.
    B: I am. We’re at the part in the rental process where we talk about the Rewards Program. Now, what was it that gives you pause? Were you concerned about the price?

    Generally, the customer storms out without renting, which, if tracked on signup ratios is good for the Blockbuster flunky. The customer might persist until the Blockbuster flunky is out of stall tactics or objection counters, which is worst case for the flunky – it prepares customers waiting in line, increases risk that a superior will bear witness, and reduces signup ratios (though it is a good time). Every once in a while, the customer will be persuaded, and then, it’s a freakin signup.


    The truth about add-ons is that while employers teach employees that overcoming objections is key, most of the time, the inital reaction of the customer is the one they’ll stick with, even if they’re making a choice based on a mistaken impression of the add-on. Usually, the way you ask is the only thing that makes a difference.

    “Would you like it if this rental was free?”
    might work better for some, while
    “If you’ve got a second, I can get you set up for free rentals.”

    But after that line, if you don’t have a bite, you’re looking at under a one percent chance if you continue.

  57. moxierain says:

    Not surprised at what she experienced. I worked for Blockbuster for 6 months. It was one of the most stressful jobs that I’ve ever had, I used to work at one in Phoenix, and the pay was below $7/hour that I finally quit by doing a no call and no show. What compelled me to quit like that is the poor training, the getting called in all the time, the rude customers in our area, an employee can only take so much. Thankfully I’m back in college as a journalism major so I won’t have to take jobs like that for the rest of my life. Ever since then I’ve switched to Hollywood Video, Netflix and P2P. No more Blockbuster for me.

  58. 940J says:

    Used to rent from that same Blockbuster weekly until I moved from Chapel Hill a few years back. Never had bad service, but that is the roll-over nature of retail to recieve it suddenly.

    Speaking as a retail employee, associates are under immense pressure to sign customers up for whatever the in-store membership is, whether it be an rewards program, or in my case, a credit card which I have trouble promoting in good conscience. Of course, this does not excuse one bit the behavior of this employee, who likely has a quota to meet, and has been drilled on the supposed merits of this rewards program with what I suppose to be exercises involving acting out scenarios of customer refusals. Retail corporations, suffering the blow of Internet competition, are evermore desperate to instill brand loyalty in their customer base. What you experienced was probably the combination of that, and a plain old jerk.

    More incentive to use the internet for your movie needs, I would say.

  59. fireroad01 says:

    As a current manager at a BB, I understand the whole debate and I side with Sarah all the way. And I have even brought this up because my store manager has been really aggressive to customers but never to the point of cursing. Personally, if it happened to me I would have snapped at him back or just walked about and gone to another BB. I know thats not always in option in some locations but its the clearist sign to show them their attitude is not right.

    I must admit I myself get frustrated with customers, but 1) I never do what that guy did 2) its usually for more reasonable things aka customer doesnt know alphabet (im sorry we all went through elementary school for a reason) 3) some customers are jerks. I have my share of experiences with racists, inconsiderate, and condescending customers. Usually we just take it like a punching bag, thats why im surprised that guy acted like that. But honestly they dont pay us enough to take abuse from customers, but what that guy did was beyond being polite.

    The problem mainly lies with BB, I have worked with BB a while and their problem is they are always trying to sell something. And what they dont get is people are tired of people selling them stuff. Its kind of the way you avoid a cell phone booth at a mall because they try talking to you and getting you to come over. Plus the people blockbuster employee, no offense to myself, arent exactly trained to sell properly. You are suppose to pick and choose based on what a customer buys.

    I honestly only attempt to sell them to one person and thats someone who brings up two “non-new release movies,” anything usually in the middle of the store. Because at my store it costs $9.68 to rent them by themselves, but if they get the rewards they can get both of them free and all they have to pay for is the rewards which is like $10.72. So its pay $9.68 for just the rentals or pay $10.72 for the two rentals and get the Rewards benefit for the year. So its like a dollar more and you get the benefits of the rewards for the whole year. Thats my only reason for selling it. And I usually get people to get it because, and i emphasize this, if they rent a lot of OLDER movies it is worth it. Because it does pay for itself because you get a free coupon for an old movie each month. But I have had a lot of people just pay $9.68 all the time, and I get the feeling they just do so because they think it might be a scheme. Which I totally understand, I would think so too. Plus instinctively know not to trust us because we are always trying to sell something.

    I think you did the right thing, though I wouldnt make a generalization like that to all store managers. It is an individual thing, but if a manager treats you like that report their ass. As a BB manager myself and as a customer, no one deserves that. And if it had been me in your shoes, I would have been in his face about it. And I have done that before to other places trying to sell me stuff just look at them with a dead eye and say “look buddy I dont want your stupid program, and unless you want to lose a customer right now check out my damn movies”. You did nothing wrong, and as I find myself doing a lot while working for BB, Im sorry you ran into a dork like him. But do report him because he is a jerk.

    In light of that serious comment here is some comic relief related to the issue. When we credit accounts for refunds and stuff like that we have to leave comments, this is a comment I read off one morning while checking them, left by my store manager (aggressive guy) on someones account.

    “customer wanted rewards then got angry over something changed his mind and then called me stupid”

    Heh I have to admit I laughed at that

  60. mberwick says:

    While I can certainly understand that the manager may have been pressured from higher up the corporate ladder, or that he may have been upset about something else and he let it blow up on the wrong person, he was still in the wrong.

    I work management in retail (albeit for a different company) and one of the most important things to remember is to not lose your cool. People that work in these positions are usually under a lot more stress than most probably realize. And while I am by no means defending his actions, I would be willing to entertain the idea that the manager of that store is either sick, or has something significant on his mind that caused him to lose his cool. Regardless, he did lose his cool and the result affected a customer in a very negative way.

    I’ve read many of the comments here and did not see anything on how to make the situation right for both parties. Be the better person and call the manager and tell him how his outburst made you feel. Do it calmly and politely. Explain to him that his actions resulted in you feeling stressed and frustrated and angry. Also explain that as a result you will not be shopping at his store (or BBV for that matter) again. But also try and accept his apology if he decides to give it to you.

    The last thing this world needs is more fighting and arguing when there is almost always a calm and simple solution. Explain how you feel and speak with your business.

  61. spinachdip says:

    @legerdemain: “Usually, the way you ask is the only thing that makes a difference…”

    Exactly, when a pitch sounds like a pitch, the most customers automatically tune out. The keys are to:
    1. Not make it sound like a pitch, and
    2. Lay the benefits out in real dollar terms
    Basically, don’t talk about how great it is, talk about what it does.

    To reference the mail order reseller where I worked again, the prompt to offer the rewards program also came with the dollar amount they’d save if they signed up. I found that if I said something to the extent of, “Oh, by the way, I see that you’re not a XYZ Club member, but I can sign you up and save $X on this order…”, chances were, they signed up.

    But we never pressured the customer. The catalog served a big spending, tight knit community, so repeat customers and word-of-mouth were crucial. The last thing they wanted to do was to alienate anyone.

  62. adrenaline says:

    I work at a Blockbuster store in the midwest. At my $6.50/hour wage, it’s all I can do to politely ask customers if they’re interested in the Rewards program, soda/candy/popcorn, or Total Access (online program). The more of these items that we sell, the better chance we have at getting a small bonus at the end of every quarter.

    What the manager did was downright rude, but I know for a fact that District Managers (and Corporate) put so much pressure on Store Managers about selling “More, More, MORE!” that these managers are ready to explode at any given point.

    We hate asking customers to purchase these extra items as much as they hate being asked. On behalf of all those who work in retail, I’d like to apologize to all you customers out there. Please realize that a healthy portion of us are just trying to make our way through college and pay for rent. We little pee-ons don’t make the rules– we are just forced to follow them.

  63. legerdemain says:

    @spinachdip: True. The best add-on retailer I’ve ever visited has to be Books-A-Million. They’d tell you “You know, our discount club is $5 a year, but you’d save $10 on what you’re buying today. Why don’t I sign you up – you’ll be $5 ahead, even if you never use the card again.”

  64. EricM770 says:

    I manage my own business, which sort of is in retail. But since it is a small business, we don’t have corporate crap. I don’t need your phone number, address, some club member crap, or even your name, though it is good to know for familiarity reasons.
    That’s why I love small businesses, whenever you deal with an attendant, it usually is either the owner/co-owner or related to the owner so you’re assured good service. The only customers I’ve ever turned away (without being rude) are customers that were really rude or the kind that want the most service/attention and spend the least amount of money (though these were usually the rudest.)
    My business is a mix of service and retail but some people are just impossible to deal with. I tell them the cost in advance of their service and then they act shocked when I charge them. I run a cybercafe with computer repair and it’s $2/half hour. Some people use 40 minutes and whine and cry when I charge $4. That pisses me off. Now, I do treat them with respect and explain the situation, I’ve never screamed nor would I ever disrespect a customer, I just calmly explain the situation. In my time running the business (15 months,) I’ve only had 2 people I’ve had to basically kick out and ban for rudeness. One was a crazy lady who claimed to have the birds coming to protect her (yeah, she was off her rocker) and wanted her computer completely wiped of viruses and spyware in less than 30 minutes for $40. Yeah, right. I just told her, very calmly, to go elsewhere for service because her demands are excessive.
    I hate big chain stores because they want to know everything about you whereas in a small business, it’s more anonymous and even a certain client-business relationship is formed that is more personal. I have my regulars whom I regularly treat rather well and if they go over by 2 minutes or 3, I give them a discount because they’re regulars. Point is, always treat your customers with respect and if you don’t like them or want them, kindly and politely ban them or if you really hate them and know they’re a nuisance, point them to your competition and say they’re better and cheaper anyway. Let your competition have the headache. I did that to one particular client who stunk up my office, even other customers left when he was there due to the smell. I knew he wasn’t worth it to me so I sent the smell to my competition.

  65. ian937262 says:

    Why complain to the better business bureau? This seems like an isolated incident. Complain through blockbuster so they can allieviate the problem. Just send an e-mail to them.
    I go to my Blockbuster almost 3 times a week and have never felt anything but comfortable and welcome there. From the lowest employees to the highest manager there. Isolated Incident.

  66. ian937262 says:

    @vonskippy:

    You don’t make any sense. The All Access gives you as big a selection as Netflix and plus you can return the envelopes for the newest releases… allowing you to have the rarer movies come via mail.

  67. ian937262 says:

    @JohnMc:
    “Provided this is true, this is worse than the TigerDirect fiasco”

    In what way??? They were not forcibly detained etc. It was one comment that was out of line.

  68. mac-phisto says:

    @legerdemain: so true, so true. the retailer i used to work for had the worst training videos. they used to be a good laugh though. wish i could rent those.

  69. Yourhero88 says:

    TLA video ftw!

  70. acambras says:

    @e-gadgetjunkie:

    Let the guy have his bad day. How does it hurt you?

    Are you kidding me? If I go into a place to spend my money, I don’t expect to (a) be subjected to a persistent hard sell (a real turnoff IMO) and/or (b) be treated rudely.

  71. @artki: I’m guessing they paid before the manager went into his tirade. I wouldn’t trust someone who’d just flown off the handle like that to give me my money back.

  72. Roundonbothends says:

    @adrenaline:

    Hmm… So you get a bonus for signing up folks for Total Access? So the stores, or at least the employees, are still making something worthwhile to them to have the customers sign up to trade movies rather than directly rent them. Sounds unbusinesslike, but I’m not complaining. (Just surprised.)

  73. killavanilla says:

    This specifically is why I don’t use blockbuster anymore.
    Calling the BBB won’t accomplish anything, but sending an email of 2 to corporate will.
    I opened my own account back when I was still living at my parents house (I was 22, now I’m 32). I regularly rented films and always returned them on time (well, not always, but usually a day or two late and I always paid my fees the next time I rented).
    One day, I went in and tried to rent a movie. The rep told me that I owed $80+ in fees. For what, I asked.
    They told me that a movie I (never) rented wasn’t returned.
    I explained that I never rented that movie. I told him that I was sure of this (it was some anime stuff – a genre I find irritating on a personal level).
    He insisted that I did and owed the money.
    I asked specifically if he had the name of the person that rented it, and he gave me my mom’s name.
    I asked how it is that my mom, who has her own account, was renting movies on my account, which I specifically opened seperately (my family returns movies late and I always got socked with their fines – which is why i opened my own damn account). He told me that though my account number is different, they linked the accounts for convenience.
    I asked them to unlink it, for convenience, as we are seperate entities with different habits, income levels, etc. He refused. And then told me that he wouldn’t rent me a movie unless I paid the fine for something my little brother actually rented. I told him that he could lose the attitude and understand that I wouldn’t be paying the fines for everyone with the same last name as I have – I didn’t rent the film.
    He refused to allow me to rent the movie I had come in for. So I asked him if he had a pair of scissors so I could cut up my card. He wouldn’t provide them, so I walked out, went to the walgreens in the strip mall, bought scissors, came back and cut the card up.
    Netflix is way better. Their service is better, their systems are better, and I have never had an issue with them.
    Blockbuster is dying because they killed the video store and made it corporate. Then they jacked up prices and fees, then got beat by a better company that they couldn’t kill.
    Screw them, walk away.

  74. Mary says:

    Oh, I can give you a fair bet what made this situation occur, and while the manager behaved completely inappropriately, the root cause is probably at corporate.

    I’ve never worked at Blockbuster, but I’ve worked at several stores that had “voluntary” rewards programs, and at every single one of them the corporate office used percentages and numbers of rewards programs sold to judge the store and employees. If they aren’t up to an arbitrary number that the corporate office has decided, then they can suffer any number of consequences. First and foremost, I’ve seen stores where the manager will not receive a bonus or a raise unless their store meets these percentages.

    More than likely his store’s numbers were down and he was getting yelled at by his district or regional manager, getting compared to other stores, and being fussed at repeatedly. This is what leads to situations like people being too pushy with voluntary programs, because corporate forces them to reach unattainable goals instead of just rewarding top performers.

    I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve seen people do things to customers I consider inappropriate to boost their own numbers. Or the number of times I’ve been “talked to” because I refused to do them.

  75. killavanilla says:

    @e-gadgetjunkie:
    First of all, these ‘programs’ are not the customers problem.
    Most of us go to stores to get what we want, then leave.
    We aren’t interested in a conversation about some program that may or may not benefit us.
    Most importantly, we want to be treated with respect.
    There is no sense in spending money at any place where they abuse you verbally.
    Period.
    If I say I am not interested, then let it be. Once I make up my mind and say ‘no thanks’, you just aren’t going to close me. Period. I’ll laugh in your face and get you worked up because I get a kick out of it, but only if you refuse to stop.
    So what’s the big deal?
    We have a paper here called ‘Red Eye’, it is a dummy paper (what I call a ‘toilet reader’) that can be read cover to cover in under 10 minutes. Before they started giving it away for free everywhere, they were trying to recruit customers. I got stopped by one on the street.
    Redeye – Are you interested in receiving a hot new, trendy newspaper custom made for people just like you?
    me- Nah. Thanks, I already subscribe to their parent paper (the Tribune).
    RE- Are you sure? This is a big deal!
    me- Yup. I’m good.
    RE- but you’ll miss all the great articles and features!
    me- Yeah, I get that. Thanks.
    RE- But what if I told you that the rate was just 25 cents a day?
    me- I’d tell you that doesn’t matter and I don’t want it.
    RE- But…
    Me- listen. I appreciate you are doing your job here, but enough. I don’t care.
    RE- Thanks, I still think you are perfect for a subscription.
    Me- Here’s the deal, dude. The product you are trying to sell is written for dummies. It is USA Today lite. I DON’T WANT IT.
    RE- but…
    me- Dude. Walk away. NO. Do you hear me? NO. Am I being clear? NO.
    RE – You don’t have to be a jerk about it.
    ME – Yeah, well. You don’t have to refuse to take no for an answer.
    Just because Blockbuster tells their employees to push this nonsense doesn’t mean customers are going to want it.

  76. Mr. Gunn says:

    If you still gave them your business after that, you got the service you deserve and made it worse for everyone else.

    I’d say thanks, but i haven’t been in a blockbuster in years.

  77. Smoking Pope says:

    I had a BB manager refuse to sell me (sell, not rent) a DVD unless I signed up with them. When informed I had no intention of signing up with BB, but just wanted to buy because I happened to be next door and needed a particular movie, he said, “Sorry, you sign up or you don’t get to buy it.”

    This was before there were a lot of options to BB, and so on a whim I went into that store a couple of years later and asked the same manager if I could buy a movie without signing up. Hey, no problemo!… What a douche.

  78. superqueen23 says:

    I left BB behind years ago. I had an account while I was at Tulane, sadly having left my local store behind. Every time I went in to the store, I had to give them my address again. I soon learned that this was because someone else with my incredibly common name was also using my same account, which was linked to my debit card. The only reason that I found out was they tried to charge me late fees for “sorority boys”, def a movie I have never rented and wouldn’t consider renting. I had to have them put a flag on my account saying that my middle name was also needed to make it stop. When even that didn’t work, I just stopped renting movies on my names.

  79. Canadian Impostor says:

    @killavanilla: You stop on the street and carry a complete conversation with someone about something you don’t want?

    You sound like my mother, I don’t let her wander around the city alone.

  80. pinzasso says:

    I worked at a local Bon-ton department store for 2 years while in college. All employees were expected to upsell the store credit card for cash bonuses. I believe I may have signed up 20 people total in 2 years, because I just didn’t feel like pressuring people and also because I didn’t give a shit about my job.

    On a side note, to entertain myself I tried to piss off customers as much as possible while being polite. This game provided me a bunch of funny stories.

  81. maevro says:

    The guy makes his living as a BB manager, I would be
    sexually frustrated too.

    Oh and you think if they walked out without the 2 videos it would put a dent in their yearly earnings??

  82. Buran says:

    @Rover232: That doesn’t excuse swearing in public at a stranger when you are paid to do your job in a courteous and polite fashion.

  83. NightSteel says:

    Hey, Sarah- If you paid with a credit or debit card, be sure you watch your card for a bit for unauthorized charges from that store. If the manager was really that frustrated, he might well sign you up or charge you for something without authorization.

  84. bnosach says:

    Competition with Netflix surely makes Blockbuster a better company.

  85. Scuba Steve says:

    You know if I was ever in the position of asking people to sign up for a rewards program I’d probably offer it as a form of employee tip.

    “I hope you enjoyed shopping here today, and if you want to express your thanks we have a rewards program for customers which benefits store employees. You’re not under any obligation to stay with it and we base all of our promotions and raises on who gets the most signups.”

  86. Craig says:

    I can’t stand the local Blockbuster…it’s no surprise to me that the’ve been closing stores left and right.

  87. Nakko says:

    Good grief.
    How dare you not listen to the man? I can’t imagine your hubris — not simply buying whatever upsell is pushed under your nose.
    Look, in future, don’t get an attitude, just do what they tell you and pay for what they point at.

  88. Pancakes?? FRENCH TOAST!! says:

    @mac-phisto: One of my earliest jobs at the ad agency was writing training videos (known in the “biz” as Industrial Video) – be aware that I was 19 when I was given these to write. That’s how much stock firms put in making these videos.

  89. stonestix says:

    @spinachdip: Chapel Hill does have independent video stores, but they’re nowhere near this BB. And god forbid you have to drive across town and park at them, thanks to the town council. You can smoke anywhere you want but there’s nowhere to park.

  90. imxres says:

    You should try signing up for Earthlink Dialup. I had to sign up for Earthlink for a customer of mine. First the web form was broken, and only went as far as to say that the username I wanted was reserved, but wouldn’t take me any further, so I used the “Live Help” button. Everything went fairly normal until the end. They offered me about 8 services for a “low price.” It tacked on about another half hour to the job just saying “No thanks, just want the dialup,” over and over and over again.

  91. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @imxres: That’s because they are run by Scientologists, who operate their businesses on the assumption that productivity can go up forever, and if it doesn’t, the workers may be punished (I wish I was kidding).

    I had Earthlink years ago when they were a local Atlanta ISP. They were terrific then. I wish I could go back in time, clone them, and use the clone as my ISP now.

  92. jeff303 says:

    @spinachdip: Well that may not work so well if one believes the acting like a jerk hypothesis

  93. Nekoincardine says:

    “Reasonable upsells are tolerable when delivered by polite employees, but no customer should be subjected to aggressive outbursts, especially not from managers.”

    Agreed. And trust me, as an employee, Movie Gallery isn’t much better than what I’m hearing here. They’re relatively clear with what we do, but otherwise the same BS is there in the same scales, and it DOES effect our paychecks and continued employment; if you don’t get enough sales on certain things, you can actually be fired there. This leads to a LOT of slipping things in if you want to keep your job. (At least our rates are per-customer, not per-hour, but it’s still retarded and probably contributes to Movie Gallery’s current death spiral.)

    Sad thing is, in Anchorage, I’m pretty sure we’re STILL the cheapest place in town outside of Netflix, and STILL have the overall best customer service (or at least fewest complaints), becuase these ‘cheats’ are either barely noticible (25c per item) or actually save the customer money (“This is $27. A $25 for $30 Discount Rental Card saves you $2 now and $3 later.” “K.”)

    @FairsFair: Best solution to retarded customer service systems I have ever seen. I need to see if any of my service providers offer that… Pass the telemarketers to other Telemarketers, perhaps?

  94. Mary says:

    @Sushiwriter: Last training video I watched, midway through I looked at my boss and said “Really, I could make a better video with a half hour, two friends, five bucks, and a bag of potato chips.”

    And I meant it.

    Though to be honest, the chips were just because I was hungry.

  95. “Beyond complaining to the Better Business Bureau, contact Blockbuster corporate at (214) 854-3000 and let them know their manager’s outrageous behavior cost them a customer.”

    Guess it’s Netflix time.

  96. aishel says:

    All hail Redbox!
    [www.redbox.com]

  97. ThinkAboutItPlease says:

    @adrenaline: Everyone should read this (Adrenaline’s) comment. If employees hate it, if customers hate it, something is wrong. Could it be, perhaps, that upper management has not done enough thinking about their business practices, and business model? Adrenaline, if you have a Trader Joe’s in your city, try working there, you will be vastly happier, and interact with happy customers.

    Upselling is an evil practice — quick-buck BS — that I hope goes the way of 8-track tapes. It’s just a lousy way for human beings to interact with, or treat, other human beings. Try increasing your revenue by pleasing and delighting customers (as opposed to irritating them).

  98. LisaC1985 says:

    This exact situation happened to my girlfriend and me, as well, at the same Chapel Hill location (Airport Road), over the same program, presumably by the same employee. We rented a movie around midnight during the middle of May and the guy at the checkout offered the Rewards program to my girlfriend as she was paying. She politely declined but the employee pressed further. After several adamant refusals, she finally asked if he received some sort of a commission for every customer he signed up. He said no, “You just need to realize you are making a bad financial decision.” She again said no, thanks. and he said “FINE, but just so you know, this is a BAD decision.” I had to keep my mouth shut as to not get into a situation I knew I would regret. As we drove away, she was going to call the BBB in the morning, but we realized we never caught the employee’s name. It’s really sad that this wasn’t a one time, “bad night” kind of thing for this employee, but apparent store policy.

  99. kaikhor says:

    My guess is that corporate was pushing upsells and a local area was doing some sort of an incentive. When I worked a national Christian bookstore, our corporate pushed upselling their card. Although we didn’t make money from corporate on it, we had a huge competition in my store with a nice gift card or cash for the winner.

    That still doesn’t excuse this moron for being so rude to a customer, just pointing out a good chance of why he’s pushing it

  100. perfectly_cromulent says:

    related to what someone else said about add-ons…
    i don’t know how many times i’ve heard “customers deserve respect!” in cases like this. but you know what? it goes both ways. add-ons are a part of retail…always. so give us 2 seconds to tell you the deal, and then you can politely decline. interrupting and being rude about us just doing our jobs does not make us want to treat you any nicer…even though we always have to.

    *being very clear that i think this guy has way more issues that a few rude customers and that Sarah was very wonderful and polite about declining.

  101. Joafu says:

    Blockbuster sucks, but I think the manager already beat me to that point.

  102. Me. says:

    Easy fix:
    “What’s your name?” and “I would like the contact information for your district manager.” Done and done.

  103. killavanilla says:

    @Jason:
    Well, technically he didn’t catch me walking down the street. I was walking out of a school building, leaving for home. Yeah, I could have been an ass and just walked away, but he was handing me a free redeye at the time and wasn’t a complete stranger (he was wearing a redeye t-shirt and had an ID).
    But I get the joke.
    I hope for your sake that your mother doesn’t look anything like me….

  104. Hollywood590 says:

    I worked at Hollywood Video for a little over 5 years while finishing up high school and going to college. So I have some experience with how their system worked, which is probably somewhat close to BBs. At Hollywood we weren’t forced to sell anything….supposedly. However, if you were bad at selling you would receive a poor review and get a smaller raise (which was so insubstantial even if you were the best it wasn’t worth the effort). Further more, at the corporate level, there were no rewards for employees who sold well, unless you consider not being yelled at by your manager a reward. For the manager, salary and bonuses were in fact linked to store performance.

    For my entire tenure there our big sell was the bundle. If you rented 2 new releases (at 3.99 a pop) you could add 2 popcorns, a candy, and a soda for a 9.99 total. Not a bad deal. I didn’t make a habit of trying to sell people the bundle unless it helped them out. At the time if someone was buying a candy then 2 popcorns and a soda would only be 50 cents.

    Every once in a while our manager would offer a prize to whoever sold the best which I won easily. It really had nothing to do with what we were selling, it was just the way we sold it. The people I worked with would offer it up as some kind of promotion with a huge sales pitch. People hate that. Its annoying. They tune out and want to punch you in the face to make it stop. The reason I won was I made it simple. If they walked up with there movies I would tell them what they could get for $2. They would do some quick math in their heads, realize it was a deal and take it.

    This guy probably fell into the group that didn’t know how to make a sale and was frustrated at how badly he was doing compared to his peers. Which makes him a major asshat.

    There is also a small chance he fell into a different group. I’m not sure what promotions BB runs or what was rented, but maybe this actually was a great deal they were passing up. I can’t tell you how many customers I had come up and refuse to spend less money. They would have 2 new releases ($3.99 x 2= 7.98) a candy ($1.50) and a soda ($.99 for a total of $10.47) and refuse the popcorn to save $.50. I would explain to them that they didn’t even have to take the popcorn I could just scan it and they would still turn it down (I would usually end up scanning it anyway and giving free bags to whatever customer wanted it). But thats just it. Some customers are dumb. So there is a small chance he fell into this category. Still, swearing at a customer is unacceptable, so if this is the case we’ll just call him a regular asshat.

  105. nuch says:

    The problem with a lot of these “voluntary rewards programs” is that they are voluntary for the customers but employees can lose their jobs if they don’t reach a certain quota. I used to work at a Borders, and I usually didn’t even give customers the option. I would just say, “here’s your new rewards card, have a great day.” Too many people were rude to the point of abruptly cutting me off or ignoring me completely when I tried to sell them on the benefits (which it actually was a good program that would save them money).

    I literally saw people lose their jobs because they weren’t willing to pitch the program to unwilling customers. It sucks, but really consumers should be a little more understanding when they are having these things pitched to them. There are generally incentives to signing up. You can also save some poor retail slave the pain and frustration of sitting through another “Improve our Rewards Numbers” mandatory meeting.

  106. LionelEHutz says:

    Clearly this is the customer’s fault. She should have shown some respect because the guy is the manager you know. Respect his authority.

  107. WhatsMyNameAgain says:

    @allthatsevil: Won’t ask questions? Ha! From personal experience, when somebody calls and asks how to contact their district manager, they go ape shit. I once called an Express and asked for the store manager’s name and had to go through three different managers (it was a large Express) and they still kept harassing me with questions. I finally said fuck it and hung up.

    Thanks to Consumerist, I’ve tried the whole call the CEO thing a few times, and it DEFINITELY works.

  108. AmericaTheBrave says:

    @vonskippy: As much as I love Netflix, there’s no online substitute for the brick-and-mortar when you decide you want to stay in and rent a movie.

    Wait until Netflix irons out the kinks in their Watch Now feature and adds most of their catalog. You won’t have to drive to a video store and the online selection would be much greater than any local store could offer. IF the movie studios realize this is to their advantage.

  109. frank092186 says:

    I am currently a manager at blockbuster and have been for a year now. I didnt read the million comments so this may have been explained in one way or another already, but listen anyway! Everyday we are harassed by district and regional leaders that sit in an office expecting us to pull miracles out of our ass. Blockbuster screwed itself over with that online program, and expects us to make up the money selling rewards programs to everyone. Now that in itself is quite hard seeing as most of the people now have the online program that we were supposed to push, but thats no excuse apparantly. So yes our job being threatened all the time to sell things to save Blockbusters ass is annoying, but not as annoying as customers not giving us a minute to explain something. Just to give you a little insight, the rewards program is a one-time $9.95 upgrade price, that guarantees you a coupon for a free movie a month at the very least. Also, every monday through wednesday, you rent a movie, you get an old one free, and every 6th paid rental in a month is free. Now i’m no rocket scientist, but two movies is $9.01, and if your telling me that you can’t walk 3 of those monthly coupons in over the course of a year and more than pay off that fee, then fine, but knowing customers like I do, some people come up to the counter with a set of movies that would instantly get them 3 movies free, which would be cheaper to sign up for rewards than pay for all the movies. Needless to say, its very frustrating having customers not want to listen to these programs, we try to do people favors and they shove it back in our face. So next time you go to blockbuster, try listening for once maybe you’ll walk out happy like we try to make you!

  110. Joafu says:

    @frank092186:
    It does sound like an okay deal, but many times I refuse to get rewards programs from vendors because: I don’t have the money on hand (I’ll walk into a store with only enough cash to cover what I want, just so I don’t buy other stuff); I don’t have the time(welcome to the 21st century) or I don’t have the mental energy to think about the great deal- I just want what I came for and I rarely feel like spending more money that. I know that only makes it harder for the seller of the program, but that’s life.

  111. Protector says:

    Wait, isn’t this Rewards program free? Shit, lady…I’ll take your free DVD rental! :P

  112. Teapotfox says:

    @Fairsfair: Novel revenge. :) However, all the Blockbuster “your movie is overdue” calls come from a third-party company contracted to make them. When you call your local store, all they can do is call an automated line, plug in your phone number and hope for the best. They probably did that each and every time you called… a better idea would have been to kick the calls back to the corporate office!

  113. Teapotfox says:

    @MystiMel: The behaviour is absolutely inexcusable, no question, I would like to confirm that the manager is almost certainly under a great deal of pressure to meet/exceed his goal during the big Rewards drive. The numbers are everything, and that can mean that if he isn’t on schedule to hit them by a certain point in the week that he is forced to work (salaried) on his day/s off, or that he has had to fire employees who weren’t making their individual goals and is now working some ungodly amount of hours/week to make up for being short-staffed, or something equally miserable.

    Again, no excuse for the way he behaved, but there definitely can be a lot of pressure on a manager to meet goals set by people who work in an office (not a store) thousands of miles away.

  114. Teapotfox says:

    @Scuba Steve: Sorry to say, but that’s not true, with maybe a handful of exceptions. Although people tend treat retail managers like we’re morons who couldn’t possibly get a professional job, many of us are in fact well educated, intelligent people who find something in retail that we could not find in our field. I am one such example–I left a very respectable job in my field to manage a store for $15,000/year more than I was making before. I am very knowledgeable about what I carry, I care about my staff and my customers, and I have little to no control over what corporate decides to do, although I take all the flack for it.

    People choose (yes, choose!) to be retail managers for many different reasons that are right for them and/or their families and circumstances. Please have some consideration and respect–many of us work very hard and really take it to heart when we have a displeased customer. We’re not just someone who started as a part-timer in high school and never quit, making us the ‘oldest’ or most senior employee and therefore magically the manager.

    I have a B.A. and enjoy being able to pay back my college loans and eat something other than ramen. Believe it or not, retail management is making that possible right now in a way working in my field couldn’t.

  115. haku89 says:

    I’m sorry, but I’m a Blockbuster employee myself and no one, not even a manager, has the right to curse like that at a customer, especially with children around. That manager should have had enough respect and sense to take no for an answer. Furthermore, they shouldn’t be pushing something like that on someone when they’re clearly not interested. Yes, there is a quota to meet, but that doesn’t mean that you have to pressure a customer into the program. Besides, there’s a chance that someone else might be interested. Obviously this manager was way out of line.

  116. EDugan87 says:

    Hello friends,

    I was hired by Mark from the Airport Rd. store in Chapel Hill, North
    Carolina. The same one that is mentioned here. When he hired me he
    promised me 40 hours a week, working mostly day shifts and at most two
    or three nights a week. He also promised that I would have the same
    weekends as my fianceé and that he was able to do this with no problem
    that there were more than enough open hours for me. I waited a month
    before I started working there with him assuring me that after the
    college students went back to school he could fulfill his promises. I
    did not recieve that at all during my employment under him and a few
    weeks later he was fired for cursing out a customer for not accepting
    rewards. I was there. I don’t remember him cursing although I remember
    the male saying “You need to quit making smart comments to my wife.”
    and Mark responding “You want a smart comment”, smart comment, “That
    was a smart comment”. I forget what he said but it was offensive and I
    wanted to leave the area immediately but was stuck on a register. He
    did raise his name tag and in a matter of fact manner stated he was the
    manager.

    Anyway. I have a fianceé who works 8:30am-5:30pm and I was scheduled
    5-11:15pm shifts all week. I’ve been working strictly nights up to five
    days a week with no regard to her hours or her days off. Seeing as I
    still had not gotten what I was promoised Tuesday of this week I forced
    my shift leader, Nick, to write down that I want to work mornings for
    the other manager, John, who is supposed to make the schedule (he
    doesn’t, Nick does, but it’s John’s job). Nick then informed me that
    there were only two small shifts for CRS during the day. One of the
    days, monday, was one I asked to keep free because my fianceé had that
    day off. I couldn’t stand being lied to and pushed around by people who
    didn’t care about my life therefore I went out and found a new job and
    was hired two days later. I called in and quit my job on Friday. Nick
    answered the phone the day I quit. I gave him the information including
    my reasons for quitting he replied “Okay. Bye.”

    It should
    have stopped there, but Blockbuster doesn’t understand that “no” means
    “no.” Today, Saturday, September 15, 2007 at 5:44pm EST I recieved a
    private call. I do not answer private calls so I handed the phone to my
    fianceé who answered the phone. She was yelled at and hung up on by
    John a manager at the store. She then called back the store and Nick
    picked up the phone. He told her that “Her ffffrickin boyfriend needs
    to grow a pair of balls and call the store” among other things. So I
    did, quite upset over what he said, and was hung up on by him, Shawn,
    John and Melanie at different points upon calling back repeatedly. I
    then, after being constantly hung up on for five minutes, waited five
    more and called back. Melanie, who is a MOD (manager on duty), picked
    up and I asked her for the corporate number. She hung up on me. Then I
    called back and John, the other MOD, picked up I asked for the number
    once again and he hung up on me. I then called back John again picked
    up the phone and I told him I was going over their heads and calling
    the Franklin St. store. I finally got the number from the Franklin St.
    store after being on hold for ten minutes. I have every right to leave
    that job whenever I want to, just as they have every right to fire me
    at any time. They lied me into a job by falcifying the hours available
    and so I quit.

    Once I quit my job they have no right to call me, especially while
    blocking their number at work. They do not have any right to be yelling
    at my fianceé who has nothing to do with my job. They have no right to
    curse, use vulgar language or insinuate such language, especially at a
    woman. They have no right to hide the corporate number from me when I
    have a problem, especially on the clock. If they can call me after I
    quit I should be able to get in contact with corporate about it. Those
    inflamitory comments were paid for by Blockbuster corporation. More
    proof of how incompetent the management is there.

    Blockbuster does not care about who they harass or fixing the
    problem. Nick told me last week something along the lines of, not
    exactly, “It would have been better if that girl only called corporate.
    We could have moved Mark to another store and swept it all under the
    rug.” I will never rent from blockbuster again. I made a huge mistake
    working for them. I have never been employed by such a horrible
    company. I never want to see that place again. I never want to see or
    hear from those people again. I hope it’s done and over now. I didn’t
    ask to be harassed. I didn’t start this, they did, and they need to
    remember they brought this upon themselves.

    Sincerely,

    An Ex-Blockbuster employee.

    The stores number is (919) 929-4177.

    The district managers number is 1-800-940-2232 option 2 extention
    1518. You get his voice mail and he has 24 hours to get back in touch
    with you.

    I called the store Sunday to arrange picking up my check and John
    admitted to not giving the corporate number and that he called to see
    if I would do a shift when I told them I quit the day before. It’s
    Monday and I still haven’t heard back from the district manager.

  117. EDugan87 says:

    Hello friends,

    I was hired by Mark from the Airport Rd. store in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The same one that is mentioned here. When he hired me he promised me 40 hours a week, working mostly day shifts and at most two or three nights a week. He also promised that I would have the same weekends as my fianceé and that he was able to do this with no problem that there were more than enough open hours for me. I waited a month before I started working there with him assuring me that after the college students went back to school he could fulfill his promises. I did not recieve that at all during my employment under him and a few weeks later he was fired for cursing out a customer for not accepting rewards. I was there. I don’t remember him cursing although I remember the male saying “You need to quit making smart comments to my wife.” and Mark responding “You want a smart comment”, smart comment, “That was a smart comment”. I forget what he said but it was offensive and I wanted to leave the area immediately but was stuck on a register. He did raise his name tag and in a matter of fact manner stated he was the manager.

    Anyway. I have a fianceé who works 8:30am-5:30pm and I was scheduled 5-11:15pm shifts all week. I’ve been working strictly nights up to five days a week with no regard to her hours or her days off. Seeing as I still had not gotten what I was promoised Tuesday of this week I forced my shift leader, Nick, to write down that I want to work mornings for the other manager, John, who is supposed to make the schedule (he doesn’t, Nick does, but it’s John’s job). Nick then informed me that there were only two small shifts for CRS during the day. One of the days, monday, was one I asked to keep free because my fianceé had that day off. I couldn’t stand being lied to and pushed around by people who didn’t care about my life therefore I went out and found a new job and was hired two days later. I called in and quit my job on Friday. Nick answered the phone the day I quit. I gave him the information including my reasons for quitting he replied “Okay. Bye.”

    It should have stopped there, but Blockbuster doesn’t understand that “no” means “no.” Today, Saturday, September 15, 2007 at 5:44pm EST I recieved a private call. I do not answer private calls so I handed the phone to my fianceé who answered the phone. She was yelled at and hung up on by John a manager at the store. She then called back the store and Nick picked up the phone. He told her that “Her ffffrickin boyfriend needs to grow a pair of balls and call the store” among other things. So I did, quite upset over what he said, and was hung up on by him, Shawn, John and Melanie at different points upon calling back repeatedly. I then, after being constantly hung up on for five minutes, waited five more and called back. Melanie, who is a MOD (manager on duty), picked up and I asked her for the corporate number. She hung up on me. Then I called back and John, the other MOD, picked up I asked for the number once again and he hung up on me. I then called back John again picked up the phone and I told him I was going over their heads and calling the Franklin St. store. I finally got the number from the Franklin St. store after being on hold for ten minutes. I have every right to leave that job whenever I want to, just as they have every right to fire me at any time. They lied me into a job by falcifying the hours available and so I quit.

    Once I quit my job they have no right to call me, especially while blocking their number at work. They do not have any right to be yelling at my fianceé who has nothing to do with my job. They have no right to curse, use vulgar language or insinuate such language, especially at a woman. They have no right to hide the corporate number from me when I have a problem, especially on the clock. If they can call me after I quit I should be able to get in contact with corporate about it. Those inflamitory comments were paid for by Blockbuster corporation. More proof of how incompetent the management is there.

    Blockbuster does not care about who they harass or fixing the problem. Nick told me last week something along the lines of, not exactly, “It would have been better if that girl only called corporate. We could have moved Mark to another store and swept it all under the rug.” I will never rent from blockbuster again. I made a huge mistake working for them. I have never been employed by such a horrible company. I never want to see that place again. I never want to see or hear from those people again. I hope it’s done and over now. I didn’t ask to be harassed. I didn’t start this, they did, and they need to remember they brought this upon themselves.

    Sincerely,

    An Ex-Blockbuster employee.

    The stores number is (919) 929-4177.

    The district managers number is 1-800-940-2232 option 2 extention 1518. You get his voice mail and he has 24 hours to get back in touch with you.

    I called the store Sunday to arrange picking up my check and John admitted to not giving the corporate number and that he called to see if I would do a shift when I told them I quit the day before. It’s Monday and I still haven’t heard back from the district manager.

  118. Blaine Kyle Evans says:

    I used to be a Blockbuster manager. I know this sounds bad, but believe me when I say that it’s the company that makes the employees of Blockbuster behave this way. They scream and shout at their managers to sell these programs up to a certain quota. When managers say that they just don’t have enough customers interested, their told to be insistent, that clearly they are not making their customers understand the programs (common programs sold by BBV are the Rewards, BB Online, and Movie/Game Passes, where you pay $30 to $50 per month for unlimited, one at a time rentals). Before I quit, though, I found a barcode that could give any account free rewards. I used it to give the benefits to all the customers I encountered without charging them anything, so they’d just get free rental coupons every month for free. Blockbuster is terrible with bookkeeping, and had no idea that there were no coupons to match those transactions. They even counted toward my quota, and I actually met and went over the quota for the first time in a year. That’s really impressive, as I know from the weekly conference calls that no store ever consistently met the quotas, because they always set them unrealistically high, which is why nationwide BB employees are so high strung. My best memories there were the months just before I left, when I didn’t care anymore, and literally gave away free rentals to most customers. It was nice to finally be able to make people happy, instead of having them leave angry. Of course, I never angered them in the same way as the story above, but the policies for exchanges and returns of defective merchandise alone were enough to make more than a few customers scream and curse at me in my time there.

    Consider this: If a customer purchases any retail item from Blockbuster, and wishes to return it for any reason (even unopened!), the only action the employee is authorized to do is give them a store credit for the Blockbuster-determined “used” value for the item. And even that requires about five minutes worth of forms.