Blockbuster Total Access Fails, Netflix Wins

We’re ready to call Netflix the winner of this battle of the video war, based on Blockbusters remarkably sad third quarter numbers and the flood of pissed off emails we’ve been getting from Blockbuster’s (former) customers.

Blockbuster managed to lose $35 million in the third quarter, and its customers have been writing in to complain about benefits being cut from their “Total Access” packages.

Not good.

From Forbes:

Chairman Jim Keyes announced that Blockbuster will reduce the number of people currently employed by the company in an effort to reduce annualized overhead costs by approximately $45 million.

As if any more proof was need that Blockbuster Total Access program essentially failed to compete effectively against Netflix (nasdaq: NFLX – news – people ), Keyes noted that “the company will no longer be narrowly focused on its online subscriber count but instead will concentrate on the growth of, and report on, its total membership.”

Netflix wins. We wonder if Blockbuster will continue. Anyone have some tokens they could borrow?
Blockbuster Goes Bust [Forbes]
(Photo:Wikipedia)

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  1. ferris209 says:

    I guess what comes around goes around, they’ve been screwing consumers for years, what with those outrageous late fees then jacking with peoples Total Access accounts and such, I think it’s funny. I’m still a subscriber as of right now simply because they haven’t jacked with my Total Access as of yet, but the moment they do I’m heading straight back to Netflix, I even sent Blockbuster an e-mail telling them that.

  2. SaveMeJeebus says:

    Blockbuster Total Access sucks now. I live 2 miles from a Blockbuster store and I used to swap movies 3-5 times per week and now they raise the price and nerf it to two a month. I am now a Netflix customer.

  3. Saboth says:

    I chose Blockbuster over Netflix simply for the exchange program, and the fact they were cheaper (at the time), and you could also get game rental coupons.

    Slowly, but surely, they raised rates, and cut benefits. I haven’t gotten a game coupon in about 2 months, despite the fact I was told I was going to be “grandfathered” into the new programs.

    Combine this with more expensive packages, and the fact blockbuster will ship disk sets as seperate movies (meaning if you have 2 disks, they count as 2 rentals)…I am kind of leaning towards Netflix. Blockbuster WAS a bargain when it first came out, but they got greedy and decided to trim too many benefits, while raising prices, AND having much slower turnaround times than Netflix (as more limited selection).

  4. lowlight69 says:

    so rarely is there a company that i love, honestly i can think of only two off the top of my head, TiVo and Netflix. I love my netflix membership, despite mailings, and other offers i never even thought of switching. Netflix is just too awesome. While any company can be dethroned, it would take a lot for Netflix to fall from my graces.

    viva Netflix! :)

  5. iamlost26 says:

    I’m sure the reason they kept losing profits was because the benefits of the program were TOO good. I just happened to subscribe the month they first started Total Access, and it was unbelievable how many movies I could see each month (and the game coupons were great too). As more people caught on, they lost so much business in store that it outweighed the profits from the subscription fees.

    I canceled quite some time ago, since I couldn’t watch as many movies during the Spring. I recently wanted to resubscribe but found that they had raised rates and created limits. I’m not a subscriber of video service now, but if it keeps going this way, I definitely won’t go back to Blockbuster.

  6. spookyooky says:

    The Blockbuster closest to my apartment has just reduced the size of it’s store by half. I don’t know square feet but all I know is that since it opened it had occupied the same footprint. I doubt it is because they don’t have enough DVD’s and games to fill the space.

    I think that the only way that Blockbuster can save itself is to finally rent the porno. I actually have no doubt that it would at least give them a bump in the short term. It would give them all kinds of free (probably mostly negative, but any talk is good talk)advertising. And let’s be honest, America loves it’s porno.

    I guess with computers and downloads it’s only a matter of time before stores where you go in and rent a product are mostly gone, leaving only speciality shops or the occasional small video store.

  7. supra606 says:

    I switched the day after Blockbuster told me the plan I was on would be $6 more than it had been previously if I wanted to continue. I’m not surprised in the least that a company that felt it had no choice but to raise prices by a whopping 33% is in big trouble.

  8. cnc1019 says:

    Lightening bolt time…there used to be a store who offered a subscription service in my town. You paid X amount of dollars and you either got Y amount of rentals for the month or unlimited rentals for the month (can’t remember which).

    You still had to turn the movie in on time or you would incur a late penalty (typically a couple of bucks a day until it was a certain number of days late, then you owed the cost of the video).

    This store went out of business within a year of blockbuster moving into town because blockbuster had better/more selection, blockbuster wasn’t too expensive then, and DVDs were becoming popular and the store didn’t want to sink the money into transfering over.

    Could Blockbuster not try and offer a plan similar to this for in store only while still offering their current per movie rate as well? Lots of people don’t want to do the netflix subscription because they don’t want to wait to watch a movie when they get the urge. $15 bucks a month plus tax could get you 5 movies or something like that. At the rates here in Dallas that would be saving about 10 dollars if you actually rented 5 movies during the month.

    Just a thought (a very long one).

  9. Steel_Pelican says:

    “Blockbuster will reduce the number of people currently employed by the company in an effort to reduce annualized overhead costs”

    I’d like to read the letter you get notifying you you’ve been laid off. “Dear Employee. Even though you had nothing to do with Total Access’s abysmal failure, we’re going to have to let you go. See, the higher-ups in the company don’t want to have to take a pay cut to make up for their failed policies and ventures, so they’re just going to make you look for a new job. As for your severance package, please refer to Chapter 6, Article 11 of your employee handbook, under the heading ‘EAT IT, LOSER.’ Sincerely, your former employer.”

  10. mantari says:

    @ferris209: After being raped by Blockbuster for so many years, I do not like or trust them. If I could have gotten beyond not liking the company to sign up for their new rental programs, I knew that if it was successful and they did start to bury Netflix, that they’d raise rates and go back to their old tricks again.

    Yay for competition and choice!

  11. Lin-Z [linguist on duty] says:

    @cnc1019: I remember for a while blockbuster had a program where you could pay I think $25/month and get unlimited in-store rentals. This was before Netflix was an issue.

    and I say to netflix, which i use and love: FINISH HIM

  12. interpol33 says:

    I work for blockbuster. They told us, “We aren’t competing with Netflix, we’re just going to do our own thing.” Which is total BS.

    They forced to sell online memberships in the store which grossly dropped our revenue and forced us to cut hours while more customers would come in to get the “free exchange offer”. Since we were understaffed lines were long, customer service was weak, store was a complete mess.

    We pleaded with corporate to give us more hours to meet the demand of customers but they didnt budge since they said we didnt sell enough online memberships, confection(candy/popcorn), revenue. The only real way to make make our quota is to FORCE customers to sign up / buy things they didn’t, ala gamestop with the preorders.

    This tactic alienated regular paying customers which most of our profit/revenue came from. Blockbuster brought this upon themselves, they need to be more CUSTOMER ORIENTED and be less money hungry. Its just a downward spiral of stupidity, corporate people need to work on the sales floor for a month to see the mess they caused and how impractical their methods really are.

    I’m just speaking on behalf of my store, I’m sure there are many stores that are the typical blockbusters you all know to hate since i’ve been to some myself. I’m not defending Blockbuster at all, i could care less about them, I am grossly underpaid myself, I just saw this coming along time ago.

    Enjoy your Netflix with their superior customer service.

  13. KJones says:

    Lackluster Video has always been second rate in selection and treatment of customers, never mind their unspoken censorship of scenes from certain movies.

  14. catskyfire says:

    I still prefer Blockbuster over Netflix, and I’ve had both. I switched because it was cheaper and I got the coupons. I still get the same coupons (movie or game). I can exchange my movie in store. (Or if I decide not to rent, I can drop it off there, and it comes off my queue faster, rather than when it reaches the destination.)

    And then there are the 3 big reasons I prefer Blockbuster. 1 – My Queue isn’t as limited. Back when I had Netflix, my queue was full and I couldn’t add anymore. I’ve got 70 years of movies to catch up on, and having them on my list means I’ll remember to see them. (I often randomly move a movie up front.)
    2 – Unless things have changed, the warehouse for Nebraska is in Minnesota. For Blockbuster, it’s Kansas City. The difference ends up being an extra day, both ways. More profitable for them, more annoying for me.
    3 – Hawk the Slayer. This is a ghastly sword n sorcery movie, referenced in Knights of the Dinner Table. It’s also fun to laugh at and appreciate it. Netflix doesn’t have it ;)

  15. 5h17h34d says:

    I will never do business with Blockbuster again after the way they screwed and throttled me 2 years ago. They proved themselves to be a bunch of fucking liars so I switched to Netflix and never looked back.

  16. TechnoDestructo says:

    @cnc1019:

    Lackluster actually put a video store out of business based on BETTER SELECTION? How utterly terrible was this store you’re talking about.

    When they came into my home town, they did so by buying out a local chain. They wouldn’t have been able to do this but for the fact that the owners were getting divorced, and the wife got the businesses despite her not having had a clue about running any of them and generally being a bimbo. (They’d been started with her family’s money) She did keep one mini-mall (but no longer owned the video store in it.) She changed the name to “Teddy-Bear Plaza.” I’d have divorced her, too.

    Anyhow, Lackluster claimed they’d be adding “ten thousand movies!” No, they didn’t. What they did was close one of the three locations, and move all those movies to the other two. I know they did this because I saw some tapes that I knew were only at the closed location at the other two.

    Later, they opened a new store near where the one they’d closed had been. They did THIS by buying out one of the locations of one of the other local video chains. (A VASTLY superior one) They then moved the inventory into their new store. Of course, they got rid of the ENTIRE foreign film section.

    A local radio DJ around that time said on his show “tens of thousands of movies, but they’re all copies of Men in Black.”

  17. humphrmi says:

    I’ve never liked Blockbuster. The fact that they are already cutting benefits, getting all these complaints, and losing money, and think that cutting further (causing even poorer service and more membership loses) will result in profit is a bad sign.

  18. UpsetPanda says:

    I’m a faithful Netflixer, and didn’t even consider Blockbuster when I signed up with Netflix, because my local Blockbuster sucks. They reduced the size of their store, and didn’t even make their selection better…they stocked 3 shelves of “The Marine”, the crap b-action movie with the pro wrestler. At any given time, probably only 3 copies were gone. Why not just reduce the supply to one shelf, and stock better (or at least different) films? They continued to stock movies that just weren’t in high demand, and it made it really aggravating. Plus, the guy up front kept telling me every time I went in that I needed to update the credit card information (I use my mother’s account) or I couldn’t rent. Every time I went in to rent something, the clerk would tell me this, and continue to check me out. Why do I need to update my mother’s card information? Why did I ever need to give that out in the first place? It has nothing to do with my membership, and Blockbuster insists that I do it. At least with Netflix, there’s a reason.

  19. S-9 says:

    I had an issue with Blockbuster on my last month of service with them. I had temporarily suspended the account while leaving for Europe for awhile. Blockbuster allows returns of their mailed-dvds to exchange for in store rentals. Well apparently the store failed to submit the last dvd in the mail. I later found out it was in a drawer somewhere – the manager put it aside – maybe it was somewhat my fault because I advised the clerk that the mailed-dvd did not work in my dvd player. I received a charge on my debit card for the price of the dvd – during the time I needed to purchase a plane ticket to return back to the US – and I only had just enough money to buy the ticket on that debit card. Yes I had other cards but would’ve had difficulty giving 4 or 5 debit cards to total the price of a ticket when the one that they took out caused issues. They stated they could not refund until (I was at an internet kiosk reviewing this nightmare in Europe) until I resolved the DVD issue. I called and spoke with a representative who confirmed the email I received from Blockbuster even though I explained the situation, advised I was in Europe with no bit of belief from them. This was even though I had been with Blockbuster since 1989 – and used their mail-order dvd’s religiously almost from day one. Their 20 dollar issue caused this rift – yes I’m sure I’m partially to blame – but Jesus Christ it was their fault for not calling the store to ask and for not trying to resolve the issue. I called the manager of the Blockbuster store where the issue was happening and he found the DVD mailed it in and I received proper credit. I will never do business with Blockbuster or any affiliate of such. It was if their customer service felt I was scum because of the “missing” dvd. That’s how their customer service made me feel. I can only guess that maybe they are having receivables’ issues of folks not return dvd’s – not sure – but I don’t have to worry about it anymore. I was shocked that they would be willing to let customer’s go like that.

  20. overbysara says:

    I LOVE YOU NETFLIX.

  21. soulbarn says:

    I live in a busy neighborhood in LA. It, perhaps, was too much that Blockbuster had three stores within two miles of my house. As of the past three or four weeks, they now have one. The closed one that I visited doesn’t even have a sign or any info on how to return movies.

    Two Hollywood videos within a couple of miles have also recently closed.

    GOOD. Netflix is far superior, and it will give the more eclectic video stores – there were four nearby, and two have been hanging on – a chance to thrive.

    Now, if only Amazon would thin out the local Borders and B&Ns so the indy bookshops also had a chance.

  22. faust1200 says:

    Netflix is so efficient at receiving and distributing the DVD’s it’s sick. I think they have elves working around the clock.

  23. JessiesMind says:

    I’ve been with Netflix for a little over a year now and I haven’t looked back since. I love them!

    When I extolled their virtues to my friends and family, they all pretty much said, “They sound great, BUT you can return your movies to Blockbuster and get the next on your queue without waiting for the mail!”

    Of course, this drove me insane because that’s exactly why I love Netflix – never having to set foot in a Blockbuster again and deal with what just may be the world’s rudest and stupidest employees ever.

    Eh, I’ll be waiting there with red envelopes in hand and a silent “told ya so” on my lips when they finally give up on Blockbuster. And from what I’ve been hearing from them, it won’t be a long wait at all.

  24. geekfather says:

    More love for Netflix, right here!

  25. mastercha says:

    I have blockbuster Online and I am very happy with it. My plan did not change and I have lost no benefits in regards to the in-store returns and I get a free game rental every month. For a casual gamer but a big movie watcher, it’s the perfect deal for me. I used to have Netflix when it first came out, and it was a fine service, but I found myself getting lazy in returning the movies and I ended up paying monthly fees for nothing. I guess I was their perfect customer, but I prefer Blockbuster.

    On the other hand, the movie downloads netflix offers does intrigue me, and I might give them a shot again.

  26. urban_ninjya says:

    Glad Blockbuster’s bleading red ink. I rarely hold grudges, but they have pissed me off time and time again with their deceptive policy of making the day end at 12 noon instead of 12 midnight. They say you have 3 days, when you really just have 2 and 1/2 minus what ever part of the day you’re currently on. Then they hit you with a late fee that costs more than the regular rental price. I don’t know if they do that still, but they pissed me off enough times.

    Netflix, I love them. They send customer surveys, keep their prices competitive, and invests in making new services customers actually want. Too bad my social life went to hell watching all those movies and I had to cancel Netflix.

  27. iamlost26 says:

    @JessiesMind: I never had a problem with my blockbuster’s employees; in fact, I got to know them pretty personally after using Total Access for 6 months. I would see them at least once a week, I mean.

    @Urban_Ninjya: You know, this really changed after they started the “No Late Fees” thing (which itself was a little deceptive). But now, you don’t get charged a thing until a week after it’s “due” – meaning you really get everything for ~10 days. You get charged for the movie after that, which will be refunded if you eventually return it (minus a $1.25 “restocking fee”). After 30 days you can’t return it.

    Anyway, I feel like a lot of these negative feelings I’m reading stem from who-knows-when. You guys aren’t talking about Blockbuster during the “Total Access” period (which is within the past year). The only part they screwed up on was raising the prices/creating limits, which they HAD to do because they weren’t making enough money because of how awesome the program was. Aside from that, I thought Total Access was gold; I only wished it could have last forever.

  28. etinterrapax says:

    Been with Netflix five years in December, and never considered leaving. It’s seemed to me, even with the throttling issue, that they have known how to do business to sustain themselves in the long term, rather than thinking quarter to quarter, or even month to month. Blockbuster was already too big and based on a different business model. They weren’t going to make it.

  29. jasonorl says:

    If you ask me, Blockbuster’s no late fee policy is also their best deal (at least for games)if I am understanding their policy correctly?

    Assume you rent a video game for 5 days (I think it is usally 5 days)….you then get the 7 day grace period bring the game rental to 12 days. After the 12th day they charge your credit card the full retail price and you have 30 days from that point to return it for a refund minus $1.25 restocking fee. So this means you can have the game for up to 42 days for the normal rental price (which I think is $8.99 around here) plus $1.25 fee just for letting them charge you credit card for a month and then get it refunded back?

    I have never tried this so I am not sure if I am understanding their policy correctly but I can’t believe that Blockbuster would actually allow this? Someone please let me know if I am misinterpreting their late fee policy?

  30. facted says:

    I have been with both blockbuster and Netflix. Both services have been great, but for me it really comes down to being able to drop off a movie at the store (which saves me a shipping day back to the warehouse, since this now counts as being received), and I can also exchange that movie for an in-store movie AND get my next one sent. I’m getting two movies for the price of one.

    The ability to do in-store exchanges just trumps anything Netflix could offer me, even if their shipping were faster which I don’t think it is (in NYC).

    I can understand preferring Netflix if you don’t live close to a blockbuster store, but if you do, how can it possibly go wrong???

  31. MrEvil says:

    I think another thing that contributed to the failure of Total Access was the fact that in MANY areas the only Blockbuster stores are franchises that don’t participate in the movies through the store part of total access. Corporate screwed up by not cutting in franchisees in on that action. I get my Netflix movies 2 days faster than my friend who does Blockbuster online.

    I also think Netflix’s clever ads helped them alot too. I won’t forget the one where the guy comes home to a “war movie”

  32. MrEvil says:

    I also forgot to mention, you can’t even return movies to the franchise locations here.

  33. rdm says:

    I applaud this news. BB has screwed me over and over. Every time they changed up their plan I tried it and just got totally hosed.

    Last time we subscribed (I swear, that was the last time) I had 70 movies in my queue and nothing was shipping. Over 50 showed “available” but according to CS, none were within their “acceptable mailing time” window, so nothing ships. They told me to add 30 movies to my queue, which I already had. What, am I supposed to add crappy movies to my queue so you can ship me something? Notice that when this happens they don’t email you and nothing shows up on their site indicating this, the movies just show “available” even though they are not. I’ve disputed charges from them on more than one occasion. I can’t wait to see them fail (more).

  34. Bladefist says:

    im a huge blockbuster fan. netflix is terrible. All the class-action suits have proved that. My plan hasnt changed, nor have I had to pay more or lose benefits. Maybe you guys just waited to long to switch

  35. SaveMeJeebus says:

    @MrEvil: After the Total Access started, the local franchise’s management would always roll their eyes when myself and others would come in with envelopes. They always rudely mentioned that we were costing them money. This coupled with the diminished rental value of Total Access sealed the Netflix deal for me.

  36. xredgambit says:

    I hated the plan increases for blockbuster, but I see why. It was a lot of stuff for little money. I think the plan increases would be fine if they just kept the coupon.

  37. flairness says:

    I’ve been a very satisfied Netflix customer for over 3 years.

  38. endless says:

    i actually went to a block buster last night to find out if they had any blu ray discs…. well, that store didnt.

    whack.

  39. ReccaSquirrel says:

    Huh…

    Because I’ve been using Blockbuster Total Access since they started and I can’t complain.

  40. Serenefengshui says:

    Gee, why not just go to the local library? Most library systems allow you to put items on hold (and many have an online catalog too). I’ve got dozens of DVDs on hold, a few come in each week and I get to keep them for two weeks. Totally free, unless, of course, I return one late. Then, it’s ten cents a day. Much cheaper than either Netflix or Blockbuster.

  41. pda_tech_guy says:

    The only reason I had blockbuster was because there was a blockbuster store right around the corner, but as everyone knows, they are “downsizing.” The closest store is now 4 miles away (and i live in Orange County, CA) I lived with it though, I drove 4 miles to exchange my movies. When they cut the amount of movies I could get a month by half (and of course, the price stayed the same) I decided to cancel. Good bye Blockbuster, you won’t be missed.
    Now if only Netfix partnered with a video store so I can exchange movies (because I dont exactly have an HD 42 inch monitor, and watching movies on my 17 inch CRT sucks)

  42. caj11 says:

    @serenefengshui:

    The local library’s selection where I live would probably fit on my bookshelf at home. In fact, I’ve already watched everything that I wanted to see from there. The Blockbuster store near me doesn’t have much better of a selection (well, an exxageration but it is rather slim pickings if you get there too late) and the employees there can barely tie their own shoes. Never bothered with Total Access – I lost all respect for the Blockbuster company with their constant bait-and-switch tactics in their Rewards program a few years ago and I didn’t want them getting my money. I’ve had Netflix for a few years and been very happy. The selection they have never stops amazing me.

  43. meneye says:

    I love netflix as well but still want a blockbuster or two around just in case I really need a movie that night.

    My local library is also carrying new movies and tv series as well, which is a great free way to watch the flicks you want.

  44. mac-phisto says:

    @jasonorl: well, you’re misinterpretation is falling victim to the idea that a “restocking fee” that is charged after X number of days have passed isn’t a late fee.

    that’s what this really comes down to…if you look at blockbuster’s business model when they thrived (a/k/a B.N. or before netflix), they were generating a large portion of their profit from late fees.

    imo, this is a great example of “consumer justice”. i don’t know if anyone can boast that they haven’t been screwed by blockbuster at least once. it seems everyone has a story of “that one time i got slammed with $20 in fees b/c the clerk didn’t check the movies in”.

    personally, i could write a book about the reasons i don’t rent from blockbuster, but i think the last straw for me was when i couldn’t rent “the forbidden planet” (b/c their only for “rent copy” of a 50 year old movie was perpetually rented), but i could buy a pre-viewed copy for $20.

    hello! this is a rental store! i even tried to reason that i could rent the pre-viewed copy & when i returned it in a few days they could just put it out for sale again. right. raise your hand if you’ve ever tried to reason with a blockbuster employee – yeah, you know what i’m talking about.

  45. bilsemon says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Netflix. I have for years. Wouldn’t think of leaving them. Can’t say that about too many companies I deal with. I LOVE the business model. I LOVE that they reduce the monthly fee rather than increasing it. I LOVE that they have all types of movies from obscure older movies to documentaries to the latest features.

    Buh-bye Blockbuster. Don’t let the door hit you.. well, you know…

  46. Teapotfox says:

    @mac-phisto: BBV employees cannot switch a movie from retail to rental–even the managers cannot make that call. It isn’t because the employees are too stupid to figure out how, it’s because corporate won’t let them. All your fine “reasoning” isn’t going to change the fact that they have rules they have to follow, and no matter how convincing your argument may be, it’s not going to persuade anyone to break rules that could cost them their job. You can’t “just rent” a sale copy, previewed or not… they don’t have rental barcodes, they’re not in inventory as rental copies. Blame corporate if you must, but it’s not the employees’ fault. They don’t have a magic wand they can wave to instantly change how an item is classified in inventory for your convenience.

  47. jasonorl says:

    @mac-phisto: I understand that is doesn’t matter what they call the $1.25 fee as I am just referring to what appears to be a loophole in their policy that would appear to benefit savvy consumers. My point is their policy seems (unintentionally) to allow you to keep the game for an extra 30 days for an additional $1.25 beyond the rental price (as long as you return it before the 30 days so I guess it would 29 actually be days). Yes, they would charge your credit card for the “purchase” but then return the game within 30 days from that point for a refund of the “purchase” price minus the $1.25 thus paying only for the rental price plus $1.25, right?

    This would make it around $8.99 for the rental + $1.25 “restocking fee” totaling around $10.24 for up to 41 days with the game (5 days +7 day grace period +29 days totaling 41 days).

    I think a 41 day video game rental for $10.24 is an great deal although I can’t imagine they would continue to let people do this on a regular basis or this would have a signficant impact on their supply of games for rentals.

  48. mac-phisto says:

    @Teapotfox: my point exactly – inflexibility. as a consumer, i don’t care where the problem is…just that there is a problem. i would guess that “corporate rigidity” is probably a large part of the problem. i’m not “blaming” the employee – i hold the entire corporation responsible, which is why i don’t go there anymore.

    @jasonorl: i understand your argument – “creative marketing” like NO LATE FEES* is just a personal pet peeve.

    *unless your late

  49. 4dSwissCheese says:

    I’ve been using Total Access for a few months now and have been quite happy with the experience. Though its not so convenient for me to make it to a brick & mortar store so I haven’t really been taking advantage much of the in store stuff.

  50. aikoto says:

    That sucks. I hope Blockbuster doesn’t go away because their movies by mail deal is far superior to Netflix but only because of their stores. I loved being able to start the program and go to the neighborhood store and pick up my first movie or GAME immediately while waiting for the first three from the queue to come.

  51. Kaien says:

    I’m not really a rental person this decade. I just tend to leech off my sister for movies to give something a try; I tend to be disappointed.

    I stopped business with Blockbuster back in the 90s after tons of moments of them screwing with me. When a smaller chain moved in, I enjoyed their “actual” rent periods. I seriously hated it when Blockbusters changed their due times to half a day earlier, which cut my ability to have more time to enjoy my movies….

    I’m glad they are suffering, but I feel bad for some of the employees…

    I’ll probably give Netflix a try someday. For now, I will enjoy time with family with a huge ass collection of movies.

  52. bayouborne says:

    Exactly so, for years Blockbuster charged $3+ for an extra day’s late fee and millions of people grudgingly paid it. When it comes time to choose between BB and NF, those same millions remember that exploitation and choose Netflix.

    Netflix just seems to have a good aura around it in the way that BB have a vaguely negative feel. I’ve been a NF subscriber for about 4 months and am generally very happy with the service (But they badly need an Advanced search)

  53. startertan says:

    I had BlockBuster Online a few years ago when they were giving away one month free. In the one month I had them I got the wrong movie 4 times. 2 of those times it was the same movie (i.e., got the wrong movie, sent it back, and the wrong movie came in place of it…retards). I think in the 3 years I’ve had Netflix I’ve had about 4 wrong movies. The same amount of screwups in about 1/36 the time, pathetic.

    Hopefully Netflix will continue there excellent service and low prices. I wouldn’t mind a dollar or two bump over time but hopefully it won’t go to their heads and get out of control.

  54. Joe_Bloe says:

    Combine the old-skool Brick-and-Mortar “maximize profits screw the customer” m.o. of Blockbuster with the hungry upstart Netflix with the completely game-changing (albeit copyright-infringing) bittorrent and I’d say Blockbuster can’t bail water fast enough to keep from going under. I think even Netflix is being hurt by bittorrent. I really try to resist turning to the dark side, but it just works.

  55. mmcnary says:

    I stopped using Blockbuster after they bowed to the religious right and refused to carry ‘The Last Temptaion of Christ”, even though they carried all sorts of hard ‘R’ movies. I believe that was in the late 80′s.

  56. bravo says:

    @Saboth: Netflix does the same thing with 2 disc sets. Each disc counts as a separate rental.

  57. alilz says:

    I’ve had Netflix for about 5 years now and love it. I never even thought about switching to Blockbuster’s program because it’s not worth it. There’s not a physical store that’s easy to get to from my house so taking movies to the store was more of a hassle. I got Blockbuster giftcards a couple times for Xmas and it was always hard to find something to rent, the older dvds were almost all pan and scan, and if it the movie wasn’t a huge hit they only keep a few copies, maybe 1 widescreen, and almost always checked out.

    Personally, I use a combination Netflix and my library. My library has a really good selection but they don’t have everything and somethings make more sense to get from Netflix.

  58. bravo369 says:

    I chose blockbuster over netflix even though it was more expensive because the instore exchanges gave me more rentals. Once they started limiting those, it no longer became useful. Oh, and i actually considered writing into consumerist because Blockbuster kept giving me the runaround with a problem. I couldn’t access my rental queue for OVER A MONTH!!! i kept getting “Internal Error 500″. Over a month of 6 phone calls and 2 problem tickets opened with their support, and each analyst telling me they knew what the problem was and it would be fixed by the next day…well it wasn’t so i finally cancelled. I probably could have complained and had the last month refunded since I couldn’t use the service. Whatever, they can’t even take care of the customers they DO have so no wonder they are getting smacked around by netflix.

  59. Szin says:

    GOOD! I’ve hated Blockbuster ever since they closed down my old rental store, from back in the day. The people were so much nicer, they went out of there way to help us, and they had Road Blasters and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker to play when my parents picked out a flick. Plus it was organized. Then came Blockbuster and ruined everything. Thankfully, Netflix is just so damn good. I’m glad to see Blockbuster die.

  60. surgesilk says:

    All BB needs to do is offer pr0n and they’d get healthy quick!

  61. stephenjames716 says:

    the day I found out about netflix I threw out my blockbuster card and swore them off for good. I have done nothing but tell friends and family about netflix and signed up as many people as possible. after years and years of blockbusters late fee’s it’s refreshing to have a company like netflix come along and take care of it’s customers. being able to change my plans anytime I like is also very nice as my viewing habits change a lot. not sure if you can do that with blockbuster or not, but either way I will never again pay a dime to blockbuster.

  62. Mary says:

    I don’t want Blockbuster to die because the competition makes my already good Netflix EVEN BETTER. I hope they hang on by their teeth for a long time, so I get better prices for a better service.

    (And I do have a Blockbuster near me and I will never use their service. I’ve compared, it’s not worth it because I don’t rent new releases. When I do want a new movie for one reason or another, I got to Redbox. $1 a day, at your grocery store, no late fees. Perfect!)

  63. meeroom says:

    What class-action suits against Netflix was Bladefist talking about? And does he work for Blockbuster or something?
    I’ve never signed up for either but am seriously considering dumping most of our cable channels and getting Netflix, now that most TV shows are on DVD within a few months, why sit through commercials and Comcasts rotten On Demand service?

  64. xamarshahx says:

    i switched back, cut in benefits, lying about retention rates, slower deliveries, raising prices, and low stock of new movies. oh yeah, no hd dvds. bye blockbuster.

  65. rphoenix says:

    The funny things about Blockbuster is that they screwed me so many times as a regular customer that I would not even consider going back. I think their service is more compelling in many ways, but I just don’t trust them and was unwilling to even try the service.

  66. Sytteg says:

    We had 5 stores within 3 miles of our house, NE, NW, SE, SW, S, now the two smallest least accessible locations remain. Of the three large locations one sits empty, one is now a fish restaurant, and the last is being converted into a Ruby Tuesdays. We’ve never been big fans and we signed up for Netflix early later switching to Greencine for our college indie horror days with the inevitable out of college I don’t have time for indie return to Netflix.

  67. squidbrain says:

    Sorry, Netflix is far from perfect. I quit and went to BB because 1. they throttled me 2. they would not respond to my problems with my queue. It wasn’t working and all I got from them was “we can’t respond to each email individually”. Bye bye netflix. I’m not crazy about BB as a company but the ability exchange mailed in DVDs at the store is awesome even with the restrictions. Long live competition.

  68. dantsea says:

    I tried Blockbuster, found Total Access to be a Total Joke, as our local shops were franchised and seemed to participate in the program only grudgingly. Movies were selected from my queue at random, even though almost all the titles showed as being available, BB customer service would respond to my complaints with apologies and extra rental/game coupons that the franchisee refused to honor.

    It was then that I quickly remembered why I started using Netflix in the first place — to get away from the crappy service and scams considered business as usual by BB and its franchise operators.

    Netflix hasn’t been perfect, but they haven’t been anywhere close to as aggravating as Blockbuster.

  69. brendanm14 says:

    i don’t think i have stepped foot into a BB in at least 3 or 4 years. I had Netflix for a little bit but used Hollywood Video for my games and one off rentals. Now I go to Family Video (a Midwestern thing) or RedBox and have Gamefly for my game rentals. i think BB can finally be put to rest.

    I would assume the rent all of those locations, but hopefully they own some of them so they can at least get some $$$ from the property sales.

  70. mechanismatic says:

    @meeroom: The class-action against Netflix was brought by heavy-renter customer’s who thought that Netflix artificially lengthened the amount of time it would take to get them movies. Many people think that Netflix lost the lawsuit, but the result was that Netflix just had to be more transparent about what caused the situation that led to people thinking they were “throttled.” More information about throttling is available on the Netflix website here. I’m a heavy user with Netflix and I’ve never experienced throttling. Sometimes it might take a longer time to get a more obscure movie, but with so many movies out at a time, I always have something to watch. And then of course there’s the Watch Instantly feature, which I use on the odd occasion that I don’t actually have any movies at home. I haven’t used Blockbuster in years. Who wants to do business with a Dinosaur? I used to get late fees with Blockbuster and when I tried their unlimited plan when it first came out, they still charged my credit card months after I canceled. No amount of in store rentals can make up for terrible customer service, wasted gas in a time when gas prices are at a premium, and excessive late fees. Welcome to the 21st Century.

  71. mac-phisto says:

    @brendanm14: whatcha think about gamefly? i’ve been contemplating a membership, but have heard a LOT of bad things (mostly about selection & wait times for new releases). i’ve never heard anyone give more than a “they’re ok”.

  72. Imhotep says:

    Blockbuster is SO irrelevant. Ever since I found out that they censor movies, and offer only what the mormons who run it will allow on their shelves, I have not given them a cent.
    Netflix ROX people! Kill your television!

  73. cibbomatteo says:

    Back in February I rented my last 2 movies from Blockbuster after they claimed I never returned 2 movies even though I placed them in the employees hand when I returned them. I got a collection notice several weeks later saying I owed them $42 for 2 never returned movies. I immediately called the store and was told by the employee that I never returned them and I asked them to check the shelf and make sure they didn’t just misplace them. I got a call back five minutes later saying that they found the movie on the shelf, but It was returned a month and a half after it was due?!?!?!? I then asked them how the hell they could claim I never returned 2 movies and then say I returned one of them almost two months later. The employee said sir according to the computer you turned on of them in late… He couldn’t grasp that a few minutes ago I never returned them and then claim I returned one of them, but had a late charge!?!?!?! I’m glad they are in financial trouble and can’t wait to see the going out of business sign hanging from their door.

    PS

    Boycott this store

    70 Park Place

    Covington,LA ,70433-5183

  74. Anonymous says:

    About two weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were in Blockbuster in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. We are members of Blockbuster Online, and we were exchanging our mailers. While in the store, the manager, Shawn, was repremanding a regular employee for putting some movies that were on hold for another customer. Shawn was screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs that he didn’t give a s%!t whether or not the customers got pi$$y because movies were on hold. He didn’t give a s#!t what the F-word customers said, that was his store, and everything will done his way. The employee was trying to get a word in, and explain why the movies were put in a drawer, but the Shawn guy would not have none of it. The “manager” continued a tirade of several minutes, and then took off outside to smoke a cigarette with a third employee, in front of the store, so customers could breathe his second hand poison as they entered the store. He then proceeded to periodically bang on the front window of the store and yell orders and point at various areas within the store to the only employee left in the store, the guy who was yelled at. We complained to the district manager, and to the corporate office. Apparently neither of which care about their customers or professionalism of their employees as Shawn still holds the crowning position of store manager. The district manager never called us back like she was supposed to, and when my boyfriend inquired what had happened, the third employee on duty that night had lied to the district manager and said it never happened. Therefore, the district manager didn’t even view the store tapes. Blockbuster not only disvalues thier customers, they could care even less about their employees. The guy getting yelled at was a nice guy, and apologized He may have been a nobody within the complany, but he was the most professional. If it was not for the convenience due to the fact that I live in a rural area, I would cancel my b-bust account. We have not rented from their store since, tho.