Reader and blogger Morgan went to his local Blockbuster to rent a movie. He’d never rented at the store before, so he needed to sign up for a membership. We’ve all done this before, but this time, something was different:
The guy at the counter told me that I had to show a driver’s license and major credit card (perfectly reasonable), pay a $10 dollar fee (a bit much, but acceptable) and sign up for their Netflix ripoff, Blockbuster Online. Wait, what? I told him that I didn’t want to sign up for Blockbuster Online, and he refused to let me start a membership without signing up. And of course I couldn’t rent movies without a membership, so I was forced to leave without my movies.
I don’t want to sign up for Blockbuster Online. I know I wouldn’t use the service enough to justify the monthly fee. I know that canceling is likely to be difficult-if the company’s this obnoxious about forcing you to sign up, they’ll be at least as obnoxious about trying to keep you from leaving.
Morgan tried emailing Blockbuster to see if this was a store-wide policy or just one rogue manager. They didn’t write back. Has this happened to anyone else? Are they inflating the subscription numbers for their Netflix ripoff by bullying in-store customers? Lame. —MEGHANN MARCO