Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blockbuster FAIL

So let me set the stage here.

The kid's at her grandmother's house. My Supermodel Wife and I have returned home early on a Saturday with a chance for date night to celebrate her 29th birthday. On the agenda: dinner out and movies in.

We decide to hit the neighborhood Blockbuster Video store to pick up a couple of flicks to watch after dinner. A glance at the local movie listings revealed there was nothing we both wanted to see, so a quick stop at Blockbuster seemed like a good move.

Only it turns out that there's no such thing as a quick stop at Blockbuster.

After learning they didn't have the film we wanted (Burn After Reading, have you seen it?) and about 10 minutes or so of browsing the titles, we make our way up to the counter to check out.

At this time I'll mention that the store is nearly deserted except for us, two other couples and two clerks.

I'll also mention that it's been about three years since we've rented videos. What with cable TV, DVRs and in-laws who buy DVDs like its an investment strategy, we just haven't had the occasion to rent.

Unfortunately for us, this meant that our membership in the exclusive Blockbuster customer club had lapsed.

Zoolander, the clerk who was "helping" us (not his actual name, but it was something equally as droll and movie-related) handed me a pen and a lengthy application form to fill out.

Meanwhile, other customers went ahead of us in line. It took me about 5 minutes to complete the questionnaire, using as much fake information as possible (do they really need to know my blood type? Really???).

So anyway, by the time I finish the application, Zoolander is busy with another customer. Seems this customer wanted to do something totally crazy like buy one of the previously viewed DVDs that Blockbuster sells. This insane request taxed Zoolander's mental capacity and that of his esteemed co-clerk to the point that they spent the next 15 minutes scratching their heads, poking the computer keyboard and calling the absent manager for help.

At length, Zoolander turned his attention back to our application for membership in the highly exclusive Blockbuster Video customer club. Unfortunately, he was breaking new professional ground in taking such an application. I was honored to be the first member he ever accepted, but frustrated that it took another 15 minutes to enter all of the information into the super secret Blockbuster Video world domination super computer database.

Finally, with our most personal information safely if not accurately entered, Zoolander fake-laminated our temporary membership cards with packing tape.

We paid for our three rentals and headed out to our car where an evening snowfall had deposited about an inch of snow in the 40 minutes we had been in the store.

Given this terrible experience, I'm not really surprised that Netflix is kicking Blockbuster's ass.

In fact, as rarely as we rent movies and despite my distaste for McDonald's, that Red Box thing is looking like a good option.

Has anyone ever used it? Cause I can't afford to lose more time in the Blockbuster's black hole of the soul.

tagged: , , , , ,


  1. I saw the movie and liked it, especially the ending. I have blockbuster online and so far rented close to 600 dvd's over the past 3 years. i avoid stores when i can. redbox is ok unless you get one in a busy place and have to wait in line or someone is waiting behind you making you nervous

  2. One word, Redbox. Sign up for their SMS text for Monday and get a free rental code by text message every Monday for that Monday night. Reserve your movie you want online at the Redbox you want (subject to availability). Return the movie to any redbox, not necessarily the one you rented it from. No, I don't work for Redbox, I just love it. $1/night. Even the time we got a scratched movie and it wouldn't play...They gave me codes for three free rentals as compensation.

  3. I used RedBox once. At the new Olathe Walmart. The issue with RB is that it can take some 5-10 minutes just to get the movie you want.

    I love Netflix. I get two movies at a time, and keep them as long as I want. Of course I've had the damn "27 dresses"* movie for about a month because the wife really wanted to see it, but hasn't watched it yet. I asked her why. Because she wants me to watch it with her. Oh the humanity!

    *=I don't know how many dresses the movie title contains. If it is 27, it was a lucky guess.

  4. Don't listen to the Mad Russian. Burn After Reading SUCKS.

    Redbox, on the other hand, is pretty awesome. Even if it combines two of the most evil companies in the world (McDonalds and Walmart). Since money's tight (for some reason), we've been renting like crazy from the Redbox. It's right in the wheelhouse of "cheap" and "conveninent".

  5. To Old Fart; arrrrrrgggghhhhhh, I feel your pain on the chick flick.

    And Redbox is owned by McD's and Coinstar. Walmart has no ownership.

  6. 27 dresses is effing TERRIBLE.

    Which, btw, I have already racked up 3 dresses and have 4 more this summer. AHHHH!!!!

    Who hates McDonalds? Ba da da da daaaaaaa...I'm lovin it.

  7. Red Box is OK. If you decide to do it, do everything online first to speed things up exponentially and you'll get the exact movie you want. Even if you have to drive to a further Red Box to get the movie, you can return it to the once closest to you, which is all that really matters.

    I pay for Netfllix, which I do via mail and instantly on my computers and Xbox. We use Red Box when we get free rentals.

  8. Thanks for the tips guys. I've heard really good things about Netflix, but since we rarely watch movies (except for cable channel movie listings) it probably doesn't make sense for us to pay the monthly fee.

    Sounds like Redbox is the way to go.

  9. First off, LOL. Loved the post.

    We don't have those fancy suburban conveniences like Redbox out here in the rural redwoods (in fact, we don't even have Blockbuster--which my ex used to refer to as "Cockblister Video"). Therefore, we are Netflix devotees. But we are not big movie-watchers, so we are on the very cheapest plan they offer--$4.99/mo. For $5.35 with tax, we are entitled to two movies a month, one at a time. I figure an expenditure of that magnitude is worth it, even if we don't actually watch two movies some months.


Your turn to riff...