January 3, 2005

What is wrong with this picture?

Mr. X rented movies on Saturday from Blockbuster – a company that is proudly advertising the “end of the late fee” that just started this past Saturday, 1/1/05. Is this really the start of a new era? Is it one we even want? Let’s examine this more closely, shall we?

Scenario #1: You rent a movie and return it within the 7 day grace period after the due date.
Cost to you: Initial rental fee

Scenario #2: You rent a movie and return it after the 7 day grace period but before 30 days.
Cost to you: Sales price of movie minus initial rental fee. However, you can get this price credited back to your credit card, but you will pay a re-stocking fee AND you have to do it in person (i.e. no more jumping outta the car while still in your pajamas to shove the thing back into the return box– you ole lazy butt).

Scenario #3: You rent a movie and return it after 30 days.
Cost to you: Sales price of movie minus initial rental fee. There are no returns in this scenario. That puppy is YOURS. Such a pretty blue and white box, isn’t it?

Scenarios #1 and #3 are obviously common sense. It was #2 that made me choke on my edamame (not such a lovely shade of green after all). No late fees? Whatever. I didn’t MIND paying late fees. If my lame ass was too stupid to get to the store on time, then I DESERVED a late fee (previously, you just got dinged for another rental period until you returned the damn thing). This new setup doesn’t save me any money and now just makes things more complicated. The problem is that Blockbuster is pretty much a monopoly – there are few competitors in this area. With Bush’s Boys constantly all up in Microsoft’s biz’ness, why can’t they show Blockbuster some of the love? Hollywood Video is just hobblin’ along! Show ‘em some pity.

Mortimer’s Mom can check out DVDs from the freaking STREET corner– like an ATM machine. Hell, with global warming just around the corner and Celine Dion firmly planted in Las Vegas, Canada is looking better and better. Lucky dog, that Mortimer.


Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that Blockbuster is planning to buy Hollywood Video, so if you want to show them some love, you'd better do it quickly.

- Jane

Grant said...

The reason Blockbuster is doing away with late fees is because they are feeling pressure from Netflix.com. It's the same reason they started that whole in-store subscription service.

Online movie rentals is growing exponentially. Blockbuster is also in this fray along with evil Wal-Mart most recently. Now they are all trying to price-cut each other to death. I hope Netflix can remain afloat. I would hate to see BlockBuster and Wal-Mart run the true innovators out of business with their late "me too" entry into this market.

Cagey said...

Yes, I realize that Blockbuster is trying to get in the online business. But why do they have to screw around with us impulse renters? That is the main reason why I wouldn't do an online service.

Anonymous said...

ah, yes, my DVD rental terminal.... it really is AMAZING, and since Cerality won't let us invest, I'm seriously thinking of buying me the rights to a few franchises of the DVD rental machine. What corner of your neighbourhood would you like me to plunk it down on?
Mortimer's Mom

Goofy Girl said...

Hey Cagey! Looks like we need to scrape up some money and go into business with Mortimer's Mom. We need to buy some of these DVD rental machines for our lovely city (which needs to join the 20th century soon). I know exactly where we could put them to make BIG money!

Anonymous said...

Rita and Greg were discussing this when that ridiculous, but pleasantly melodramatic commercial came on. I was wondering how they continued to make money. Thanks for clearing that up.