So, this is going to be quite a rant. Consider yourself warned.
I absolutely hate Blockbuster. Hate Hate Hate. I am a forgiving person. Perfection is a process, and so I expect some growing pains in the process. To that end, when it comes to companies, I have a 3 strike rule. I will give a company 3 chances. If they blow it, not only will I never interact with that company again, but I make it my mission in life to warn others about the negatives of the company, and to vociferously express my displeasure.
My first negative interaction with Blockbuster was in late 2007. I had been signed up for the Blockbuster online service for a few months, when all of a sudden the price increased. Then, just a month or two later, it increased again. What to me had been a great deal was suddenly a waste of money. I cancelled. Strike 1.
Strike 2 took place not long after. I had realized while using Blockbuster online that there was a more efficient way to distribute their videos. If my calculations were right, the suggestions I had could save Blockbuster $5-$10 million dollars per year, maybe more. I wrote a letter to the CEO explaining that I had noticed a flaw in the system, and would be willing to sell them the solution. I gave some details, and some numbers to back it up. I never heard back. Strike 2.
September of last year, we decided to give Blockbuster Online another try. We are avid movie buffs, and over the last 6 months, between videos shipped from online and in-store exchanges, we rented a total of 180 movies, averaging out to about $1/per movie, on par with RedBox. Just today, I got online to check what movies were coming next, and noticed that yet another change had been made to Blockbuster Online.
It now appears that when you exchange an online movie in-store, Blockbuster Online no longer ships your next online movie until the in-store movie has been returned. The whole reason we chose the in-store exchange option was to have something to watch while we waited for our next online videos to arrive. Strike 3.
What a freakin ripoff! I will never use Blockbuster again, not online, not in-store. I will use Netflix and RedBox exclusively, and I strongly encourage everyone else to do the same. In my opinion, Blockbuster is a greedy company that is more concerned with showing their investors a profit than taking care of their customers.
If a company treats me well, I will do everything in my power to build up that company, to spread their name and service to my friends an colleagues. I am an Internet marketer by trade, and I have helped small companies that treated me right to grow significantly.
The flip side is also true. If I feel mistreated by a company, I will go to the ends of the earth to bring that company crashing down. I HATE companies that treat customers as objects, as a means to an end. Customers are the lifeblood of a company, and if you ostracize a customer, you may just seal your fate.
DOWN WITH BLOCKBUSTER!!!
UPDATE: So, I talked to the owner of the local Blockbuster yesterday, and he told me some interesting information. He said that Blockbuster corportate offices had sent out a letter prior to making the latest change (not sending the next online videos until the in-store exchanges were returned.) They told the franchise owners and store managers that there would be a lot of pissed off people, and that a lot of people would likely be quitting the Blockbuster Online service.
I guess the problem was that people were using the in-store exchanges on lots of new releases, and then keeping them out for weeks, causing the stores a lot of lost revenue. Still, I think this is a load of crap. Instead of doing something fair, like imposing a 2-4 day due date on in-store exchanges, they just took away the one thing that made Blockbuster Online better than Netflix.