Tuesday, April 15, 2008

So I guess I can not shop at Circuit City now...

Long time readers of this blog know that I like to pick on Blockbuster from time to time.

Well, actually, not "like to" but I do it.

So when I heard the yellow and blue was buying Circuit City I thought maybe they were doing a turnaround from getting kicked in the face by Netflix.

Alas, no such luck. Every time I give Blockbuster another chance, it finds new and creative ways to screw up.

Case in point, I had one or two items available on Blockbuster that were not available on Netflix, so I re-signed up for their smallest mail plan: $3.99 for two movies a month. Fair enough. Blockbuster then sends me an offer. If I will "upgrade" to the next highest plan--$8.99 for one out at a time, unlimited, and two free rentals in store--they will give me one month free. Quick math check says that's an additional 99 cents over two months for which I get 4 free rentals (2 a month) in the store.

Only problem is when I turned in my first envelope for a free rental they said I had already used up my allotment. How could this be, since I just re-upped and this was the first trade in? No matter, the computer is always right. So I left the store without There Will Be Blood (which I still haven't seen but I suppose I'll get at Redbox next Monday).

Okay, so I'm out $5 or two rentals...not a huge hit, but enough to remind me why I stopped dealing with Blockbuster in the first place. Fool me once, shame on them. Fool me for the umpteenth time and I learn my lesson.

Oh, and as a side note, some of you may know that Blockbuster makes a big deal out of refusing to stock NC-17 films but will stock unrated foreign films or made for cable soft porn like Red Shoes Diaries. I was surprised then to see Ang Lee's Lust, Caution on the shelves. I was more surprised to see the studio had apparently caved to pressure and released an expurgated version of the film to that it could get into Blockbuster stores. Funnier still was the advertising banner on the DVD: "The 'R' rated version NOT seen in theaters!" Ah, yes, normally we get the promise in a Director's Cut of all the stuff you couldn't see in the theater (in an "UNRATED" director's cut). Here we get the "selling point" that the film is new because they took out all the stuff you COULD see in the theater. Bizarre.

Post-script. When canceling my service, I was required to fill out a check list explaining my reason(s) for canceling. It ended with a "pretty please won't you tell us your main reason for canceling" so I wrote an explanation of the problems I had with customer service, opportunities I had given them to resolve the issue, and what it would take for me to remain a customer (simple, honor your agreement and provide the services you said you would). Laughably, the website did not accept my cancellation. Instead I got an error message that I had exceed the '255 character" maximum field allotment for my reason for canceling.

Yeah, guess they really do want to hear from their customers on how they can improve.

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