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An Ode to Blockbuster and Other [Video Rental Stores]

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Posts

  • DiannaoChongDiannaoChong Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    My friend was... less scrupilous about his PS2 and hard drive. He would go to hollywood video, rent out the maximum amount of PS2 games he wanted, and then come back like 3 hours later for more. Eventually they stopped charging him because he only kept the games for like 2 hours at a time.

    I think the absolute best thing is when you see a blockbuster closed, and in front was one of the blockbuster redbox like kiosks.

    Edit: someone mentioned this in the film thread, but an important thing I have learned in the last 4 years of video rental exploding, is public libraries(at least in my area) have a ton of current DVDs/BluRays to rent for free. 20 years ago all I remember them having were educational material, but now they stock everything.

    DiannaoChong on
    steam_sig.png
  • XobyteXobyte Registered User regular
    It still blows my mind a little that video rental is an entire industry that was born, grew and died within my lifetime.

    At one point, I got something crazy like $50 in late fees at the local Hollywood. The movies got forgotten in the car or something; I don't remember exactly at this point. But I know I took a vow to never return, because fuck paying $50 in late fees. I like to think that little personal vow helped kill off the store. It's still sitting empty to this day, years later, with the late-night drop box out in the parking lot and paint on the windows advertising crazy cheap rentals. Even the Blockbuster got turned into an O'Reilly Auto Parts about a year ago, but the Hollywood remains shuttered.

  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    Xobyte wrote: »
    It still blows my mind a little that video rental is an entire industry that was born, grew and died within my lifetime.

    At one point, I got something crazy like $50 in late fees at the local Hollywood. The movies got forgotten in the car or something; I don't remember exactly at this point. But I know I took a vow to never return, because fuck paying $50 in late fees. I like to think that little personal vow helped kill off the store. It's still sitting empty to this day, years later, with the late-night drop box out in the parking lot and paint on the windows advertising crazy cheap rentals. Even the Blockbuster got turned into an O'Reilly Auto Parts about a year ago, but the Hollywood remains shuttered.

    It's kind of funny how to some extent, our nostalgia for the video rental industry is rooted in the same space as the Donners all thinking back fondly to that cousin they cannibalised one winter evening in a snowy sierra pass.

    Oh Larry. That guy was such a cheapskate, remember? Delicious, though.

    r4dr3z
  • AtomikaAtomika not a robot. does not eat bugs!Registered User regular
    Blockbuster has become my go-to place for getting my reserve of hard copies in line. I was there just today and picked up The Avengers blu-ray for $12.

    When a store closes, it's the best/worst thing, because then the dump is on. I used to have 4 stores within 5 miles of my house, but now I have just one. But when those other three were going out of business? Holy crap, man. Blu-rays as low as $1.00, games as low as $10, and all kinds of collectibles for practically peanuts.


    However, despite all this, I blame Blockbuster itself and it's terrible, antiquated understanding of the market for its failure. The last CEO Blockbuster had before being bought out by DISH TV I can remember reading an interview with him upon his arrival as the chief, in which he basically called the internet, Netflix, and on-demand viewing through web-based consoles a fad.

    So fuck that dinosaur.

  • NocrenNocren Lt Futz, Back in Action North CarolinaRegistered User regular
    I actually had to do a report on "businesses that successfully transitioned from brick and mortar to online" and Blockbuster was one of the suggestions (as was Circuit City). I told my professor that he REALLY needed to update the syllabus.

    During my research though, I did learn that those Blockbuster Kiosks were a separate company that basically licensed the Blockbuster name.
    Here's the irony: They're now owned and operated by Redbox.

    And I worked at one that was scuttled in the last wave of closures a couple of years back. Got did we get away with so much shit... Manager padding the shrink (loss) report so he wouldn't get fired, assistant managers that were 5-6 years younger then me (this was my second job out of the service), I'd bring in my 360 to play Rock Band on the demo TV with the rest of the closing crew (about 2 hours before close actually, and I'd let customers demo the game since it was new), opening manager on sunday would disappear for a couple of hours and then I would do the same...

    Good times.

    newSig.jpg
  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    My friends and I in high school always used to go to the blockbuster near my friends house. This was when we were 16-17 and for some reason this guys parents had bought this second house really near the school so my friend could walk to school. So he lived there mostly by himself during the week, with his parents only coming there 2-3 nights a week and him going home on weekends.

    So we would go to blockbuster (which was about 100 yards away) and rent so many crappy action movies and buy candy and crap like that and watch it all back at his house. Like 6 of us so the movies were practically free. We saw so many awesomely bad movies. Like this movie where a supersoldier program was scrapped and all the old supersoldiers were dumped on a garbage planet, one survived and eventually had to kill all the next generation supersoldiers who came to get him. Good times.

    Yes, and we were uncool enough that the most exciting thing we could think of to do with a house in the middle of town with no parental supervision was watch movies and eat popcorn. We also used to play a shedload of soul caliber (also rented from blockbuster). That's probably the only reason his parents let him stay there by himself!

    "That is cool" - Abraham Lincoln
  • y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    tbloxham wrote: »
    My friends and I in high school always used to go to the blockbuster near my friends house. This was when we were 16-17 and for some reason this guys parents had bought this second house really near the school so my friend could walk to school. So he lived there mostly by himself during the week, with his parents only coming there 2-3 nights a week and him going home on weekends.

    So we would go to blockbuster (which was about 100 yards away) and rent so many crappy action movies and buy candy and crap like that and watch it all back at his house. Like 6 of us so the movies were practically free. We saw so many awesomely bad movies. Like this movie where a supersoldier program was scrapped and all the old supersoldiers were dumped on a garbage planet, one survived and eventually had to kill all the next generation supersoldiers who came to get him. Good times.

    Yes, and we were uncool enough that the most exciting thing we could think of to do with a house in the middle of town with no parental supervision was watch movies and eat popcorn. We also used to play a shedload of soul caliber (also rented from blockbuster). That's probably the only reason his parents let him stay there by himself!

    I saw the beginning of that movie on TV like three years ago. WHAT WAS IT

    I think it had Kurt Russell? Or someone LIKE Kurt Russell?

    C8Ft8GE.jpg
    maybe i'm streaming terrible dj right now if i am its here
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    mcdermott wrote: »
    So who else besides me worked at one of these hell-pits and is surprised that they all shut down before ex-employees burned them down first?

    Worked at Hollywood Video, Blockbuster and fucking Movie Gallery.


    Hollywood video was as a teenager, and it was amazing. Free movies! Free videogames! Laid-back atmosphere! And honestly, I had a buddy who worked at Blockbuster and man was Hollywood a better store to work for. Like, our goal was to make customers fucking happy. What's that, seven bucks in late fees for Titanic? Man, we had dozens of copies of that on the shelf, let me take those off. No biggie, just try to get it back on time next time. Obviously I realize now this was probably a store manager thing, but ours was a big believer in it. It's what made us "different" than Blockbuster. That, and the (at the time) godawful uniforms. Really? A fucking bow tie and tux shirt?

    Speaking of Blockbuster, at Hollywood as a freaking CSR (register biscuit) I could take off up to ten bucks in late fees without even asking a manager. At Blockbuster, as an assistant store manager, if i took off more than like twenty bucks in a night I'd better be prepared to explain it to my district manager. It was SRS BSNS. Late fees were revenues, period. Didn't matter if we had eight copies on the shelf, and that movie wouldn't have gone out anyway, that was money left on the table far as the company was concerned. Shake that fucker down for $3.50.

    And then there was Movie Gallery. Worked there briefly, while a local chain got transitioned after a buyout. From what I saw of that operation, it was dicked up from top to bottom. I don't have much more to say than that. It was like the ugly drug-addicted stepcousin of the video stores.

    @mcdermott

    This doesn't surprise me at all. When Hollywood and Blockbuster were both still around, renting from Hollywood was always a far superior experience in every conceivable way. Hollywoods always had better selections, nicer and more knowledgeable staff, and better customer service.

    It made me sad when Hollywood went away.

    Blockbuster, though? I give zero shits.

    There are still a few locally-owned video rental places in my area, and they're actually thriving. Mostly by stocking niche and rare titles and keeping movie nerds around as employees. The lost of Hollywood and Blockbuster has actually made life easier for those businesses.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    I still remember our first VCR. It cost $Texas and was about as big as Texas and it was so fucking cool that I could record Knight Rider episodes and watch them when the fuck ever. Then we got a second VCR and hooked it up to the first VCR and rented movies just so we could pirate them, which I was too young to realize was maybe just a wee bit shady. Other people have fond memories of popping in the Herbie the Love Bug tape and watching it; I have fond memories of watching a goddamn Herbie triple feature all on one tape.

    Then I remember the day when I learned the copying tapes was kind of illegal and I thought of my parents' giant cabinet full of video tapes and I was all D:

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I think everybody can agree that LaserDisc was the most ridiculous of the formats.

    I have to say, a Laserdisc in person is quite the thing to behold, and I have to give a world of credit to anyone that can manage to keep one in shape. Scratches over that surface must be a nightmare.

    I also liked the Laserdisc cover for Ghostbusters.

    EDIT: For anyone who doesn't know, a Laserdisc actually stores data on both of it's sides - there isn't a 'cover' side like on a modern optical disk. Most films would be split 50/50 between the two sides, so halfway through the movie you'd have to flip over the disk (unless you had a more expensive player that could read from either side; then you'd just tell the machine to play side 2 or whatever).

    Standard-def DVDs look like ass when blown up to large proportions. All sorts of MPEG artifacts.

    Laserdiscs never had this problem, so laserdiscs had a niche market for movie buffs and college professors who wanted to project movies on large screens.

    Blu-ray has finally superceded that, though.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I still remember our first VCR. It cost $Texas and was about as big as Texas and it was so fucking cool that I could record Knight Rider episodes and watch them when the fuck ever. Then we got a second VCR and hooked it up to the first VCR and rented movies just so we could pirate them, which I was too young to realize was maybe just a wee bit shady. Other people have fond memories of popping in the Herbie the Love Bug tape and watching it; I have fond memories of watching a goddamn Herbie triple feature all on one tape.

    Then I remember the day when I learned the copying tapes was kind of illegal and I thought of my parents' giant cabinet full of video tapes and I was all D:

    My parents taped movies like crazy from HBO and Cinemax. We had a giant cabinet of video tapes just like yours.

    I was never D: about it, though.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • NocrenNocren Lt Futz, Back in Action North CarolinaRegistered User regular
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    My friends and I in high school always used to go to the blockbuster near my friends house. This was when we were 16-17 and for some reason this guys parents had bought this second house really near the school so my friend could walk to school. So he lived there mostly by himself during the week, with his parents only coming there 2-3 nights a week and him going home on weekends.

    So we would go to blockbuster (which was about 100 yards away) and rent so many crappy action movies and buy candy and crap like that and watch it all back at his house. Like 6 of us so the movies were practically free. We saw so many awesomely bad movies. Like this movie where a supersoldier program was scrapped and all the old supersoldiers were dumped on a garbage planet, one survived and eventually had to kill all the next generation supersoldiers who came to get him. Good times.

    Yes, and we were uncool enough that the most exciting thing we could think of to do with a house in the middle of town with no parental supervision was watch movies and eat popcorn. We also used to play a shedload of soul caliber (also rented from blockbuster). That's probably the only reason his parents let him stay there by himself!

    I saw the beginning of that movie on TV like three years ago. WHAT WAS IT

    I think it had Kurt Russell? Or someone LIKE Kurt Russell?

    Soldier
    Not a bad film either.

    newSig.jpg
    y2jake215
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Oh gods, the first time I tried to play a non-anamorphic DVD on a wide-screen television was like the first time you see a dead cat on the side of the road. Except instead of seeing the little bits that make up a cat, you get to see the little pixels that make up a movie.

    I think it was Mission: Impossible. It was so atrocious watching it zoomed in that I left it in a tiny letterboxed window in the middle of the screen. I haven't watched a non-anamorphic DVD since then.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
    Feralmcdermottshryke
  • RiusRius Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    My friends and I in high school always used to go to the blockbuster near my friends house. This was when we were 16-17 and for some reason this guys parents had bought this second house really near the school so my friend could walk to school. So he lived there mostly by himself during the week, with his parents only coming there 2-3 nights a week and him going home on weekends.

    So we would go to blockbuster (which was about 100 yards away) and rent so many crappy action movies and buy candy and crap like that and watch it all back at his house. Like 6 of us so the movies were practically free. We saw so many awesomely bad movies. Like this movie where a supersoldier program was scrapped and all the old supersoldiers were dumped on a garbage planet, one survived and eventually had to kill all the next generation supersoldiers who came to get him. Good times.

    Yes, and we were uncool enough that the most exciting thing we could think of to do with a house in the middle of town with no parental supervision was watch movies and eat popcorn. We also used to play a shedload of soul caliber (also rented from blockbuster). That's probably the only reason his parents let him stay there by himself!

    I saw the beginning of that movie on TV like three years ago. WHAT WAS IT

    I think it had Kurt Russell? Or someone LIKE Kurt Russell?

    It absolutely was Kurt Russell, and that movie was called Soldier.

    Edit: Damn you, Nocren!

    Rius on
    y2jake215
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    My friends and I in high school always used to go to the blockbuster near my friends house. This was when we were 16-17 and for some reason this guys parents had bought this second house really near the school so my friend could walk to school. So he lived there mostly by himself during the week, with his parents only coming there 2-3 nights a week and him going home on weekends.

    So we would go to blockbuster (which was about 100 yards away) and rent so many crappy action movies and buy candy and crap like that and watch it all back at his house. Like 6 of us so the movies were practically free. We saw so many awesomely bad movies. Like this movie where a supersoldier program was scrapped and all the old supersoldiers were dumped on a garbage planet, one survived and eventually had to kill all the next generation supersoldiers who came to get him. Good times.

    Yes, and we were uncool enough that the most exciting thing we could think of to do with a house in the middle of town with no parental supervision was watch movies and eat popcorn. We also used to play a shedload of soul caliber (also rented from blockbuster). That's probably the only reason his parents let him stay there by himself!

    I saw the beginning of that movie on TV like three years ago. WHAT WAS IT

    I think it had Kurt Russell? Or someone LIKE Kurt Russell?

    It was just called "Soldier."

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120157/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

    Edit: double beated

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    y2jake215
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Oh gods, the first time I tried to play a non-anamorphic DVD on a wide-screen television was like the first time you see a dead cat on the side of the road. Except instead of seeing the little bits that make up a cat, you get to see the little pixels that make up a movie.

    I think it was Mission: Impossible. It was so atrocious watching it zoomed in that I left it in a tiny letterboxed window in the middle of the screen. I haven't watched a non-anamorphic DVD since then.

    yeah, imagine projecting that onto a 14" screen

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    My friends and I in high school always used to go to the blockbuster near my friends house. This was when we were 16-17 and for some reason this guys parents had bought this second house really near the school so my friend could walk to school. So he lived there mostly by himself during the week, with his parents only coming there 2-3 nights a week and him going home on weekends.

    So we would go to blockbuster (which was about 100 yards away) and rent so many crappy action movies and buy candy and crap like that and watch it all back at his house. Like 6 of us so the movies were practically free. We saw so many awesomely bad movies. Like this movie where a supersoldier program was scrapped and all the old supersoldiers were dumped on a garbage planet, one survived and eventually had to kill all the next generation supersoldiers who came to get him. Good times.

    Yes, and we were uncool enough that the most exciting thing we could think of to do with a house in the middle of town with no parental supervision was watch movies and eat popcorn. We also used to play a shedload of soul caliber (also rented from blockbuster). That's probably the only reason his parents let him stay there by himself!

    I saw the beginning of that movie on TV like three years ago. WHAT WAS IT

    I think it had Kurt Russell? Or someone LIKE Kurt Russell?

    It was Kurt Russell, and IIRC was simply called Soldier

    "Awesomely bad" accurately describes it.

    y2jake215
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    V1m wrote: »
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    My friends and I in high school always used to go to the blockbuster near my friends house. This was when we were 16-17 and for some reason this guys parents had bought this second house really near the school so my friend could walk to school. So he lived there mostly by himself during the week, with his parents only coming there 2-3 nights a week and him going home on weekends.

    So we would go to blockbuster (which was about 100 yards away) and rent so many crappy action movies and buy candy and crap like that and watch it all back at his house. Like 6 of us so the movies were practically free. We saw so many awesomely bad movies. Like this movie where a supersoldier program was scrapped and all the old supersoldiers were dumped on a garbage planet, one survived and eventually had to kill all the next generation supersoldiers who came to get him. Good times.

    Yes, and we were uncool enough that the most exciting thing we could think of to do with a house in the middle of town with no parental supervision was watch movies and eat popcorn. We also used to play a shedload of soul caliber (also rented from blockbuster). That's probably the only reason his parents let him stay there by himself!

    I saw the beginning of that movie on TV like three years ago. WHAT WAS IT

    I think it had Kurt Russell? Or someone LIKE Kurt Russell?

    It was Kurt Russell, and IIRC was simply called Soldier

    "Awesomely bad" accurately describes it.

    also set in the blade runner universe for no reason

  • Mego ThorMego Thor "I say thee...NAY!" Registered User regular
    I remember, as a kid, I was sooo mad that Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings was on VHS, and we only had LaserDisc.

    Fuck you, VHS! I've got The Hobbit!

    kyrcl.png
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    BTW, Blockbuster implementing their 'no late fees' policy was when I stopped renting there.

    Here's basically what I happened:

    I rented Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for X360.

    I returned SWTFU two days late.

    Blockbuster did not properly scan or credit the return or whatever. They convert it to a sale and my credit card gets charged $40.

    I call Blockbuster to complain. They say there's nothing they can do, I have to talk to the manager who is only in 9-5 on weekdays. So I call back during those hours, and he's not there. They won't take a message. I try again every few days for a couple of weeks and finally get hold of him. The manager says that he can't reverse the sale over the phone, he has to give me the copy and then process it as a return., which means he needs my physical credit card to scan.

    Okay, fine, so I stop by the Blockbuster on my way home. They can't find my copy of SWTFU. They have other copies for rent, but they can't give me one of those, they have to give me the specific copy that was converted to a sale.

    It's pretty clear at this point that they just lost the copy or it was stolen by an employee or something. But they can't reverse the charge. I have to come in - during business hours, while I'm working, to deal with it.

    Naturally, I don't have time to fuck around during business hours for a game that was overpriced at $40 to begin with. So I just forget about it.

    I go back six months later to rent a movie and they can't rent to me because I have an "uncompleted transaction" or some bullshit like that on my account. They can't rent to me until they actually give me SWTFU. They can't find SWTFU. They no longer stock SWTFU. They can't reverse the transaction. They literally have no way to restore my account. Their suggestion was to have my girlfriend sign up for a Blockbuster card and rent the movie on her account instead. We told them in a genteel fashion to go fuck themselves.

    Edit: sorry for the mixed past and present tense.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    The EnderElJeffemcdermottmageormike
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    However, despite all this, I blame Blockbuster itself and it's terrible, antiquated understanding of the market for its failure. The last CEO Blockbuster had before being bought out by DISH TV I can remember reading an interview with him upon his arrival as the chief, in which he basically called the internet, Netflix, and on-demand viewing through web-based consoles a fad.

    So fuck that dinosaur.

    I do wonder about what the big rental chains could've done, if anything, to stay afloat. I mean, their whole model rested on brick & mortar stores at key locations; switching to some kind of digital distribution model wouldn't have been easy.

    With Love and Courage
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    When Netflix was still a mewling pup they could have realized holy shit we need to get on this bandwagon instead of sticking their fingers in their ears

    by the time blockbuster's half hearted netflix knockoff service started it was too late

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    However, despite all this, I blame Blockbuster itself and it's terrible, antiquated understanding of the market for its failure. The last CEO Blockbuster had before being bought out by DISH TV I can remember reading an interview with him upon his arrival as the chief, in which he basically called the internet, Netflix, and on-demand viewing through web-based consoles a fad.

    So fuck that dinosaur.

    I do wonder about what the big rental chains could've done, if anything, to stay afloat. I mean, their whole model rested on brick & mortar stores at key locations; switching to some kind of digital distribution model wouldn't have been easy.
    I don't think there's anything they could have done. By the time they realized they were in trouble, Netflix had already torn a huge chunk out of their business.

    Had they been more aware, they would have bought Netflix early on and either buried it before it got too big or integrated Netflix in their own business model. They tried, near the end, with their blockbuster at home thing, but by then they were already so far behind...

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    BTW, Blockbuster implementing their 'no late fees' policy was when I stopped renting there.

    Here's basically what I happened:

    I rented Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for X360.

    I returned SWTFU two days late.

    Blockbuster did not properly scan or credit the return or whatever. They convert it to a sale and my credit card gets charged $40.

    I call Blockbuster to complain. They say there's nothing they can do, I have to talk to the manager who is only in 9-5 on weekdays. So I call back during those hours, and he's not there. They won't take a message. I try again every few days for a couple of weeks and finally get hold of him. The manager says that he can't reverse the sale over the phone, he has to give me the copy and then process it as a return., which means he needs my physical credit card to scan.

    Okay, fine, so I stop by the Blockbuster on my way home. They can't find my copy of SWTFU. They have other copies for rent, but they can't give me one of those, they have to give me the specific copy that was converted to a sale.

    It's pretty clear at this point that they just lost the copy or it was stolen by an employee or something. But they can't reverse the charge. I have to come in - during business hours, while I'm working, to deal with it.

    Naturally, I don't have time to fuck around during business hours for a game that was overpriced at $40 to begin with. So I just forget about it.

    I go back six months later to rent a movie and they can't rent to me because I have an "uncompleted transaction" or some bullshit like that on my account. They can't rent to me until they actually give me SWTFU. They can't find SWTFU. They no longer stock SWTFU. They can't reverse the transaction. They literally have no way to restore my account. Their suggestion was to have my girlfriend sign up for a Blockbuster card and rent the movie on her account instead. We told them in a genteel fashion to go fuck themselves.

    Edit: sorry for the mixed past and present tense.

    Jesus that's bad.

    As a manager, I'd often spend significant amounts of time fixing issues like that, but my goal was always always always to get to an end result the customer could at least accept. I had to sit on the phone with computer support once to figure out how to unfuck an account, even. But obviously that whole situation is just ridiculous.

    And seriously, there's very fucking little a manager can't fix if he's willing to put in the effort or take the hit from higher. Like, I can print up a barcode and loss the fucking game (now, or when it doesnt get scanned come next inventory) if I need to. It'll go against my store's stats, but so will losing a customer. Meh.

    It's weird though, because video stores did occupy an odd middle ground between normal retail and the kind of job where you're dealing with individually with customers regarding their accounts. So when an account goes sideways you run into both stupid retail-centric policies and unimaginative retail employees, but complex account related issues that need to be fixed.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Is this where I say I'm still pissed you assholes south of the border killed Blockbluster?

    Motherfuckers, not everyone has decent streaming services!

    Edith Upwards
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    When Netflix was still a mewling pup they could have realized holy shit we need to get on this bandwagon instead of sticking their fingers in their ears

    by the time blockbuster's half hearted netflix knockoff service started it was too late

    And it's sad, because the brick and mortar presence for instant gratification could have made their service amazing. Better than redbox, and with a better selection than Netflix instant, but allow then to downsize inventory to let mailed DVDs fill in the gap.

    But by the time they tried to compete with Netflix yeah it was far too late.

    And honestly, even then it might not have saved their brick and mortar presence. Which I speak about in the past tense, even though it still exists. But I believe every store in Montana closed, and both stores near me here in Washington closed.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    I don't think there's anything they could have done. By the time they realized they were in trouble, Netflix had already torn a huge chunk out of their business.

    Had they been more aware, they would have bought Netflix early on and either buried it before it got too big or integrated Netflix in their own business model. They tried, near the end, with their blockbuster at home thing, but by then they were already so far behind...

    If I were Blockbuster or Movie Gallery's CEO, I'd have tried to blaze some new trail, I think, instead of just trying to directly compete with Netflix / YouTube. The moment you see those things crop up, you have to know that the ship's leaving port.

    Like, I'd have tried throwing a fucking pizza oven & kitchen into my stores. Dinner & a dozen movies for twenty bucks, why the Hell not?

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
  • caligynefobcaligynefob DKRegistered User regular
    For some reason Blockbuster persists in Denmark, latest invention is free movie rentals for a flat fee, so essentially you get the same service as with Netflix, but with the added benefit of transport to and from the store (sigh).

    I wish they would have new games as rentals, because fuck purchasing a 50$ game for one night of coop multiplayer.

    And yeah, they absolutely should have launched their own streaming service in reaction to Netflix.

    PS4 - Mrfuzzyhat
  • DiannaoChongDiannaoChong Registered User regular
    The first thing they should of done to compete with netflix mail should of been unlimited rentals, x at a time for Y a month. the upside and competition comes in when you can get new discs the same day you turn your old ones in. they could of implemented a queue system and had your discs ready at the counter when you brought your old ones back to save time at the shelf, etc.

    steam_sig.png
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    The first thing they should of done to compete with netflix mail should of been unlimited rentals, x at a time for Y a month. the upside and competition comes in when you can get new discs the same day you turn your old ones in. they could of implemented a queue system and had your discs ready at the counter when you brought your old ones back to save time at the shelf, etc.

    Harder than it sounds. You offer a subscription, and your first takers will be your top customers. Who, per customer, generate the most revenue. Meaning you either have to change a much higher rate than Netflix, or you have to take significantly reduced revenues.

    Its easier for Netflix, too, because they can (for instance) serve all of Montana from a single warehouse on the ass end of Butte...instead of needing prime real estate in like ten cities across the state.

    Postage is an issue, but they've worked with the USPS to get good rates and service.

    Oh, and in the early days (and probably still) they'd just throttle the fuck out of you if you cycled your discs too many times. Basically if you averaged more than one cycle per disc per week for a couple weeks, suddenly everything but that one nature documentary at the bottom of your queue was mysteriously on a "long wait."

    Whereas when you have a guy in your store its hard to look him in the eye and tell him that no, he can't have the last copy of that popular movie because he's been "abusing" his "unlimited" plan.

  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    The first thing they should of done to compete with netflix mail should of been unlimited rentals, x at a time for Y a month. the upside and competition comes in when you can get new discs the same day you turn your old ones in. they could of implemented a queue system and had your discs ready at the counter when you brought your old ones back to save time at the shelf, etc.

    Blockbuster implemented that... eventually... but because Blockbuster locations are franchised, not all franchise owners were on board with the idea.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    People think Netflix killed Blockbuster. It hurt them, but in a world with just Netflix Blockbuster would still be around.

    Red Box, however, killed the fuck out of Blockbuster. Almost no overhead, only carrying a mixture of the latest releases and whatever else they could have for cheap.

    I remember when I saw my first Red Box years ago and thought it was a scam like other weird vending machines. They eventually got in the right places though and boy howdy did they ever do their job.

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
    Nocren
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Because, you know, he can see the fucking movie. It's right there. Whereas maybe all the movies in my queue really are checked out. (They're not.)

  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    People think Netflix killed Blockbuster. It hurt them, but in a world with just Netflix Blockbuster would still be around.

    Red Box, however, killed the fuck out of Blockbuster. Almost no overhead, only carrying a mixture of the latest releases and whatever else they could have for cheap.

    I remember when I saw my first Red Box years ago and thought it was a scam like other weird vending machines. They eventually got in the right places though and boy howdy did they ever do their job.

    I hate Red Box for one huge reason: I don't want to wait for somebody else to finish dicking around on the touchscreen for me to return a movie.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    DoctorArchBolthorn
  • Mego ThorMego Thor "I say thee...NAY!" Registered User regular
    That's more or less what their DVD by mail program was, along with getting a free game rental once a month. If you lived close to a Blockbuster, it was pretty great.

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  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    Blockbuster's version of Netflix was awesome because not only did they give me two months free but the distribution center was about 40 minutes away from my house so I got the games and movies the next day.

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    People think Netflix killed Blockbuster. It hurt them, but in a world with just Netflix Blockbuster would still be around.

    Red Box, however, killed the fuck out of Blockbuster. Almost no overhead, only carrying a mixture of the latest releases and whatever else they could have for cheap.

    I remember when I saw my first Red Box years ago and thought it was a scam like other weird vending machines. They eventually got in the right places though and boy howdy did they ever do their job.

    I hate Red Box for one huge reason: I don't want to wait for somebody else to finish dicking around on the touchscreen for me to return a movie.

    Jesus yes. I remember the first time I grabbed a movie from redbox. Reserved it even! Just had to, you know, pick it up.

    Standing in a line three deep of jackholes just browsing for like five minutes apiece. Yeah, there's a flaw here.

    Described it to my ex, who was at home waiting til I got back. We had both worked in video stores. The way I described it? "Imagine the worst, slowest, most confused customer ever. Who has no idea what they want. Who doesn't understand how you exchange goods for services. Who holds the line up endlessly....now imagine you had to stand behind them the whole time they walked the wall, too..."

    Her face was priceless. I may as well have been describing kitten murder.

    FeralshrykeDoctorArchzagdrobEdith Upwards
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    if they had gotten no the bandwagon earlier blockbuster could have crushed Netflix like a bug. BB had studio relationships going back years. they got movies easier and sometimes earlier than anyone else. If they had been smart they'd have gone to streaming services and murdered Netflix who struggled to get content for ages.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    if they had gotten no the bandwagon earlier blockbuster could have crushed Netflix like a bug. BB had studio relationships going back years. they got movies easier and sometimes earlier than anyone else. If they had been smart they'd have gone to streaming services and murdered Netflix who struggled to get content for ages.

    DVD made this hard, because consumers had gotten used to day and date releases, and reasonable prices...so blockbuster had little way to keep the movies off Netflix, due to the first sale doctrine. Netflix could simply get copies through normal retail channels as a last resort.

    Unlike VHS, where movies were available for rental before retail sale. Remember that? Like, you god forbid you lost a copy, because those things ran like a hundred a pop.

    And Blockbuster did indeed play fuck fuck games with studio ties, which is why at Hollywood you'd only see like two copies of movies from (IIRC) Paramount...because they charged a fuckton for them while Blockbuster was (IIRC) a subsidiary at the time. Or something.

    But yeah, DVD changed everything.

  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    Red Box is a great idea because it taps into the potential for an impulse rental the way Netflix's mail delivery service can't, and it's also effective for retailers who host one of the kiosks on site in that it encourages frequent repeat businesses to their locations. I don't use Red Box all that often, but the fact that it gets me to return to my local grocer 24 hours after I've already done my weekly shopping has generated more revenues for Safeway than they have any right to. I have't personally experienced any issues with returns; not a whole lot of people in my neighborhood use it. I think the touch screen frightens off the elderly who are already ashamed of how long it took them to figure out the core concepts behind self-checkout lanes.

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