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Netflix Understands, Blockbuster Does Not


The other day, Netflix went down for 12 hours and shipped no DVD’s on Monday – it did occur to me that I had some movies due to be sent out and they didn’t seem to send me an email notification it was coming but it was not a tragedy and since I didn’t even log on Monday, I didn’t really even notice … so the 5% credit without me having to complain or file a claim or anything is nice … excellent customer service. For those who are thinking about signing up, Netflix is one smooth operation and even with this glitch, unless you were standing by your mailbox, it was really hard to notice. They ship movies fast and the website is great. Of course, having seen about 10,000 movies already, I’m mostly watching Italian horror films so my situation is probably different than if you’re standing at your mailbox waiting for “Norbit.”


Blockbuster on the other hand is more of a block head. Movies in your QUEUE are selected by you and you determine the order (same as with Netflix, of course). Since I’m mostly watching obscure films, unlike Netflix, Blockbuster has a lot of films listed as LONG WAIT, SHORT WAIT, COMING SOON, or LONG, LONG WAIT. In theory, they have an explanation for them but I discovered that their explanation is just made up gibberish. In theory, “short wait” films means they only have a few copies of that DVD and it might take a few days to get from their Florida warehouse or something to that effect … but in reality, they just seem to making it up as they go along. The normal listing for a film is AVAILABLE and in theory, they should ship according to your Queue. If you want to watch PART II before PART I, that’s your choice.

I had a film listed as AVAILABLE but they kept shipping the films after that listing. I emailed them and pointed out it did not say LONG WAIT or SHORT WAIT – that would still be annoying but understandable – that they wanted you to have a film ASAP so they skipped the short/long wait one but since it said AVAILABLE, it made no sense. Their first email – as polite as a computer can write is that “they wanted me to have a/any DVD asap so they skipped ahead,” I pointed out that I had it listed as #1 in my queue, it’s AVAILABLE, I want it first (um, d’uh, right?) … they responded by asking for the title and pointing out AGAIN that they were trying to provide “better” service by sending me another DVD so I didn’t have to wait. I pointed out to them that instead of waiting a day extra for that DVD, I had now waited nearly two weeks … and as far as I can tell, it might be 6 months before I see the DVD … their response?


An in-store coupon which is pointless. If I wanted to rent movies by trooping to a store and being limited to 500 copies of “Norbit,” I wouldn’t have signed up for the mail order version that actually carries obscure and interesting titles. It is the equivilient of sorry to have your truck catch fire, here’s a coupon on your next purchase of our truck …

So, I had to do the only logical thing.

I deleted every DVD listed as AVAILABLE leaving only those that was listed as SHORT WAIT, LONG WAIT, LONG, LONG WAIT and COMING SOON … except for one, the film #1 in my queue.

Guess what?

I got that DVD in two days.


I added some other DVD listed as AVAILABLE to the end of my queue so you would think Blockbuster would now skip over my 35 LONG WAIT, SHORT WAIT and COMING SOON DVD’s to just ship me the AVAILABLE ones?


And what’s weird now is that DVD’s that have been in my queue for MONTHS as LONG WAIT now pretty show up in a day or two as normal AND Blockbuster randomly ships movies in my queue … some at #1, some at #17 and some at #80. Some are LONG WAIT, some are SHORT WAIT and some are AVAILABLE.

What’s the point of having something “my queue” when it’s not really in my “control?”

Don’t know.

So, if you’re a Blockbuster user and wondering when you might get those obscure titles that NEVER change from LONG WAIT even as they move up your queue … looks like it’s time to delete any AVAILABLE DVD’s and hope for the best. Good luck.

Netflix just follows your queue, they also have SHORT WAIT and LONG WAIT dsignations but it seems they have more inventory so that designation seems to change to change to “NOW” much quicker.

While Blockbuster’s website has gotten a skosh faster, the rest of our initial review stands.

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28 March 2008 Advertising, Film, Internet, Marketing, Media, Retail, TV 2 Comments

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