I can’t believe that we actually switched to Blockbuster. Netflix, I’m very, very sorry. Please allow me to tell my story.
I became a Netflix customer sometime in 1999 (maybe even earlier…). We were living in Palo Alto at the time, and a friend of mine from Adobe told me about the service. We signed up when Netflix only had one warehouse, and we enjoyed the new convenience of DVD’s through the mail.
Fast forward to 2001. We moved to Chapel Hill, NC (where I went to business school). We still had Netflix, but they didn’t have any warehouses close by so the shipping took almost a week each time. I called Netflix, and they told me that they were working on expanding. We decided to cancel Netflix for the time being.
A few years later (now living in Waltham, MA) we heard that Netflix had opened up a new warehouse in MA. So we signed up again. I called Netflix, and they offered me the plan I used to have back in the day (4 movies for $18). It felt good to be grandfathered into the old plan. Five years later we were still Netflix customers. Until this past weekend.
I had heard about the Blockbuster program, and then I read about it again on TechCrunch. I was intrigued– you mean I could return movies to the store and get instant gratification? Interesting…. but I didn’t think about it again much until I happened to be near a Blockbuster store last week.
Here’s the deal: Blockbuster has created a truly unique service, and I’m excited to give it a shot. Blockbuster gives me the choice of how to return movies. I can simply put them in the mail, or I can drop them off at the store. If I drop them at the store, I get a rental on the spot AND they send me the next movie on our queue. It’s not that we watch a lot of movies: but with Netflix all too often we had things at home that didn’t suit our mood. Now we can get what we want, when we want it. It’s the perfect meld of the online and offline world.
Netflix is no longer the “underdog.” With sales over $1B (yes, billion) and rumors of an acquisition by Amazon, I don’t feel any loyalty to the company anymore. I want the best product and most flexible program. Without brick & mortar store, Netflix simply cannot compete.
Goodbye Netflix. Maybe we’ll see each other again someday. Frankly, I’m surprised you didn’t work harder to keep me as a customer. You must have known I would consider Blockbuster, didn’t you?