October 16, 2008

Blockbuster Ballbusting

I am one of the last people in the country who physically goes to Blockbuster to rent a movie, instead of using Netflix or whatever. I'm beginning to see the appeal of Netflix - if only because you have don't have to deal with people.

I went to Blockbuster the other day and strolled up to the checkout counter where this older, gray-haired lady is ringing people out. She is apparently the manager or something, because she's WAY TOO into it. She's like the Blockbuster equivalent of the Starbucks' barista... very excited to be there and very excited to tell you about their new orange mango hazelnut frappuccino, or, in this case, the Blockbuster Rewards Card.

As she's ringing me out, she asks, "Do you have a Blockbuster Rewards Card?" Fuck. As soon as I hear this at any store, my shoulders slump and I close my eyes, because I just know where it is headed. With a defeated and annoyed sigh, I respond, "No." Without knowing anything about the rewards card, I know I don't want it. Actually, what I WANT is to not be hassled with this shit.

She proceeds to rapid-fire tell me something like, "It's our new program that lets you earn a free rental with every four Blockbuster rentals you make, plus you earn points toward [whatever-the-fuck-it-is]." I half-listen to the spiel and then politely say, "No thanks." You know what happens next, right? She says, "Are you sure? It's free to sign up." I try to push my money into her hand while saying, "No, that's OK." Plus, there are other people waiting in line behind me - they don't want to be dealing with this delay either.

You think this would be the end of it, right? But she doesn't quit. She notices that I'm renting Season One of The Office and says, "Are you sure?? You can get substantial savings if you are going to rent lots of these videos." For God's sake! I respond, "No, no. It's fine. That's OK." What I really want to say is, "Listen, lady, I make enough money that I don't give a damn about saving $3.99 every six months or whatever. I don't want to fill out any fucking forms. You know what I want? I want a rapid checkout. Just let me rent the video and move on with my life. How much do I have to pay for that? What rewards program can I sign up to get that? Don't fucking talk to me, just tell me what I owe."

I know that Blockbuster has probably run all the statistical models that show that people who have the rewards card probably rent more often from them or whatever. But I have to endure this third-degree from this particular lady every time I go there. It's gotten to the point that when I see the lady at the counter, I will purposely wait for the next checkout person. Anymore of this, and I will switch to Netflixs. Maybe Blockbuster should factor that into their model.


  1. That's why Netflix is the best! Who wants to deal with all that?

  2. You should also mention how this happens at every clothing store (Express, Banana Republic). They always want you to sign up for their credit card.