There is a tradition in my life that was, I hoped, never-ending. I work my long hours, put my time in and punch the clock, I go home at the end of the week and one of my first stops was Blockbuster Video. My fiance and I took careful time to walk the new releases viewing DVD cover after DVD cover trying to find a movie that looked interesting enough to drop $3 or $4 for the weekend. We’d often leave with 2 or 3 movies. More often than not our selections paid off and we had some great flicks for the weekend. That’s all changed within the last year. Blockbuster has made some agreements behind the curtains that’s made me waste more money than I can count, and they’ve officially lost me as a customer
The worst visit was roughly 8 months ago, and was gearing up to be an ugly situation. We made our usual trip and walked the store. We noticed a lot of new releases we hadn’t seen or heard of before. Being that we both work full time jobs and watched very little tv we weren’t exactly up to date on all the new movies coming out in the theater. Some of these new movies seemed to have some well-known actors, others were up and coming actors. Reading the boxes, they all seemed to offer something interesting. A movie summary is like the first paragraph when writing. You need to hook them, and many of these unheard-of movies carried a good hook. On that Friday we left the store with no less than 5 movies.
When we arrived home we did our usual settling in, piling our drinks and snacks and blankets and pillows, even our fuzzy Main Coon cat got comfortable. First movie in, we got about 30 minutes in and finally after several sighs of disgust we gave up. Id never experienced such disappointment in a movie. We agreed it was awful, and moved on to the next to try a different movie. Another stinker. After about 30 minutes in, again, she turned the movie off this time and gave me an exasperated look. I shrugged as she picked the next movie from the shrinking pile of selections we’d rented.
How far do you think we made it? Farther on this one. We agreed we would let it run to make sure we werent just being overly picky. After an hour of trying to keep my eyes open and my fiance deciding that playing with her toes was more interesting than the story I spat out a “good GOD!” and hopped up to turn the movie off. I shuffled through the movies we had left, looking at the titles and shaking my head. I wasn’t sure if I could take another let down, as we’d already wasted nearly 3 hours of our time. I took a break and got online, taking a few minutes to look up the two movies we had left to watch. I couldn’t find a single thing on them. Not even on the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com). I tried looking up the other movies, and each one was by the same production company, a company that produced independant films. I looked at the other two movies we hadn’t watched and saw that they were by the same production company.
I promptly put on my jacket and shoes and went back to Blockbuster. I complained to the guy behind the counter that the movies were awful, and they should have been placed in a section specificaly for independant films. They refused to give me my money back or even credit my account and let me pick out something else. I tossed the movies into their return slot and went to pick out something else for my fiance and I to watch. As I perused the shelves I got curious. I started flipping boxes of movies Id never heard of that were filling the new release section. More than half of them were by the same independant film company. I was disgusted. Did Blockbuster even screen the selections before they opted to purchase a load of crap from this company?
I ended up renting a few movies wed already seen, that I knew were good for a few laughs to brighten our mood, but it did little to help me remain a customer. After we returned those movies we opted to never return to that store. We tried several other Blockbuster locations and found the same flood of indie films among the “real” movies.
Whenever I rent movies now from other stores, I’m careful to examine the boxand make sure its backed by a major production company. I understand that some indie films are very inspirational. I know they don’t suck in general but I never want to be forced into that situation again where proper placement or simple consideration for what the customers are actually looking for can help prevent people from wasting their money. Indie films are more of an art than standard fair production. Along those lines, not everyone sees art in the same light. One mans art is another mans trash.
If you’re a Blockbuster customer, take heed when renting films, or you may end up with a stack of trash when you leave.