I was watching a television commercial from Blockbuster that boasted being better than Netflix. It stated that there were unlimited rentals through the mail. It stated that Blu-Ray and video games do not cost extra. It also stated that there were unlimited in-store exchanges.
It was this in-store exchange that caught my ear. I don't like to wait for my mailers with Netflix. Truthfully, it only takes 1-2 days for me to receive it. But on the weekends, I don't like to wait as a movie may not arrive until Tuesday. I typically find myself in the video store anyway. Since I was trying out the Blockbuster free trial, I thought I would utilize the unlimited in-store exchange feature.
I was allowed to bring in my mailers and walk out with two new selections. However, one of my selections was a video game. My son is only 5 years old. Needless to say, most of the video games out there are not for him. After 10 minutes of "Nope, not that one" and "Nope, too violent" we finally found a game he wanted. We approached the counter and immediately had a problem. They couldn't find me in the system, even though I had just returned my mailers. After fixing that error, they told me I couldn't rent the Cars 2 video game my son was clutching so tightly. The in-store exchange was valid for any movie, however, I could only rent the video games that were 99 cents. There were 4 games that were 99 cents in the entire store. Three of them were rated M for mature. I was better off waiting for that same video game to come through the mail.
The ads for the in-store exchange state unlimited in-store rentals. However, this wasn't as clear as it should have been. After watching the movies we rented from the first exchange, we went back in to exchange them again. It is unlimited exchanges right? Wrong. You can only exchange a mailer for a movie or a 99 cent game. You can't exchange an in-store movie for another in-store movie or game. So how is this unlimited? Well, you can bring in your mailers an unlimited amount of times per month to exchange them for in-store movies. Perhaps they should be more clear about this in the commercials. It is still an advantage on those days when you don't feel like waiting for a mailer. But that brings me to my third problem.
Normally, Netflix can have a new mailer at my home within 48 hours. If I return a mailer on Monday morning, Netflix will receive it by Monday evening. My new mailer will be shipped Tuesday morning and I will receive it Tuesday evening. If I miss the morning mail, it will be received Wednesday. With Saturday mailing, I receive a new Movie by Monday. But now that the post office is shutting down Saturday service, I suspect that will change. I returned a mailer to Blockbuster on Thursday, September 29th. My next shipment was sent on Wednesday, October 5th. A full week later is when my next movie was mailed and it was the 15th selection in my queue. I won't receive it until tonight.
My local Blockbuster has a rather anorexic selection. We all know just how bad the new releases are because we aren't bothering to go to the theaters to watch them. If you aren't into the new releases then you are looking into the older movies. Of which the selection is rather tired. This really takes the excitement out of the in-store exchange. If you happen to have a Blockbuster video store that has a great selection then you won't have this problem.
Winner this round, Netflix.