Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter

Sometimes when we touch, it all becomes too much, or however that insipid big-hair, pastel-jogging-suit, pet-rock, polyester-leg-warmer-era song goes.

I like to watch. I like to watch all the time, to see people who can't see me watching them . . . no, wait, officer, I mean that I like to watch movies.

Blockbuster used to be The Joint to load up on features and loadza oldies and even when they were out of the latest JCVD straight-to-video mega-action thing, there was still a reason to go. Sort of like going to the Public Library except without the thinking part. But, it seems to me, that in the age of cable, the internet, RedBox and NetFlix, Blockbuster has become somewhat irrelevant. Fine - not much of a market for pomade, either, but to make one's own company irrelevant by pretending to own the Behemoth Genome is really, really stupid. Frankly, I could care less, but my time is MINE, gatdammit, and ain't nobody gonna waste my time.

Okay: I rented two movies. I admit it. It was just for old times sake. It didn't mean anything. You gotta believe me - just a moment of weakness. I returned them dutifully, on-time. Sometime that afternoon, I got an e-mail as a reminder that I had these two movies out. But, wait. Is the Alzheimer's getting worse? No: I'm sure I returned them, slipped them into the little slot an' everything. Buts here's this e-mail, loaded with marketing offers. So, what is this? Did they not get the movies? Mind you, when one rents, one can only do so by credit or debit card and Blockbuster's credit card terminal screen is custom-programmed with two pages (I kid you not) of Terms and Conditions to which you must click in the affirmative in order to complete the transaction. I'm not sure that this isn't a basis for a class-action suit on the basis of tying, but I diverge. In the Terms, you, the renter, hereinafter to be called the Idiot Who Really Wanted To See That Movie About That Thing With That Guy, agrees that Blockbuster will charge your card for the current rental and will retain the right to, without prior notice to IWRWTSTMATTWTG, charge the Dickens out of that card for any and all future costs of that rental, and I paraphrase. Well, I wanted the stupid movies, so I clicked 'Sell Soul" and the clerk smiled, thanked the register and turned away to put the discs on the Relay Table. Don't make me explain this. I wanted the stupid movies, went out of my way to go back to the stupid store and put the stupid discs in the stupid slot and then, I got the stupid, annoying e-mail.

Hence, in revenge, I wrote the following to Blockbuster, once I finally waded through their array of irritating far-more-expensive-with-less-options-than-anyone-else offers and arrived at their "Customer Questions" area, or whatever it was:

Dear Blockbuster;

I received an e-mail from you that indicated that I had a rental outstanding. This is very confusing since I returned the items shown. How can that be? I tried to research the information on your site, but many links seemed to be "branded", like "Blockbuster Premier" and so forth, rather than informational, like "Questions About Your Returns," so I just gave up. Also, why does it cost so much more to rent from Blockbuster than from RedBox? I picked up two movies you didn't have in your store at one of the many RedBox kiosks in my area and it only cost me $1.50 a night for a BD versus your rather uncompetitive $4.99 for a 3-day BD rental for which I now am not even sure has been properly logged into your store. On the other hand, when I returned the RedBox discs, I immediately received a confirming e-mail that those items had been returned. Even NetFlix confirms receipt and does NOT send annoying "Rental Reminder" e-mails that are, I suspect in the case of Blockbuster, marketing opportunities Trojan-horsed in a wrapper of faux helpfulness that is actually, because of the disconnection with the reality of where your proffered goods are in respect to your customer, annoying.

With fond regards,

Your Irritated Customer

I don't expect I'll get any kind of a real answer. I couldn't even submit the question until I agreed that a list of links with entirely unrelated questions, like, "What if my disc doesn't play?" - good job, computer-parser. What I'll probably get is some kind of confirmation e-mail that tells me that they've received my question and don't dare write back because the e-mail address they'd used to send me that e-mail is, well, unattended. In other words, don't call us and we won't call you.

That's fine. Really, it's fine. I don't need Blockbuster. But I might if customer service was a priority. A bit of advice - if you're the last player on the field, you can own the field if the crowd is pleased with your game. If not . . . Marco . . . Polo!

Bitch-ass punks. Where my remote at?

Side note: The very next person that responds with some lengthy exposition to a question of mine and begins said soliloquy with the now oft-used starter, "So, . . .," as if they had already described some preamble at length and are now continuing a thought based on the foregoing, shall receive from me a fork in the eye, so to speak. F*cking stop it, really. Just stop. Don't start a paragraph with "So." Don't do it. Just don't. I'm serious. Stop.

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