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Blockbusted

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Video-rental chain Blockbuster is nearing bankruptcy today. Roben Farzad, senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek addresses the changing video-rental industry.

Tell us: how have your video rental habits changed? Will you miss brick and mortar video stores?

Guests:

Roben Farzad

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Comments [52]

Michael from South Orange, NJ

Libraries are a good source for DVD's. In South Orange I get a whole season of something like "Curb Your Enthusiasm" instead of the single disk at a time that Netflix offers. New York City Libraries have a particularly good selection of DVD's.

Sep. 23 2010 12:18 AM
Pat LaWare from Kings Park

The Blockbusters close to me in Suffolk closed a while ago. My husband and I love the movies. I bring home many from the library where I work. However, we still enjoy the "movie experience" and are members of the Huntington Cinema. This theater shows many movies that popular theaters never show and that we often had trouble finding in Blockbuster. No - we are not members of NetFlix --as yet

Sep. 22 2010 02:34 PM
D eaves from NYC

Very surprised censorship was not mentioned on the segment. That put the nail in Blockbuster's coffin for me.

Sep. 22 2010 01:50 PM
gusmom from Brooklyn

A friend in Houston, TX, decided on the Blockbuster on-line service rather than netflix because they allowed you to return the movie to a store and pick out one free movie in exchange. That has worked very well for him. The clerks in his store in Houston have been very courteous and friendly, so maybe the complaints have more to do with the clerks in NYC. Customer service is very very important to me, so if I had a bad experience, I'd bail.

Personally, I want to watch what I want to watch at the time. I don't want to wait for it to arrive sometime in the distant future, so mail order is not for me. (Also, with my current problems with my local P.O. in Brooklyn, I'd be lucky to get it at all.) I may explore instant download or streaming, but I am not interested in DVD via the mail with any service.

Sep. 22 2010 11:59 AM
Richard from Manhattan

I have Netflix account but have stayed a blockbuster customer for convenience until this weekend. I went in to return a movie that was a day late and having been a good customer, asked the fee be waived. The cashier was talking to me when the manager of the store interrupted and took over the conversation very aggresively. Questioning me on whether I knew the late policy. He was so rude I said if you can't waive the fee I'll close the account. He seemed unable to be nice at all and rudely stated said he would have considered waiving the fee as a good will gesture, but now I had threatened to close the account he didn't want to or something stupid like that. I finally said I'll pay the late fee just close the account. I told him I thought he was acting like a jerk. He told the cashier, something like, "OK you're a witness to this, see what he said". At that point I turned on my phone's video camera and caught the rest this typical disfuntional Blockbuster customer experience on film. He closed my account and I asked him for his name. He ignored my request and I repeated the question several times. He then told me I was disturbing the store and had to leave. He then said he would call the police and he did! I was so busy that morning I couldn't wait around any longer, but I have the whole crazy thing on video. My experience at that store around 93rd and Broadway has been terrible over the years. The staff has often been so rude and unhelpful. Blockbuster doomed themselves with poor service and bad management of modern technology. Even with their online offering they kept the store memberships separate. They deserve to go out of business.... bye, bye.

Sep. 22 2010 11:13 AM
ursonate from boston

walking down the street to get a video was not the problem. walking down the street to a crappy store that had a terribly limited selection and poor customer service was the problem. well, problem solved!

Sep. 22 2010 11:11 AM
Anna from Little Italy

What about getting movies from your local library?

The NY Public Library has an amazing collection! Get a library card! You can browse at local branches or search their extensive collection online! They will even deliver it to your local branch!

Sep. 22 2010 11:09 AM
margie from Westchester County

The public library systems allow you to order any book, CD or DVD and have it brought to the library convernient to you. You are notified by email when it's there for you to pick up. An amazing selection at your fingertips online !!! The DVDs are lent for one week ...free... as long as you have a valid library card as a resident of the particular county or town. Best deal in town.

Sep. 22 2010 11:07 AM
John in Bergen from NW Bergen County

It seems the word 'riddance' is troublesome to a number of commenters.
Is video watching hurting our spelling skills?
Hmmm.

Sep. 22 2010 11:04 AM
spnyc from WaHi

I miss the community of movie buffs at the video store. I'm still lamenting the closing of Kappy-Cua video store on Pinehurst Avenue. I've never used netflix because I never know when I'm going to have time to watch a movie--I want to be able to run out to pick up a DVD or VHS tape when I know I've got time for one or two movies. My preschooler loved browsing the shelves looking for something. So much more interesting that scrolling through yet another page on the computer.

Sep. 22 2010 10:59 AM
john

blockbuster DID have an online website like netflix.

Sep. 22 2010 10:59 AM
Ann from Bergen County

In Bergen County it's possible to view the holdings of all the libraries in the county online, and place an online request that the DVD of your choice be sent to your local library. Not convenient, but it is free

Sep. 22 2010 10:59 AM
JT from Long Island

Walking 10 blocks to get a video is a hardship??? How lazy have we become?

Sep. 22 2010 10:59 AM
Dorothy from NYC

Netflix rocks, I have used them for years. To the caller who just wanted to get a movie - watch online! You can hook it up to your television, it's faster than going to the store to get a movie.

Blockbuster ruined itself - they gouged people on late fees. They could have gone online too.......

Sep. 22 2010 10:59 AM
jonnknoxx from SINY

Oh Blockbuster...
Let's face it Blockbuster, was the very initial stages of foreplay for you and your date.
Strolling around the store browsing, both of you looking for a movie that you both knew you werent really going to watch. :)
I'll miss those days....

Sep. 22 2010 10:58 AM
joshua from Crown Heights

Don't forget that Blockbuster was a Christian activist company who actually censored some movies and wouldn't carry many they found offensive. Glad their dead.

Sep. 22 2010 10:58 AM

why are there more posts about this than the state of our government?!

Sep. 22 2010 10:58 AM
Saara

I would LOVE to be able to go to the video store and bring home a movie, but there ARE no video stores in my neighborhood anymore. They're gone - from the indy stores to the chains. I have netflix as my only option!

p.s. the best part of going to the video store was getting suggestions from the awkward movie nerds who worked there...

Sep. 22 2010 10:58 AM
john from Ditmas Park

Good Riddens, indeed! I was so tired of them having the upper hand and busting my blocks.

Sep. 22 2010 10:58 AM
Robert from NYC

Hello Dolly Lehrer.

Sep. 22 2010 10:57 AM
The Truth from Becky

YES, you are missing something!

Sep. 22 2010 10:57 AM
jonnknoxx from SINY

Oh Blockbuster...
Let's face it Blockbuster, was the very initial stages of foreplay for you and your date.
Strolling around the store browsing, both of you looking for a movie that you both knew you werent really going to watch. :)

Sep. 22 2010 10:57 AM
stef from Brooklyn

How could anyone use Blockbuster? There was so much crap in there it was very difficult to find a good movie. The small stores, like Two Boots, rule(d?). By the way, the public libraries have great collections if you don't want to pay for Netflix and find it too daunting.

Sep. 22 2010 10:57 AM
Robert from NYC

Thus the name Blockbuster!

Sep. 22 2010 10:56 AM
John from Fanwood

Just got a Roku and attached it to my projector and sound saystem. It's not blu-ray, but if quality improves, things that spin will go away! BlockBuster edited movies, BAAAAD!

Sep. 22 2010 10:56 AM
The Truth from Becky

I am with the caller, dancing on their grave and happy to see them go! They overcharged me in late fees years ago and cheated me out of rental days! Karma is a big fat B****! ha!

Sep. 22 2010 10:56 AM
John in Bergen from NW Bergen County

I was in one of the original Blockbuster stores in Dallas. I marveled at the place WOW.
I could not wait for a Blockbuster to be located near me.
Finally it came and I found that I hated going there.
Instead I used local video stores until they disappeared, and the local public library, and then recently a kiosk (not red box) and now Netflix. I like Netflix for the ease and the number of films I have access to.
Netflix does have a down side...there is too much to watch!

Sep. 22 2010 10:56 AM
Brian

What's missing with the demise of brick & mortar bookstores, record stores, video stores, is the wonderful serendipity & chance discoveries that can come from browsing through a room stuffed full of product.

Sep. 22 2010 10:56 AM
Andy from Brooklyn

Screw Blockbuster, Brian. Why is this even important? And Screw Tower Records. The requiem should be for the Kim's shops, when they died, a piece of NYC died.

Sep. 22 2010 10:55 AM
adsf

found several great girlfriends @ the blockbuster aisles back in the 90s.

had no idea it still existed! thought it died in 05

Sep. 22 2010 10:55 AM
Ryan from Manhattan

Don't forget the mom and pop video stores all over the city! They're still hanging on and we can help by patronizing them!

Sep. 22 2010 10:55 AM
david zuckerman from greenpoint

living in greenpoint we are lucky to have access to photoplay, an independent brick and mortar rental store with an amazingly comprehensive selection and a wonderful, friendly and helpful staff that couldn't be further from the stereotypical smarmy video store clerk. between the store's great organization and staff recommendations we've been exposed to dozens of films, directors even whole genres we'd have been lucky to stumble on with a faceless service like blockbuster or even netflix.

Sep. 22 2010 10:55 AM
The Truth from Becky

annnd now you don't even have to do that, you can just que up a movie on tv!

The slow people should just stick with cable tv on demand service! If they can manage that.

Sep. 22 2010 10:55 AM
Mike

You can't even compare Blockbuster selection to Netflix. If you like mainstream vanilla.. Blockbuster is for you.

Sep. 22 2010 10:55 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

I watch YouTube.
I watch cspan.
Most new movies stink.
They are all formula or another way of worshiping
mobsters or mafia.

Maybe, I am wrong, but, MAH!

Sep. 22 2010 10:55 AM
Muriel from 06418

I never used Erols, nor Blockbuster, nor Netflix. What I never could understand - "Who are all these people with so much free time that they can rent and watch movies?" To quote your last caller, "Am I missing something?" Muriel

Sep. 22 2010 10:54 AM
ursonate from boston

yes, you are missing something.

Sep. 22 2010 10:54 AM
Seth K from Mt. Vernon

I use Blockbuster's online service. I used to use Netflix, but they started throttling me when I used to return movies too soon and get a lot of movies a month.

Sep. 22 2010 10:54 AM
Dorothy from Manhattan

Blockbuster has a "service" just like Netflix -- I had it several years ago while recovering from foot surgery. It was good. veru de[emdable and wide range of choices. I'm not much of a movie person so I cancelled when I was finally mobile. Further Blockbuster has a vending machine in my corner Gristede's.

Sep. 22 2010 10:54 AM
The Truth from Becky

What is there to figure out?

Delivers in 1 day, mail it back postage paid?

Been a member for more than 10 years.

Jeez

Sep. 22 2010 10:54 AM
Telegram Sam from Staten Island

One minor quibble: Independent video store clerks were much nastier than BB people! (at least in NYC) The early incarnation of Kim's became famous for the lazy, bitter, condescending a______s they hired.

Sep. 22 2010 10:53 AM
Dave from Greenpoint

This is certainly a good-bye to brick and mortar stores, but not to Blockbuster, as just the other day I saw a Redbox-style DVD stand at a pharmacy with a Blockbuster logo on it's body.

But it is still a shame, as I've always felt the video store was of a community gathering point, where you can run into neighbors and have impromptu discussions on the culture of cinema. It's the death of sharing the experiences of how art affects.

Sep. 22 2010 10:53 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

There's no video store in my neighborhood, but if there were, I'd still go. It's nice to rent what you're in the mood for on the spot. Netflix? I don't like the ordering ahead of time aspect, but their new "on demand" option through Wii is excellent.

Sep. 22 2010 10:52 AM
Nicole from Fanwood, NJ

The last several DVDs I rented from Blockbuster were scratched beyond usability. I haven't been back in 2 years. Good riddance!

Sep. 22 2010 10:52 AM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

cry me a river! we watched as blockbuster cannibalized so many other chains and independently-owned video places, so here's hoping this is karma for the corporate marauding. it was a sea of mediocre selections, anyway!

Sep. 22 2010 10:52 AM

I have no pity for a company that treated their customers like garbage when they were a monopoly in the industry. What did they think would happen when competiton occurred? Loyal customers only occur with respect and courtesy.

Sep. 22 2010 10:52 AM

I get my dvd's from the library. Free. For a week, sometimes two.

Sep. 22 2010 10:51 AM
Pedro from Bronx

Good riddance! The one thing I really despised about Blockbuster was the wait in line.... If you had 2 customers in front of you with one DVD each, you were guaranteed a half hour wait! 4 customers ahead of you and an hour wait was the norm!

Sep. 22 2010 10:51 AM
jay from Norwalk

I remember standing in looooong lines on Saturday evenings, paying $5 per rental and $2-3 per day late fees.. Good reddens!!

Sep. 22 2010 10:51 AM

I use Blockbuster on the rare occassion when I can't wait for Netflix or have more free time for catching up on the movies. I'd hate to see it go although I was a bit miffed when they brought the late fees back. Oh well.

Sep. 22 2010 10:50 AM
Allison from Park Slope

Nope. We do Apple/iTunes.

Sep. 22 2010 10:50 AM
MB from NYC

Blockbuster - Good Riddens!

Sep. 22 2010 10:50 AM

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