Monday, August 17, 2009


Someday soon physical Blockbuster stores will close and I'll be glad. Limited selection, high prices, deceptive policies,...uh...all that BLUE, hate 'em. But what I hate most is that every time I go in there (and I do) they ask me if I'd like to sign up for their rewards club. I don't, I tell them I don't, and then they keep pushing it. And I say NO more emphatically. And then when I come back, they ask again. I've established my lack of interest but they persist.

I guess what really bugs me is that I am already buying something there and then at the point of purchase they're interrupting the process to get me to buy something more. It would be like going to the grocery store and the checker pauses and holds up some laundry detergent and asks if you'd like to buy it. You say no but then the checker talks about how great the detergent is.

But you know what? It's beyond that. It's trying to get you to sign up for something where they will take your money regularly. Like a detergent club.

So I've become upset at them more than a few times and I get the "this customer is crazy" look from the blue golf shirt clerks. And screw you, don't look at me like that, your whole enterprise will be made unnecessary once Redbox gets its act together.

Well anyway, getting mad does no one any good. So yesterday after getting the pitch ONE MORE TIME, I tried a new approach. Five minutes after leaving the store, I called them.

BOB: Thank you for calling Blockbuster, this is Bob.
ME (doing a sort of Will Ferrell on painkillers voice, verrrrry sloooow): Do you have a movie...called...Firehaver?
BOB: Fire what?
ME: Haver. Haver. Haaaaaver. Firehaver.
BOB: Could you spell that?
ME: F-i-r-e.
BOB: The second part?
ME: Haver. H-a-v-e-r. Firehaver. Firehaver. About a man who has fire. It's a drama.
BOB: I'm not seeing anything by that name. Are you sure you--
ME: How about David Was Wrong? David Was Wrong. David. Was. Wrong.
BOB: Let me see.
ME: David Was Wrong. Three words. It's a drama. About David. Do you have it in stock and can I pick it up today?
BOB: I don't--
ME: David Was Wrong?
BOB: No, I'm sorry. Striking out here.
ME: Kneebone? Kneebone? It's another movie called Kneebone. It's a comedy. Kneeeeebone?
BOB: Kneebone...
ME: K-n-e-e-b-o-n-e. Kneeeeeeebone? Comedy?
BOB: Boy, I'm really sorry. I don't see anything called that.
ME: I guess I just wasted your time then. I guess I wasted your time.
BOB: Oh, that's --
ME: Kind of like when someone just wants to rent a movie and you try to sell them on your rewards club and they've already told you many times they don't want to join but you won't ring them up until you've tried to sell it to them?
BOB: Uh...what?



Sornie said...

I was wondering the same thing today as I drove by the Blockbuster store I pass every day with the same empty parking lot. It gets business from late November thru early March from late Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. How can a business like that last?

Jennifer said...

That's what I love about you, John. You do those things that I only can fantasize about. Right on!

Elisabeth said...

I rented Kneehaver. About a guy who has knees? Didn't live up to the hype.

Tina Rowley said...


Anonymous said...

I work at a Barnes & Noble now, and our member card gives the customer a return at exactly $250 worth of purchases in books, movies, or coffee stuff over one year. Occasionally someone will spend that in one transaction. But instead of just having a sign pointing that out, we've got a slightly skeezy video asking us to disapprove passive-aggressively at our customers as though they've just told us they were all going to ride home in the back of a stranger's pickup truck together. It is not in itself a bad deal, but the approach seems to drive more intelligent customers away, and at a bookshop, that's kind of vital. And half of everyone thinks it's a credit card, anyway. Too much time spent at Target.

Anonymous said...

That just doesn't seem heroic or satisfying to me. More like petty and mean-spirited.

Anonymous said...


I love this post, and can empathize completely. *arg* The situation is frustrating (I despise BlockHeads, too), and your dialogue is hilarious, your message reads like a cautionary tale. I heard some talking-head financial analyst say that signing up for any store rewards programs are ALWAYS a bad idea--even if one spends a lot over the course of a year. I think the worst part is the deception behind it all, and the sales-staff that are 'encouraged' to dupe the customers. Well, that and the crappy stock: My local Blockbuster doesn't carry Kneebone on Blu-Ray.

I also enjoy following you on twitter, by the way. Happy New Year to you and your family.

~Quinn (AKA ReelQuinn)