As we all know, we will be solicited by Blockbuster employees to join a monthly payment plan. The fact that we are in their store, money in hand, checking out videos is no longer good enough for Blockbuster. To offer a monthly payment plan for those who like that sort of thing is understandable. But apparently, the corporate monkeys at the top of the Blockbuster empire have instructed their employee to spare no customer the simplicity of just “checking out”. We are to be harassed. I probably go to Blockbuster over 100 times a year. When I have money. And check out a DVD or two (or more). But in the eyes of Blockbuster corporate, I’m scum. Pond scum. Rebel scum. Here’s why.

The movie business is very cyclical. Blockbuster would like to demonstrate to financiers they have a steady cash flow so they can borrow to expand and crush the Walmart and Netflix operations — and the new Amazon online downloadable video rental service that has been rumored to be coming. If Amazon succeeds in even getting the operation off the ground, it could be a huge setback for Blockbuster. Unless.

Unless Blockbuster has a giant mass-list of emails they can harvest and “spam-cuss” (that’s spam for customers - and yes, you heard it here first) and make sure those plan members are not swayed to Amazon’s even larger email list that they will spam-cuss. But as it stands, my blockbuster video card isn’t tied to an email. I’m a customer because of their location and proximity to my home. Really little other reason. And sometimes I go to Hollywood Video or Movie Gallery instead.

But with a growing list of monthly plan subscribers, Blockbuster can effectively quash the competition because people, once signed up, are loathe to unsubscribe to things. I just hate the fact that I have to pay some monthly amount (between $10 and $30 depending on the plan) whether or not a product has been delivered to me. I have enough “bills” that are like that already. But there is no mercy from the blockbuster employee. I’m badgered and scorned and admonished that I’ll be “saving money” (based on a huge number of assumptions that even a stock broker would be ethically bound to qualify before stating).

Technorati : spam, subscriptions, video rentals

Posted in: Management