Blockbuster Blows it Again

My parents recently bought a DVD player and asked for some old musical DVDs for Christmas. (Yes they’re a few years behind the times. That’s what makes them parents.) Personally I’ve been quite fond of my BlockBuster Online membership. It’s a huge improvement over the local video store, so I thought I’d look into buying my parents a one-year gift membership for Christmas, then I could keep renewing it every Christmas.

Short version: I went to the local discount DVD store and bought them a stack of DVDs instead. Why? Because Blockbuster wouldn’t let me buy my parents a gift. Oh sure, BlockBuster has a page on their site for a gift membership, but they won’t actually let me pay for it. In order to sign up my father would have to give them his credit card and agree to their terms and conditions. It doesn’t feel like much of a gift to me if it requires the recipient to pay.

Now I know there are reasons Blockbuster wants a credit card. Among other things, it helps them to avoid people walking off with their DVDs and never returning them. But is that really a problem? They’re my parents. I trust them, and I’m willing to put any DVDs they accidentally damage or lose on my card. Why won’t BlockBuster let me buy a gift for my parents? There’s another reason: they want to keep charging my parents even after the gift subscription runs out, even if they don’t want to continue the service. That’s scummy. That’s despicable marketing perpetrated by dishonest companies (not that there aren’t a lot of such companies out there). And who wants to give or receive a Christmas gift that comes with strings attached including an 8000 word contract and an indemnification clause?

P.S. NetFlix blew it too.

One Response to “Blockbuster Blows it Again”

  1. Bob DuCharme Says:

    There’s a really great video store that’s somewhat local for you. If you go down Flatbush to just before 7th Ave, on the left, next to the liquor store. It’s very convenient to the D train stop. I remember reading in the New Yorker that Godard videos are very difficult to find, but not at this place. Lots of Anime, documentaries, kitschy *sploitation flicks, artsy stuff, and all the current hits you need.

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