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Blockbuster Express 3 Dollar Rentals?


Use of trademarked logo qualifies under fair use as this is a commentary on the company.

Recently, I attempted to rent a movie from a Blockbuster Express machine, but was surprised when I saw a price of $2.99. Was Blockbuster truly so arrogant that they thought I wouldn’t walk across the street to the Redbox?

Blockbuster Express Gets A Second Chance

A few days ago, I decides to give Blockbuster Express a second chance (I’ll cover our bumpy history further down) and this is when I saw the $2.99 price tag.

I thought I must have done something wrong, but I didn’t. Blockbuster literally put on their blinders to the $1.00 movie rental world that we are living in, and is attempting to charge triple that.

I’m not sure if they think they still have the movie rental market cornered, or if they think people are lazy and will just pay the price, but I found this surprising.

Looking at a topic posted on their Facebook page about their $2.99 Rentals (it looks like they took the topic down, we must have made a good point), they justify charging triple the price based on the fact that they will have it in stock (their In Stock Guarantee!). I’m just getting started on how arrogant this claim is.

Blockbuster Express In Stock Guarantee is an Arrogant Joke

How generous of Blockbuster to guarantee their product is in stock! In the world I come from, if you don’t have your products in stock, your customers go elsewhere. It is in Blockbuster’s best interest that a product is in stock, therefore, don’t try to sell it to me as a value-add.

McDonald’s doesn’t charge more because they guarantee burgers will be in stock, it is a given because that is the business they are in. If they were out of burgers, then their customers would go to the next burger place to have their needs met. It takes a special kind of arrogance to say that you’re charging triple the price because you’re going to do what you should be doing anyway.

Movie Rental Just Got Risky!

What did I do? I did what any sane person would do. I walked across the street and rented the movie from Redbox without an in stock guarantee. I know, it was a risky move on my part. Redbox might not have had my movie, then what might I have done? Drive 100 feet to the next Redbox? Use my phone to locate which Redbox has the movie?

You probably think I’m crazy for trying to rent my movie without an in stock guarantee, and maybe I am, but I did it! Luckily, the movie was available in Redbox, and all was well. I know, it was probably irresponsible of me to attempt to rent a movie without an in stock guarantee, but what can I say, I’m a glutton for risk. Maybe I can invest in some derivatives to cover my movie rental risk taking.

Blockbuster’s History With Me

In case you’re curious, I have had a roller-coaster relationship with Blockbuster in the past. I’ve rooted for Blockbuster a lot lately because they’re somewhat of an underdog, and I prefer more competition for Redbox and Netflix than less.

With these prices though, Blockbuster isn’t even trying to be competition!  I think every company deserves a second chance. Everyone messes up from time-to-time, and I had, and still have high hopes for Blockbuster. I just beg them to please learn a lesson from Netflix, who messed up royally these last few months!

Blockbuster Express Machines

I was hoping that they would have been humbled after their bankruptcy, and hoped they might have a new view on listening to customers. They finally showed a little initiative when they rolled out their Blockbuster Express machines, but they had many shortcomings such as:

  • You couldn’t reserve movies online, or browse DVDs by machine, which you could do on Redbox. It looks like this has been rectified.
  • Blockbuster Express machines are substantially slower than Redbox machines.
  • Blockbuster Express machines are constantly down.
  • Blockbuster Express machines are often in locations that aren’t open 24/7, which means you may not be able to return the movies when you intend to.
  • I hate those DVD sleeves that they use.

Blockbuster Express Got Tiresome

Eventually, I got tired of using the slow machines, the machines being down when I wanted to return DVDs, and the poor location choices, so I stopped using them until recently. If I wanted a movie, I went to Redbox, or used Netflix. More and more Redboxes were popping up all around and they were conveniently located 24/7!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had problems with both Netflix, and Redbox (especially the Redbox Price Increase coming up), but not to the extent that I’ve had with Blockbuster. I just didn’t have a reason to use Blockbuster Express when I had alternatives that I felt were better and more convenient. Months went by and I didn’t rent a movie from Blockbuster Express, even the free rental emails they kept sending.

Now, with them charging $3.00 for new relases that have been out for a month, I can’t bring myself to use their service. The world has changed Blockbuster, and you need to accept that. When 3 new release rentals will buy a month’s worth of Netflix streaming, people just won’t bite. Save your business and charge what your competitors are charging.

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