Friday, June 3, 2011

This does not strike me as a sound business model.

Now this is a business model: 

What does not strike me as entirely sound is the new promotion my local Blockbuster is running. Four days ago, I went in to rent The American starring George Clooney (for the record, I would not recommend it). At the register, they charged me $2 (or however much Blockbuster is charging for movies these days; I think it changes weekly).

They then informed me that every movie I rented from then until July 4 would be a one-day rental, due back by midnight the next day. If I didn't return it by then, I would be charged a $0.99 late fee. And, oh yeah, every movie until July 4 is also free. What?! The movies are free, you say? Yup, every day for a month I can stroll into Blockbuster, pick any movie off the shelf that doesn't have a blue sticker on it, and go home with it without spending a dime. (The blue sticker means the movie came out in the past 6 weeks.) I don't even have to give them my Blockbuster card. I just bring back the old movie, say "I'm exchanging this," they scan it, and I go on my merry way.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "But Kimber, surely there's a catch." Well if there is one, I haven't found it yet. Literally the only down side I can see is that if I don't get the movie back to the store in ~28 hours, I pay a dollar. One dollar. It's like Red Box prices, except freer, because I live 5 minutes from the Blockbuster and am capable of remembering to return a movie every day.

So basically I am being gifted approximately $60 in free movie rentals for the next month. And I'm not the only one. I'm pretty sure they're offering this to everyone in town! If they're hoping to make a living this way, I must say that [insert title of post here]. This sort of thing may be why they recently filed for bankruptcy and were bought at auction by Dish Network. 

Here's the thing, though: last night when I went in to rent Alien Resurrection (don't judge me, it was free), the place was packed. And while all those people were definitely cashing in on free rentals, they were also rifling through the 5-for-$20 movie bin and purchasing 1/2-price clearance toys. The free rentals got people into the store when Netflix and Red Box were keeping them away. And like me, they have to keep coming in every day until July to get the most for their non-money. And that new bin full of $0.99 movies is starting to look pretty attractive. So maybe it's not such a bad plan, after all.

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