Blockbuster Blockheadedness

Excerpt from a conversation I just had at my local Blockbuster Video store:

Clerk: “You’re not in our system. Have you rented here in the last three months?”

Me: “Ummm, no, it’s probably been about six.”

Clerk: “We’ll have to ask you to fill out an application for a new account then.”

Me: “You mean you just delete accounts if people don’t rent for three months?”

Clerk: “Yes.”

Me:Why would you ever do that?

Clerk: “You know… to keep the database small.”

Somehow I don’t think Blockbuster will have to worry about that for too much longer.

91 comments on “Blockbuster Blockheadedness”. Leave your own?
  1. Brian Ford says:

    They also give you a hard time if you go to a different blockbuster than the one you got your card at. You have to go through a giant ordeal where they call the other blockbuster and go through way too many hoops. (Forget about it if you’re trying to rent out-of-state.)

    Maddening that they don’t have a nationwide database.

    I dropped blockbuster (brick-and-mortar) for blockbuster online. Bad customer service meant I dropped blockbuster online for Netflix. I’ve never looked back. Netflix representatives could rape me in the ass and I’d still not go back to blockbuster at this point.

  2. Mike D. says:

    Wow. Sexually aggressive Netflix reps take note!

  3. I swear to God, no wonder why Netflix is making a killing. I remember when I used to work at Hollywood Video in highschool (back in 98) that none of the video stores shared a single database.

    Completely unacceptable, if you ask me :)

  4. gb says:

    I just had pretty much the same conversation at Blockbuster not 2 weeks ago, Mike. I’d been renting on my mother’s account for years (we live in the same town, so no worries, right?) just to save myself the hassle. Well, they closed the Blockbuster that was right down the street from my house, so I had to venture to a new location, where I was greeted with the mind-numbing conversation above, plus the added bonus conversation tacked on to the end of “Oh, that account hasn’t been used at this location anyway? Yeah, you need to go over to that booth and fill out an application.” All this to use a gift card to rent Roadhouse 2 and Supercross (both excellent “awful” movies, if you’re into that sort of thing).

  5. Brian Rose says:

    That’s odd. Unless things have changed since I worked at a Blockbuster three summers ago, the only requirement is that you have your card when you go to a location you’ve never rented from or if you have not used your card at a location in three months time. Accounts are never removed from the master database, just the individual store databases.

    The only time a Blockbuster should need to call another location is if a hold has been placed on the account by that store. This could be for anything from unpaid late fees to outstanding rentals.

    I’m actually shocked, though, that someone knew it was to keep the size of the database down – in my three months at Blockbuster, I heard every explanation from, “Because we have to make sure everyone’s accounts are active,” to, “Because otherwise they can’t tell who is renting or not”.

    It always baffled me that Blockbuster’s account system is based on lastname as opposed to the phone number the account is under. And what’s really quite pathetic about the system is that balances are location-specific; if you want to pay the late fees for Store A’s movies at Store B they must do a manual balance transfer between locations. This leaves a lot of room for error – I know of at least two occurrences at my store where a balance transfer was completed on the one side but not the other.

    Blockbuster should really get its act together, but I have the feeling that their rental software has become such an archaic beast that it would be a massive undertaking just the migrate the data smoothly at each location.

  6. Devon Shaw says:

    $6.99 – 9.99 discount DVDs at Anywhere But Wal-Mart, imo.

    Always hated renting for the agony it caused, the scratched DVDs my player hated and the fact that I’d somehow be itching to see it again in six months. So I just buy the disc myself and call it a day.

  7. Marco says:

    Obvious, but…

  8. Jack says:

    Oh the humanity! :(

  9. Anthony says:

    Recently I went into a Blockbuster for the first time since I joined Netflix 18 months ago, because I was with a friend and we wanted a movie on an impulse.

    Even though I moved 6 months ago, and had the same card that I originally got in a far-away state many years ago (that had previously been through 2 relocations), and had used a Blockbuster Rewards card for two years prior to Netflix, I was pleasantly surprised to have no problem at all using my original card. Weird.

    I was expecting something more like your experience.

  10. There’s a reason why there isn’t a nationwide database for Blockbuster. I remember roughly how my friend (ex-employee of Blockbuster) explained it.

    Blockbuster has corporate and franchise locations. Depending on this which type of Blockbuster you are at depends on how they treat the situation. Obviously all the corporate ones have all the same info. The franchises work independently to an extent. Like when you had late fees at one at a franchise location (when they had late fees) you could go to another franchise location and there won’t be any late fees.

    Bullshit if you ask me, they should be catering to their customers as much as possible considering all the competition they have.

    On a sidenote: On the radio I’ve been hearing these commercials from Hollywood Video making fun of Netflix and the like. Without going into a big explanation of the commercial the point of the commercial was that you may not be in the mood to watch the movie you queued up over a week ago:

    “Disco Ninjas sounded good over a week ago when I ordered it.”

    That’s the best Hollywood Video could do? That is a lousy argument against Netflix.

  11. Kyle Warner says:

    Funny how they can’t bring up your account when you haven’t rented for 3 months, but can report you to credit agencies.

    In college, my roommate and I rented a few movies for the weekend cause we knew we were gonna be stuck in the dorm. He was headed to his girlfriend’s house on Sunday and said he’d take them back. He wound up not returning them that day, but a day or so late and there was like $1.50 late fee or something.

    Didn’t rent anything for a few months, and then one day get a letter in the mail that my name was reported to the credit agencies for being 3 months late on paying the fees! Less than $2.00!!

    Since then, I’ve refused to rent movies at all. Not worth the hassle. I just buy ones I like, and usually cruise the bargin rack at Wal-Mart or watch the Best Buy ads and buy good movies on sale.

  12. Ben says:

    I used to go to Blockbuster all the time to rent video games for Sega Genesis and then Playstation…haven’t been in years. After reading this post, probably won’t ever go again.

  13. Ian Fenn says:

    This isn’t limited to Blockbuster either, at least in the UK. Most video stores seem to operate this policy. The worst thing is that opening an account involves providing two proofs of address and who carries that regularly?

  14. John says:

    Long gone are the days of video store customer service.

    For over 5 years I was the lead systems analyst/programmer for the largest video POS system vendor, with clients in 33 countries.

    Developed an ATM-like video vending machine for after hours rentals and returns (including munchies), a picture identification system (that I should have patented – nobody was doing that sort of thing yet), offsite rental drop-offs/returns for large corporations, etc.

    Fortunately I saw the *big boys* coming and knew the service that the local Mom and Pop stores gave was on the way out. Service was the only thing that differentiated one store from the next (second was of course selection).

    There was no substitute for the clerk being able to say “Oh! We have a new [insert actor, genre, story line, etc. here] movie in that you haven’t seen yet”, based on *your* previous rental history.

    I *never* deleted account information, simply archiving it after a store-configurable amount of time. The lifetime value of a customer was just too important.

    Wasn’t even very hard to query multiple store databases and that was before the internet made communication so fast and cheap.

    I’m with the people that simply buy them now, because I just can’t stand the pain associated with total lack of connection the conglomerates have with their “customers”.

    So much for progress…

  15. Shane says:

    I’ve never had any problems renting at numerous Blockbusters here in Kansas City, but then again, I don’t rent that often. I’ve thought about Netflixing it, but I watch too much TV to rent any movies. Or I just buy them. It’s almost as cheap.

  16. Corey Spring says:

    Weird. I went into my Blockbuster one time and told them it had been awhile since I rented there and they said it would be no problem because you remain in the system forever.

    The kicker in my case, however, was that I had forgot my card and the team of rocket scientists at the store were unable to look up my card from my name and driver’s license, so they wanted me to fill out a new application anyway.

    Then my head exploded and I went to the video store across the street.

  17. Greg says:

    Weird. I had not been to a Blockbuster in a couple of years and recently had no problems. Found out I had a late fee though, guess they kept me in the database to squeeze me for a few more Peso’s.

    When did they start costing more than $3 something? (It’s been that long)

    You know what really sucks, the fact that if a movie has been out for more than 2 weeks it’s almost guaranteed to be scratched and un-watchable.

    PPV is great, if you manage to rent it while it is still on it, otherwise I guess there is always the ability to buy it at Target.

  18. There is a centralized Blockbuster database although you can’t access it without you card (which always bugged me). If you have your card you should be able to use it at almost all Blockbusters (not 100% about the franchises). Personally, I’ve been using the same card for about 8 years across 2400 miles in about 10 different locations.

  19. jacob harvey says:

    I’m a little surprised by it, but since I haven’t used Blockbuster in a long while it’s not totally impossible. When I moved out a few years ago (before I got Netflix) I just kept using my parents account because I had a card. I moved twice and used probably three different stores and never had a problem. I guess maybe they were all “official?” In any event, I heard Blockbuster’s online version has improved, but I tried them out when they were sporting the 1997 design and moved quickly to Netflix.

    I’m not sure about the ass-raping, but I know I won’t be moving away from Netflix for a long time.

  20. Tony says:

    I went into a Blockbuster while on vacation recently (the house we rented had a DVD player…), and it just re-affirmed why I’m a Netflix subscriber.

    We looked for Office Space on DVD…no dice. They didn’t even *stock* it. VHS only.

    So, we set our sights on Clerks. Again, no dice.

    Robot Chicken? Nope.

    It was amazing how many movies they *didn’t* have.

    Ended up buying Robot Chicken at Target. They had plenty of copies.

  21. Dave Simon says:

    Once upon a time, my wife worked at Blockbuster – for long enough she was the store manager.

    This could be different for each franchise, but this was the end of the 1990s and she told them over and over that they should get DVDs, yet they had a tiny selection of them.

    The local Hastings started stocking DVDs and I don’t know anyone who goes to Blockbuster anymore. I don’t know how that store is still open.

  22. Jemaleddin says:

    It’s a real pain that Blockbuster only keeps local databases, but there’s an upside. They have a nation-wide database of people with a lot of late fees, but no way of electronically paying late fees from one location at another. What this means is that if you run up a bunch of fees at your local Blockbuster, other locations won’t let you rent from them. About 10 years ago 2600 published a method of using this to your advantage.

    What you do is find out the store number of your local Blockbuster.- try calling and asking for somebody and then say, “isn’t this store 2345”? When they correct you, you’ll know the right number. You then call them and tell them that you’re from another store (just make up a number this time) and that you have a customer (your name here) who wants to rent movies, but needs to pay off his late fees. They’ll tell you how much the fees are, and you say that they’re paying your store that much – at which point the other guy will zero out your balance.

    Unless thigns have changed significantly, and it doesn’t sound like they have, it would probably still work.

  23. I ran into this same issue. I took the opportunity to fill out a creative application featuring a request for family I don’t have to be able to use my card, as well as other mildly humorous data I don’t recall at the moment.

    Their shit is so expensive, anyway. I just discovered a place in town with high quality stuff, and it’s like $2 for 4 days, plus a small membership fee for the year. Too bad I’m moving at the end of the month. Shop around! There’s probably an awesome independent store needing your business somewhere.

  24. Bill says:

    I received a collection notice for $20 in late fees from my local Blockbuster. I went to the web, and found “no more late fees” at

    Of course, when I called and asked about this, they said: “We’re a franchise and the corporate stuff doesn’t apply.”


  25. Tom says:

    I live in Hong Kong where you can buy DVDs and VCDs (do they even exist in the west?) for US$1 – 5 so renting seems a distant and uncomfortable memory of my time the UK.

    As for their db, i would be happy to build blockbuster (or any of their competition, or both) a nice webby intranet that would solve every problem mentioned here for between US$5,000 and US$10,000.

    It would profile people’s preferences, and flag new arrivals that it thought the customer would enjoy, based on previous rental choices. And it would never, ever, ever delete anything.

    Am i too cheap? i never know how much to charge.

  26. Bryan Veloso says:

    Still glad that Jenni (my fiance) quit that job to start her own “venture”, Web 2.0 Plushies…. I mean, anime plushies.

  27. Hamish says:

    We have blockbuster here in NZ as well. The last time I went to rent a DVD they looked at my photoID and refused to accept it was me on the system. Apparently the photo was too fuzzy…they were the ones who took the photo on their pathetic PC camera! I proceeded to mutter words like “incompetent ” and “retard” and walked out. I won’t go back!

    I have to agree with Tom on this. Why do people rent still these days? Here in New Zealand, all new releases come out for sale on DVD at the same time they hit the rental stores. Admittedly, I don’t buy every new DVD that comes out because so many are simply a one-watch-wonder. But the point is, if you like a movie eoungh to watch it twice, then buy the thing! It’ll cost you less than renting twice.

  28. Stephan says:

    I’ve never had a problem going from Blockbuster to Blockbuster, but Hollywood Video, that’s another story. You had to open an account at every store that you wanted to possibly rent at. I had more cards in my wallet than I knew what to do with… Then I had to go through them and figure out which one went with which Hollywood Video. Biggest pain in my ass.

  29. Ben Buchanan says:

    Here in Australia Blockbuster does at least keep your membership a bit longer, after all if they decide you owe them $2 how else can they send you nastygrams a week after you returned the movies and they didn’t scan it back in properly? They’re a tad aggressive.

    Stark contrast is our public library system in Queensland – join at any branch and you have rights everywhere. You can return books to any branch. They will send books (or CDs or….) from any branch to any branch, for you to pick up. They’ll email you friendly reminders when your book is due.

    Yup, libraries kick the video store’s arse.

  30. BJ Murphy says:

    I just dropped my Netflix account in favor of Peerflix. You’re basically trading your own discs peer to peer. I like that I don’t feel pressured to watch the movies as fast as possible and it’s been a nice way to get rid of discs I no longer care to own. That said, I can’t get rid of Fools Rush In for the life of me (it came free with my DVD player, I swear).

  31. Joel says:

    LMAO!!! That’s too funny I don’t know how many times I’ve been stressed about their lame system. But you missed my biggest pet peeve with BLOCKHEAD-BUSTER to mention that if you are within the 3-month limit – and you are NOT at the store you registered at – they CAN’T even look up your record at your main store! The clerk has to tug on the tin can and talk to the person on the other end of the string. HEY BLOCKBUSTER I.T. DEPARTMENT — GET NETWORKED!!

  32. Me says:

    Joel – overreaction award.

  33. The new “Friends” feature in Netflix is a great example of how online services are more innovative and interactive than the bricks and mortar incarnations can ever be.

  34. I love giving Netflix my money.

  35. Hollywood Video was recently purchased by Movie Gallery so they’re rights to mock anyone should be severely questioned.

    I worked at Blockbuster for 6 months during college up until I had to have back surgery to repair a slipped disc I was told I would have to reapply to get my job back after the 3 months I would need off to recover.

    I’ve not stepped foot in a BB store since.

    Been with Netflix a year. They’re fantastic!

  36. Steve says:

    I worked in a Blockbuster for a combined total of something like 2+ years. As much as I hated my existence while there, I feel I should clarify a few things (what else am I to do with this useless BBV knowledge?)

    It is correct that a store will only keep customers on file for roughly 3 months if there’s no activity or balance on the account. However, all the account information (excluding rental history) is still in a national database which never seems to purge anything. The only thing the customer needs is their card, the computer will download your information (name, address, phone number, email, credit card, names of family members allowed to rent. All but your rental history which is kept at that store only.) by the customer number (2-5 digit store code-5 digit customer number) on the back of their card within a few seconds.

    Unless of course you don’t have your card, you will either be asked to sign up again or if you’ve rented from another store within the last three months. They could call the store for the customer’s number (provided they have ID) and that’s it.

    Half the membership form is fine print that no one ever reads. To (re-)signup you would need a driver’s license and a credit card. If a customer lacks one or both, then another form of government ID instead; Passports, state or county ID, military ID, even so far as bank and utility statements (that have your address on it).

    In regards to why all the information isn’t kept in the national database, is simply lack of resources. In the Summer of 2002 some stores (including mine) ran a market test for the “DVD Freedom Pass” which was supposed to be 100% transferable. It did this by querying the national database every time a customer account is brought up. Every store slowed to a crawl. I believe the national center couldn’t handle the load—I doubt it was the stores’ connections because the store could normally handle multiple simultaneous credit card transactions and account lookups from the national database easily. The transferability lasted about a week before a new software update was installed and removed it. Under normal circumstances, the store doesn’t query the national database unless it needs to add a customer to the local database. Since most customers are active customers, this is not a problem.

    And keeping the local database small is necessary because the store server is very slow for anything that’s not looking up movie titles or pulling up a customer account. Sending a list of titles to have labels printed can take a minute or more. Even newer stores don’t seem to get faster machines. The register machines run custom point of sale software on top of DOS with 32 MB of RAM, I’m not sure what the server uses (there’s never a monitor attached, everything can be done through any of the registers or remotely through Computer Support). Recently stores have a new machine with XP on it for clocking in/out and scheduling. The point of sale software is also on it, but is never used for actual transactions, mostly just for printing labels. It felt like it’s emulated or something because it’s extremely slow and often buggy and runs in a window instead of full-screen.

    There’s no such thing as a “main store.” If you move, just update the address and phone number. It’s easier than filling out a form. And as long as those are kept up to date, you shouldn’t get surprised by credit agencies, since multiple postcards are sent out and an automated phone call or two. Regardless of what the balance is. I suspect the calling and mailing is all automated with zero human interaction.

    One commenter asked why accounts aren’t listed by phone number. For one, it’s terribly insecure because phone numbers aren’t a secret. In fact I hear there’s a book with thousands of phone numbers in it along with names and city, and sometimes street address. One could easily state the phone number of a friend/enemy and the store would not be able to match it up with any personally identifying ID.

    Second, often times, people will move and not update their number on their account, sooner or later the phone company will give the old number to a new household. This is a problem all the time, as random people, including people who never held a BBV account anywhere, get automated phone calls for someone who now lives five states away who kept the latest direct-to-video Steven Seagal movie out for too long.

    Maybe about a year ago the software finally does a quick scan of the customer’s history and offers advice of what current promotion the CSR should offer to the customer. Why they waited so long to do that (which is basically just a check of how many movies have been rented within a certain timeframe) is beyond me.

    My god this is long. I’m sorry for anybody who actually reads this whole comment. But going back to your original point, Mike, as long as you have your card (and no outstanding balances!) there’s not a problem, no matter what location you’re renting from.

  37. Tom says:

    In response to the guy who used to work at Ball-Busters, I really don’t think anything matters at the individual BlockBusters locations. At all.

    I remember having a conversation I had with a coworker at the pizza place I worked this summer. He got fired for getting some girls phone number on the clock. I said, “Really? Shouldn’t they worry about other things, like sucking?” And what I really don’t understand is why I can’t get a damn card with a debit rather than a credit card. Does it really matter what type of plastic? I am taking the time out of my day to come down here, despite all the bullshit, and you’re telling me I can’t rent?

    BlockBuster should burn. And for any pyros, yes I think you should burn down your local Ball-Busters.

  38. Sarah says:

    Why in the world aren’t you netflixing?

  39. Peter says:


    Three days ago, this past Sunday, the same exact thing happened to me. I was trying to get a couple movies for my girlfriend and I to watch, and no, they weren’t Steel Magnolias or Beaches, and the clerk asked me the same exact questions when I went to checkout. It was about 5-6 months since I last rented something, so it was obviously deleted. Then I thought, ‘no big deal, I’ll just put it on my brother’s account – he has one.’ Nope. Gone. Deleted. Fill out a new application? Yeah, OK buddy.

    It was at that point where I ripped down the ‘upcoming releases’ sign, dropkicked the popcorn and candy kiosk and snapped the credit card pen between my thumb and index finger.

    Well, the last part didn’t exactly go down that way, but I wish it did.

    Good luck, Blockbuster.

  40. Luis Villa says:

    Blockbuster have closed all their stores in Spain.

  41. Catherine says:

    Hey, I just wanted you all to know that not every Blockbuster is like that. We do call other stores just to verify that you don’t owe money and are trying to avoid paying it, however it’s not inconvenient on your end. Also, if you lose your card and it’s been longer than three months since you have rented, then it’s only fair that you fill out a new application. If you don’t lose your card then you don’t have to worry about it. Also, Blockbuster is actually beating Netflix. You need to get your facts straight.

  42. Mike D. says:

    Catherine: Why is it “only fair” that I fill out another application? What’s the point of making me do that? I didn’t even lose my card… I just use it so infrequently that I don’t want to keep it in my wallet. I just don’t understand the point of making customers do things when they don’t have to.

    Also, what do you mean by “Blockbuster is actually beating Netflix”? What metric are you using? I doubt it’s the growth metric. Perhaps overall videos rented?

  43. Don says:

    I once had a kid return a video from store a to blockbuster by mistake. BB supposedly waited about three days and then called store a. I swear they waited on purpose. Then store a waited about three days to call my house and say gee you returned that video to BB. Of course I didn’t do any of it, one of my kids did. Anyway I was out of town the whole time and so by the time I could call store a (cause a different kid alerted me to the message) I was a week into the rental overdue charges. So I owed store a for the full cost of the movies according to their silly terms of service.

    So needless to say I have not been back to either one since.

    I wonder how much more they would have made off of me had they simply been reasonable?

    Now a days I buy the vhs and then burn the dvd. I’m out two bucks and I got a movie I can watch for a long time to come.

  44. jacQ says:

    I’ve been renting at BB for about 3 years now and haven’t had as much trouble in that entire span of time as I have had in the last 6 months. It seems that every second DVD is scratched and blockbuster is none too concerned. After a dozen times of simply accepting another ‘less scratched’ copy of my chosen DVD, I have had enough. I went into my local BB store and informed one of the two girls working about my situation. Her response? She rolled her eyes and walked away, sighing and saying that I’d have to wait until the other girl (who was on the phone) could deal with me. After a few minutes, phone-girl finished up and was friendly enough but could only repeat that “I can give you another copy of that DVD, but that’s all I can do for you”. “No, I’m sorry Ma’am, I don’t want another copy of the DVD. This is not the first time that I’ve rented a scratched DVD from you. In fact this about the 15th time, in the last 6 months. Can’t you give me a free rental or a store credit instead?” She then went on to explain that ‘her’ store had spent $17, 000 on fixing scratched DVD’s. This has WHAT to do with what I was asking? Absolutely nothing. “How your store chooses to spend it’s earnings is none of my concern,” was clearly a response that flew right over her dim-witted head. I will never rent from blockbuster again.

  45. Robert says:

    Block Buster sucks big time, you sign up then they make it very hard as hell to cancel your account by not providing a 800 number I had to search on line just to get a 800 number. The web site tell you to go to “my account” to cancel and there you “should” find a link that says cancel account, YEA RIGHT it’s not there then you cant find a 800 number. That really chaps my hide. here is the 800 number 1-866-692-2789 they will ack like there very busy so you can hang up, but dont.

  46. Ian Hughes says:

    I have the distinct feeling that this leads back to that common issue of large scale technology solutions meeting head on with profit margins. While here, to those of us who are net savvy, it seems like a no-brainer to use Netflix; but there is a surprising large number of people who still fear purchasing items on the internet with a recurrent charge. Outside of that, there are people like my parents who only rent a single movie a movie a month, so they don’t “want another service to pay for”. That makes their local B. Buster the most reasonable and logical choice to them.

    That means Blockbuster is raking it in at physical locations. Go past one on a Friday night and they’re usually packed. Notice that new ones are still being constructed? That means the business model is still successful. So, why do something like crate a universal linked system if you don’t have to? Set aside customer service philosophies for a moment. I had read somewhere that this was why “Jiffy Lube” switched to the logical integrated database structure. People would be on the road and the concept of starting over at every Jiffy Lube meant there was no reason not to go to another low cost oil change facility. If someone “knows all of your stuff” you’re more inclined to remain in the brand family and go to a different location.

    Until Blockbuster has a business need for this, they’ll keep relying on phone calls to verify accounts and deleting people. I wonder if anyone has studied this for them internally? Like how long the average call costs in man dollars to sit there and let lines build to unreliably phone check someone for something that could be called from a database.

    Good thing Wells Fargo doesn’t do that.

  47. Jim Gleeson says:

    One of my biggest problems with Blockbuster is not really knowing what the current specials are for any given day there. Some days I walk in and can get a couple of new releases under 10.00. Other days, it’s like I have to pay 15.00. You only find out if you have enough rental credits for a free rental at the register. At that point you have to go back and make another selection. There should be like a card reader right there ar the door. You swipe it and it tells you what you can and can’t do. I think there is an inconvenience algorhythm the database runs. It gauges how impatient you are and makes recommendations based on that to the local store clerk.

  48. Tim says:

    I think it’s an very bad database management system at that store!

  49. Linda says:

    Hi Blockbuster is a heartless company that not only had the late fee issue, but It respectes NO ONE.. My son was manager and asked to take over the wva store which was a dump. Store was not making money, Well he took it over and becaome 1st and 2nd place in the zone for sales now the store is making money and is spotless. This young man worked hard and one day a mystery shopper came in and said shirts were un tucked and greeting was off. so they let him go saying , they want employees to see this and work harder at there jobs or they too will be let go. What the H— Is this company doing. We asked to see the camera of this day to show this was a scare move adn surprize no answer. Other manager in that zone confronted the district manager about this and asked this question was this action right ,, Off the record NO. scare tact, People Block buster is heartless , just money hungery..

  50. Genn says:

    Blockbuster Busted! Back in 2003 I won a years free subscription to Block Buster rentals. Went to the local store to reclaim my prize and discovered I needed a credit card to get my videos. I was in school, I didn’t have a credit card. Haven’t been back since!

  51. John says:

    LOL its funny how everybody could go one bashing Blockbuster all the time when they dont even know how the system really works…. Is it Blockbusters fault that a customer misplaced or lost the 3 cards they can print out for you when you sign up>>? And about having movies in stock lol dont make me laugh. If you go to a store that is strictly based on retail, you are bound to find the movie for sale. People expect so much from a store that houses roughly 1800 customers per week. Blockbusters get on average of 60+ copies of major titles (do the math).
    And the little comment about the database, well think about it for a second. If blockbuster was able to have an “open” database nationwide, dont you think it might be a major security issue? If a hacker hacks to a system at a random blockbuster, they will only have access of 3-4 thousand accounts. In other words if it was an “open” database, they will have access of millions of accounts with 90% of the accounts having the customers credit and license information (a bit dangerous dont you think). As far as specials go, you ever heard of just asking an employee?? It might help, its not like you can go to a good resturant and expect to know what are the specials before hand thats not logical. Besides theres usually big banners saying 4 FOR $20 or so outside the store. Its not Blockbusters fault that some of thier customers are irrisponsible and expect thier “children” to run in the store and take care of thier parents problems. Do you have any idea how many movies are returned empty, or from another store, or even dont belong to blockbuster? Its amazing how much you can do with 7 poeple running a high volume store. As far as prices go, yes it may be a bit expense for people that dont make a decent amount of money. 2$ or 3$ dollars sounds pretty good for a burned and ILLEGAL dvd.. Sad and to think none of that money is going to the producers or actors of that film. Of course heres the most common response “whos cares” lol well I really dont but I always perfer quality over quanity, I would like these people to continue producing movies you know… In the end I was looking for something online and stumbled to this sad bashing of a store that could be found practically every 3 blocks. Oh yeah Blockbuster sucks, but then agian it is well know accross the US for meeting the demands of thier customers. Try finding another rental store that is even close to making the same revenue as Blockbuster. And I understand that some people might not like going to Blockbuster due to past bad experiences but you have to be reallistic, People run the store and people makes mistakes. Are YOU perfect?? Didnt think so, besides its there for you and if you dont like it simply dont go and wait to see your movies a day or two later in the comfort of your own home =)

  52. Lespunk says:

    I had Netflix for a year, after getting fed up with the agony of waiting long lengths of time to get my movies, I cancled my account. Blockbuster has the same service for the same amount of money. I have been with Blockbuster online for 3 months and have not had any problems. And as a bonus you get 1 free instore rental per week, that’s 52 a year. So I really don’t see myself ever going back to netflix.

  53. Grayce says:

    Ok, I’m working at BBV right now and have been there for quite sometime. There IS a national database…the only time you have to access it is when a customer has not rented within the last 3 months and has their BBV card. When you scan the card, it’ll ask for your UPDATED phone number. The reason they cannot look up by number is the fact that there are people out there that just leave their apartments without paying and leave bills everywhere. Also, I work in a city with 4 military bases and some people change their home number more than their minds, plus they don’t want to provide their cell number.
    If you have rented from a BBV before and was visiting another one without your card, they CAN call your home store to get your customer number. I do know that some store managers do not allow their emplyees to call other BBVs when a customer forgot their card. I don’t know why, but it’s their preference; even though they are not following procedure. the application should be used only for new customers and inactive customers without their BBV card.
    I’ve noticed with my manager and shift leaders, the new employees are NOT being trained properly. We have 2 girls that constantly make mistakes because they don’t know the proper procedures. The only reason 2 of us are trained correctly is due to the fact that we always asked questions on how to do something and we always wanted to watch something we know nothing about.
    My manager has a problem with updating his emplyees when new sales pitches occur or if a process has changed. He tries to blame it on us when he’s caught, but we retaliate. He also has one of the highest complaint list in the area, but due to his revenue, BBV corporate won’t fire him.

  54. Dave-O says:

    Just joined BB online here in the UK after getting fed up with unplayable discs from my local independent store, who did not check for damaged discs, just wanted your hire money.

    Got the first film yesterday from BB, kids all happily sat down to watch Narnia. Honestly, the disc was the worst one I ever put in my player, took us 45 mins to watch half an hour of it! Completely useless scratched disc.

    This is the only disc I have had. Do I persevere and assume it was bad luck? Based on a quick Google of ‘blockbuster scratched discs’, NO !! I am trying to get a refund on my membership.

    There is alot of talk above about revenues. Blockbuster should spend some of their profit on staffing to monitor quality of the stuff they ship out. I give them 5 stars for greed and 1 star for customer service.

  55. Greg says:

    Shopping with Blockbuster is made very easy. All that they ask is for you to have either your Blockbuster card or license accessible when you get to the check out counter. Everything is made especially easy with your Blockbuster card in hand. You see each Blockbuster has a very large customer base and the store system can only handle a certain number of customers. So what happens is that every 3 months, if your account has been inactive, i.e. you have not rented, you will be dropped out of the store system and be placed in the National Database (In response to someone else’s earlier comment, yes they do have a National System). Unfortunately the only way to be pulled up out of the National System is with your Blockbuster card. Once you are pulled up out of the Nat’l System then they just verify your information is current and up to date you are good to go.

    Now there are times when you may go to a different Blockbuster than the one you set up your account at. This is not a problem. Because if you have your card from the other store you are pulled from the National System and good to go. If you should not happen to have your card they ask for your license and call over to the other Blockbuster to get your customer number. A very simple process.

    To the original poster- I am very sorry that you had a bad experience at Blockbuster, and the Customer Service Rep was wrong in informing you that your account was deleted.

    In my opinion Blockbuster makes it very easy to set up an account and to rent from them. They are after all the number one source for your night of entertainment at home.

  56. jonathan says:

    rite blockbusters are so uncool i bought singstar rocks i left it for a week till i played it as i went on holiday i come back open it up and set it all up microphes everything wen the song came on i started singing but no noise so i check everything is right and it is everything is ok, so i take it back to the store and i went up to the clerk that i made the purchase off and told him what happened, he said do u want exchange i said no i want a refund please he said sorry cant do refunds, i said why he said its their “new policy” i said well i aint having any other games from here this has happened quite a few times most of the stock i think is faulty anyway i told him i aint gonna leave the store until i get a refund as i asked nicely, then he said ok let me get the manager for you so he got the manager, then the manager comes out and says yes how may i help you i said well this game i got the microphones that came with it dont work their faulty he says ok well what do u want i said a refund he said sorry no we cud do a refund if the seal wasnt broken on the game, i said what so how do i play it then without breaking the seal he looked and didnt say anythink i said come on you have to give me a refund there aint no way im leaving this store without a refund the manager said sorry but i cant he said all i can do is get you another singstar package i said ok then, but wait for it he gets me a new singstar package and makes out another recipt i still stand at the counter with new singstar package and recpit the manager says was there something else i said yeah i wud like a refund plz here is the singstar package with the seal still in tact and he just looked at me and said thats not fair he then said listen our policy says and i said yeah you just told me them a few minutes ago and im handing you a package with the seal still on it look not damaged in anyway he looked at me and said well ok then i suppose you can have a refund, the clerk just looked at me and winked lol he knew i was a smart player lol but anyway as i was bout to leave i took a glance in the shop window and i could see the manager shouting at the clerk so i walk back in and say excuse me the manager said what now i said plz dont blame the clerk that you dont even know your own policy for refunds he said right get out of my shop go on out thats wen i left with smile on my face :) but dont shop at blockbusters dont they like reciving cash but dont like giving it back wen the item is faulty

  57. Colleen says:

    Blockbuster sucks. I rarely rent movies and last movie I rented (2 years ago) they said I never returned (I put it in the night box wihin the time limit). They hassled me about paying for it for 6 months. Well, last week I rented Elf (yes-it’s old-don’t have time to watch many movies) I rented it on 12-22-06 and it was due back 12-30-06. Hubby and I watched it Xmas day and I returned it the next (12-26-06) To avoid any question of returning it I physcially took it into the store and put it in the bin. It’s now 1-2-07 and I got a message that it hadn’t been returned. Called the store, they said they were too busy to look for it now…there will be hell to pay when I walk in there tonight and rip them a new ass for being such assholes. Will NEVER rent from them again, although I’m sure they won’t miss me.

  58. Chap says:

    Must be a new ploy to make more money. I just got the same run around about not dropping off my DVD. I dropped it in the night box along with another DVD. The store found one but sent me a late notice for the other. I tore my house and vehicle apart just to be sure. I know I dropped off the DVD but what can you do. I payed for the DVD and asked if I could get a reciept each time I bring back a DVD (In store drop off) I was told no since they weren’t set up for that. Crap on that……… I’m not going to do buisness with them if any employee could take home my DVD or write it off as not returned anytime they want. Screw Block Buster……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..!!!!!!!!!!!!

  59. CHEYENNE says:

    Is Netflix as horrible with their monthly memberships as Blockbuster is with theirs??????? We were bombarded with offers from Blockbuster to join (pay $9.99 per month + taxes) and receive 1 movie at a time in the mail…. we went with the $9.99 plan after months of harassment…. we received the empty envelope in the mail with the cd-rom in it to watch and hear the sales pitch. You take the envelope in and you exchange it for a free dvd AFTER you sign-up online. we got our first movie that way. We watched it–took it in–explained “how” we got that first movie and asked if we could “exchange it in the store” as the promo states. We were essentially told to “take a hike”. I wrote a complaint email to Blockbuster–it fell on deaf ears. About 2 days later–we received the first DVD “in the mail”.. We watched it…took it in and THEN we were able to exchange it in the store. It’s now been 3 days since we dropped that envelope DVD off and still NOTHING IS COMING IN THE MAIL…3 DAYS LATER AND NOTHING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Does their offer mean $9.99 for ONE MOVIE PER MONTH??????? We were under the assumption that if we dropped it off in the store, as soon as it was checked-in that another dvd was shipped out from their warehouse.
    THIS IS NOT THE WAY IT WORKS………BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT SIGNING UP FOR THIS SERVICE……..Sure — we were allowed to swap the “first” movie we received in the mail….but we’ve been without dvd movies for 3 days now………and not even so much as an email from blockbuster telling us that another movie is on the way.


  60. Jack Smith says:

    Everyone who complains about blockbuster requiring cards needs to know this. We retrive your number from a national database. The card that you have identifies you in that database. If we scan your card it will load you up, no matter how long you have gone without renting. It only deletes you from the LOCAL system after 3 months.

    And I mean really, quit bitching. How hard is it to keep up with your card? I bet you keep up with your credit card just fine.

    And everyone who complains about Blockbuster tricking or scamming you, listen to the clerk. Instead of cutting them off in the middle of the conversation. The people who dont listen are usually the ones who come back in 2 weeks later bitching.

    Grow up.

  61. Colleen says:

    Maybe we’d stop bitching if the employees were actually “trained” to know a little something about what they’re doing. 2 out of the last 2 times (NOTE: THAT’S 100% OF THE TIME) I’ve returned my movie the next day, even going INSIDE to turn it in and when I asked if they would please log it back in I was told they’re “TOO BUSY”. Well I wasn’t TOO BUSY to wait in line when I rented it and I wasn’t TOO busy to WAIT IN LINE AGAIN to turn it in becasue of the last 2 times I’ve gotten a computer recording telling me that my movie is overdue and that I will be charged late fees. I MADE A POINT OF RETURNING IT INSIDE 4 DAYS EARLY BOTH TIMES sOo that I DON”T get that f&%+%@d up recording or get some a$$h*le on the phone telling me in his slurred voice that they have no record of it BECAUSE they were too busy to ck it in at my request when I dropped it off!

  62. Dave-O says:

    Perhaps you, Jack, strive to give good and reliable service, whatever your job is. O.K., us ‘the public’ can be a hassle in our guise as customers. But recognise that not all staff at BB are at all efficient, in fact it seems the majority are certainly not. Getting frustrated at such poor service is not being childish, as you imply. When you spend money and time to aquire the service that companies like Blockbuster target you with all the time, it is reasonable to expect to get treated well. In so many ways BB have demonstrated a very low level of appreciation for the business of customers. Ultimately this is down to senior management. Companies like Blockbuster do not deserve our business. Full stop. (period : ) )

  63. Chap says:

    Well after paying for my lost DVD which I know I returned, I called Block Buster. I explained that I was willing to pay, I had no proof that I returned the DVD. I informed the customer service rep. that I would like a reciept from the local store for all my future in-store returns. They explained that if I kept my original reciept the Block Buster empolyee would sign it to prove my DVD return. So far so good. I’ll let you know if they try and charge me again, I figure they will claim the signature is a fake on my reciept and that will be the last straw for me. More to follow…….

  64. criticizethingsyoudontknowabout says:

    I’d been renting on my mother’s account for years (we live in the same town, so no worries, right?) just to save myself the hassle.

    Too lazy to fill out a simple form? Nice.

    It always baffled me that Blockbuster’s account system is based on lastname as opposed to the phone number the account is under.

    People are constantly changing their phone numbers. Especially deadbeats and debt dodgers. Accounts are not based on lastnames, they a collection of info that can be used to help ensure that rental items wil be returned and to help with the collection of debts. The stores current local database is SEARCHABLE by name and employees use customers full names to identify the proper account.

  65. mark matthius says:

    HOW ABOUT STARTING YOUR OWN PLACE TO RENT RATHER THAN CONSTANTLY MOANING ABOUT BB SERVICE, I MEAN, ITS RUN BY VIACOM WHO ARE IN TURN Part owned by IBM, and we all know where they were in the second world war! so why rent from a company that helped one of the biggest regimes nearly take over the world (the nazi’s)

    manager of bb york

  66. Steve says:

    Man, that was the funniest thing I’ve read all day, Mark.

    But Blockbuster was spun off from Viacom a few years back after failing to find a buyer to get that crap hole off their hands.

  67. Linda says:

    Here’s my BB and Netflix rant… Just my little way of paying them both back for their crap service!!!

    Well, I’ve tried both Netflix and Blockbuster and I think they are both crap.

    Netflix did well with timeliness during my free trial, but then after that they started “throttling” my movies, which is apparently their policy if they think you “rent too much.” What that means is the movies you return and the ones they send out are greatly delayed, and the wait gets longer and longer the more you try to rent. If they want to you only rent so many movies per month, they shouldn’t offer “unlimited” packages – strange how the word “unlimited” makes you think you can get as many as you want for one price. Movies that took only 1 day to be returned and 1 day to ship out to me strangely started taking multiple days to be returned and shipped once my free trial time expired. I thought I was loosing my mind until I found other people online who had the exact same experience that I did. Total crap!! I canceled after I found out what they were doing.

    So then I decided to try Blockbuster. I had a better experience with them as far as timeliness, I never noticed a change at all in how many days it took for them to receive and ship movies to me. That was very efficient. The problem with them is there are so many movies that end up in your queue with “short wait,” “long wait,” or “very long wait,” on them. Any actual difference in those terms seem to be just some corporate BS, since I waited 3 weeks to receive a disc that was listed as “short wait” in my queue. It was the start of the second season of a TV show I was trying to view, and it was pretty frustrating to wait all that time considering there was quite a cliffhanger to the first season! I never did receive any of the discs for the second season after waiting weeks for them, as they continued to be listed as on “short wait” in my queue. About HALF of the movies in my considerable queue were listed that way, and the vast majority were not newly released titles.

    The wait doesn’t mean that I didn’t receive any movies, Blockbuster just goes on to the next available title in the queue when something isn’t available, but frankly, It’s still annoying to wait so long for something when you’re dealing with a company that is supposed to have zillions of movies available. It wasn’t even a popular title (I’m sure most people have already seen “La Femme Nikita” about a zillion years ago) so, frankly, I don’t get the long delay.

    The reason I ended up canceling the Blockbuster membership is the crappy customer service. They sent me the wrong disc in a 2 disc movie set, when they should have sent BOTH discs since the movie is contained on both and you can’t watch the whole thing unless you have both discs. It clearly states on their policy that when a movie spans more than one disc, all of the discs are sent together to more “mimic the theater experience.” Well, after complaining about being sent disc 2 of something I never got disc 1 for (which contained the 2nd half of the movie and was completely useless) and also including my frustration with the wait time for the other, I got absolutely nowhere with them.

    It was almost comical if it wasn’t so aggravating. The replys to my emails didn’t even address my concerns. It was like they didn’t even read them at all. They never did rectify the problem with the 2 disc set, and after going back and forth several times with not ONE email reply from customer service actually addressing the problem, I got sick of the whole thing and canceled my membership.

    The real kick in the pants is this. If you use Blockbuster you’d better have a malware program on your computer, because every time you go on their site it installs a data tracking cookie that isn’t taken off by something like CCleaner. I regulary run my CC, and it didn’t even detect the data miner that Blockbuster left on my system. I didn’t find that little jewel until I ran my AdAware (something I do every week or two weeks). After I’d removed it I tried going back to the Blockbuster site to see if it got put on my system again, and guess what??? YEP! So, along with the crappy customer service, Blockbuster puts unauthorized crap on your system to invade your privacy. I included that little factoid in my email, but guess what?? They didn’t even mention it when they replied.

    Having said all of that (whew), driving through heavy traffic to get to the locally (as in not a huge corporation!) owned video store seems a LOT less annoying. And that’s what I’ll be doing from now on!

  68. Alexandra says:

    i actually love blockbuster online. they give you a free movie for signing up and every online movie you get you can return it in the store for another free movie rental, so while you’re waiting for your movie to be sent you can watch the ones you received in the store. The whole rant about calling another store if you don’t normally rent there is BS because it takes like 5 seconds. Usually its so it makes it easier for you to rent so you dont have to fill out another application…and its a security detail on blockbusters part because most people who don’t return movies to one store will try to sneak by and rent at another one so they have to call the store you normally rent from to make sure you aren’t being a cheapsake and getting out of paying for a movie you damaged or never returned. If all the time you have you spend ranting about blockbuster and netflix you all need a life.

  69. Erwin says:

    Blockbuster haven’t done a thing for me. Knowing them didn’t expect them to accommodate.

  70. xavier says:

    the accounts are not deleted. They are stored in the Blockbuster Database. However if you have lost your card or have not rented from any Blockbuster in 3 months or more, then you will need to fill out a new memeber application.

  71. lindsay says:

    all of you need to get a life. if you hate blockbuster then don’t rent there.

  72. Matt says:

    I gave Blockbuster Total Access a try for a couple months, but finally gave up…and went back to Netflix.

  73. Frank says:

    Um … yeah …. let’s see. I work for Blockbuster, I have for the last seven months. Is is that hard the bring your card? Really? C’mon! Oh, yeah… next time you go to your local Blockbuster without your card, don’t ask : “Can I give you your phone number?” — because we don’t take phone numbers as a way to pull up your account! Best Buy and some markets do! Would you like to know why we don’t pull up accounts that way? 1. Because we CAN’T! 2. If we could, how dangerous is that? Your ex-boyfriend could still know your phone number and rank up restocking fees for you… etc. Unlike, Best Buy and some markets, we’re not giving you (just) discounts. We’re dealing with rentals, accounts, credit cards, stuff that could potentially mess someone’s credit up.

    Oh yeah… why can’t you have a debit card on your card? Um, let’s say you don’t turn your movie in within the grace period and the movie is sold to you…. Checking cards are like CHECKS! CHECKing card. The funds are immedietly pulled from your bank account, compared to a credit card, where the price would be charged no pulled from you account.

    Please, don’t act like you know how this company works, especially if you’ve never worked for it. And if you don’t like it… boo hoo, because I’m sure I’ll see one you back. They always come back.

  74. doug says:

    Ive been working at Blockbuster for about two years now. In that time Ive realized I too hate it. But not for the same stupid reasons you all do. Heaven forbid you have to sign up for a new account to rent movies to use your gift card that you got for a Christmas present.

    I can usually sign somebody up for a new account in less than 2-3 minutes. Then have them checked out. Big deal.
    “I havent been in here in 5 years, am I still in the system”

    NO. Because you havent rented in 5 years.

    And for those who claim that customer service has gone down hill. How about the customers getting increasingly cheaper. They only want something for free, and when they dont get it. They get pissy. THIS is true. NO doubts about it. I have evidence of it everytime I work.

  75. Jean-Philippe says:

    I hope you don’t try returning your films at the counter on weekends, or friday nights, because if you do, then you’re a fucking moron.

    To the woman who got her son to return the film for her, you’re also a moron. You do know that YOU’RE responsible for your son’s actions, not us. Fuck when I was renting Nintendo 64 games I always brought it back at the right video store.

    BlockBuster’s Online service (Which is US only btw) has now had over 2 million rentals compared to 1.2 million on NetFlix, there’s your numbers.

    To those of you who have had that “Oh I returned my movie, but they said they didn’t have it situation” you should grow up a bit. As a BlockBuster employee I get at least 3 calls each day with the same problem, and 18 times out of 20 they call back and say “Oh wait I found the movie.” As for our mistakes, (yes we make mistakes) we check for unrecieved movies on the floor EVERY DAY! That’s right, on the 6th day of being late (Before any fees are charged to the account) we do a run on the floor to check for movies that may not have been entered in or missed. I highly doubt any employees are taking that movie of yours home to watch for themselves because we get rentals for free anyways.

    Shit happens, stop whining. Instead of being total pricks to blockbuster employees, try to listen and co-operate because most of the time what they suggest you do or tell you will benefit you.

  76. I completely agree, the store clerks attempt to be helpful but they are really unorganised, the game section especially.For Instence, they would have certain items out on display, but when you give it to the clerk to rent, he would nicely reply “im sorry sir, but this one is out, but we do have it for a different console…”

    i think they really need to get in order, and yes, netflix is waaaaay better, and also gametap is much more reliable for those people out there who are addicted to gaming, so thanks for making something i could comment on, i just got back from my store down the street and he has quite honestly convinced me to use a different store…

  77. paula says:

    I worked with Blockbuster for a year, and people tend to forget that the employees are only human and that yes we do make mistakes sometimes. People get an attitude way to easy when the movie they want is not in or if they have to fill out info for another card because they didn’t bring theirs. It is not the employees fault that corporate Blockbuster sucks or that corporate is run by total dumbasses, nor is it our fault that the database at local stores is not magic and can not magically pull up everybody who has, had, or ever had a blockbuster account from anywhere in the world. I left BB because of customers stupid attitude problems. Its just a movie for crying out loud and its only costing you 4.19, so why is it such a big deal? Oh, and by the way, to all those people who think that it hurts our feelings when you say BB sucks or that you’re never going to rent there again, it really just makes us laugh at the person’s absurdity.

    And this stuff about the employees that don’t do things because they are “too busy” or how they tell you to “take a hike”, or we’re not trained or whatever. That is just BS, I really don’t know what kind of Blockbuster these people are going to, to receive this kind of treatment, but I have never seen an employee at my store or any of the other stores here in upstate SC behave this way.

    And to all you fellow BB employees or former employees, you are all saints for putting up with customer’s stupidity on a daily basis!!!!!!!

  78. Joe says:

    I’m a current BB employee and I have to agree with the last person who commented. I’ve never seen an employee treat a customer the way some of you have described. I could maybe see one instance in wich an employee maybe didn’t care about losing his/her job (wich wouldn’t surprise me in the least considering we only get paid minimum wage!). Some people really fly off the handle when it comes to renting movies! Especially at my store because we’re a privately-owned BB and we still have a late fee policy unlike the corprate BBs!! You wouldn’t beleive how many people get pissed at me about that; like it was my choice or something!!

    In any case, we do have a national database. All we need is your DL/ID # and your birthday to look you up. So if you don’t want to carry around your BB card, be sure you have the ID/DL you used to open the account and there shouldn’t be any problem. BB accounts never expire despite what anyone may have told you … I’ve pulled up accounts that haven’t been used in over 10 years for christ sake!! The account may be on “HOLD”, but that doesn’t mean the account is closed. More than likely you were dealing with an incompitent CSR and, if this is the case, you should ask to speak to the manager on duty and they should be able to help you out.

    I know BB sucks … but don’t take it out on the people that work there … they don’t pay us enough!!

  79. Becki says:

    I’m an employee with Blockbuster. A few months ago our database system changed so that we can now look up accounts in the national database no matter how long it has been. If you had an account (in YOUR name-not granny’s or your neighbor’s dog groomer’s) at any point, your driver license (state ID) number will be on the original account. If you are not in our local database because you have not rented in a while, we can simply begin to add in a new membership. Step one is your date of birth. Step 2 is the state of residence. Step 3 is your actual license or ID #. After that is entered, your ID # is searched for in the national database. If you ever had an account, it’ll be there and will simply need to be verified for correct/current information. Only the main account holder can re-establish their account in this way. If you are not in the system, you may not have been the original account holder but simply may have been allowed to rent under someone else’s account. It also may not find you in the system if the account was opened in another state and you now have a different state’s ID/license. This does happen, unfortunately and a new account would have to be opened. It’s not perfected but it’s certainly on the right track. and much less complicated now. It serves 2 purposes. The first one being that you no longer have to take the time to fill out a new form. The second purpose is to avoid having customers with duplicate accounts (for honest or dishonest reasons) at 500 different stores all over the place. Obviously that becomes a bad debt issue which affects every aspect of for-profit companies such as Blockbuster. Bad debt gets rolled back to all customers in some way, shape or form. I have already seen many instances where customers ended up paying balances from years prior because of this change in the system. It’s a good thing for all involved.

    I know that everyone has had horrible customer service experiences at Blockbusters everywhere. I apologize for those bad experiences. The team at my store does our best to serve our customers every time they come through our doors. Yes, we have horrible, poorly-trained employees from time to time. Those of us who actually do care about doing a good job are the ones who end up paying for those who could care less. Please remember that the next time you call me an idiot or an imbecile for something that someone else has done to you in the past. I will always treat my customers with respect (no matter what kind of mood they are in) and I certainly expect the same in return. Issues arise daily. I deal with those individually and try my best to resolve the issue quickly and to your satisfaction, however, I am not going to be screwed over or treated badly just because you think I am inferior to you because I work behind the counter at Blockbuster.

    We have a new CEO at our company and I hope that his vision will be positive for not only customers but employees as well. Only time will tell.


  80. jenny lynn says:

    Wow???!!! I know most of you are kidding, arrogant and ignorant, or just plain out of your minds. As a customer of blockbuster and a employee who works there for the mere love of movies and not the minimum wage of the job, let me clue you in on the real world. I do have a nursing degree…i am very smart…but at this point, i chose this part time job to take a break from the stresses of dealing with the sick and dying, the sadness of losing your mother of father in the nursing field, to…have a job that i can be nice to customers, help in anyway i can, try to help them find movies or clue them in on the totally horrible ones so they wont waste their money or time after we have a customer/client relationship. Blockbuster provides movies for renting. We also have movies brand new for sale. But the rudeness and arrogance of some customers who everytime they come in want to gripe, complain, want something for free, wants refunds just because they didnt “like the movie”, expects us to work for peanuts, kiss their backends, constantly examine, clean, and call their house because they failed to return the disk with the box, or mismatched them or turned them in to the wrong location, with 20 people in line comes up with 30 movies at 3.99 a piece, 10 of the same title, and wants me to unlock all 30 movies where they can “examine” each one to their liking even though we have a universal guarantee…while other impatient people wait 15 minutes behind them while they stand there and gripe about a kids cartoon having minor scratches on it….give me a break….if you want a new cartoon…go buy one…this are stated as “previously viewed” and by how many people we dont know??? As for everyone losing their cards and complaining about giving their name versus a phone number…find some sense….people change numbers daily…how often do you change your name….it is for your on protection if you dont have a card and get pissy on showing your drivers liscense. Think people….I would hope not just anyone can take my name or phone number without id and rent 3 playstation games with my credit on file when they decide to steal it. Just because you dont like a movie dont expect a refund for your dumb choice, because you didnt return a movie or game for 3 weeks because you are lazy…dont come in gripping and cursing the employees for being charged something that was your own fault. 95% of all the customers cursing and blaming is due to their own fault and they dont want to be accountable for their actions. BB rules are guaranteed, fair and plainly stated. If you see your customer service rep is trying her hardest behind the counter to make you people happy, working quickly as she can, being polite and working for peanuts for whatever reason….quit bitching and give us a break. Quit nailing us to the cross daily for your stupid mistakes and todays “no fault society”….there are real problems in the world like missing and dying children whose family is in turmoil. Want a new movie buy one, want a dollar movie…go to japan and buy a illegal street copy…want more “realism” your 10.00 bucks and go to the theatre for the “theatre experience”…dont like your movie…well there are probably more bad decisions in your life as well that is make you just as miserable…dont want to return your movies but every 6 weeks…pay the penality. Stop bitching for something so minor and give us a break as minimum wage employees. We do not deserve your misery, cheapness, or being looked down upon because we work hard 365 days a year and we have to pay for your mistakes. I cant even type about this anymore…if I want this stress, like I am becoming aware of daily at this new job….i will go back to saving lives, death, and dealing with families who lose something important…not just a movie. I could bring up 30 more unfair acts you people do or expect but I wont even get started. I will not waste anymore of my valuable energy on you dumb butts when I can focus this energy to positive and help my neighbor with her bald 6 year old dying with cancer!!!!!! If this world loved more vs. condemned..what a better place it would be.

  81. Lee says:

    If you just had your membership card it would not have been a problem. The information is than accessed from a larger database from a satellite. You can’t expect Blockbuster to store everyones information onsite and not clean house every so often. The system would be full in no time. You blame Blockbuster but you caused the problem there is a reason they give you a membership card you know.

    I never worked at a Blockbuster but I know how the database works.

  82. Mike D. says:

    Lee: The system would be “full”? You could store every customer’s information who has ever visited a Blockbuster since the beginning of time on a hard drive the size of an iPod. That’s my point.

  83. Bob says:

    I read someones post above about Blockbuster sending some guy through collections over $2. How is that possible? at least in my state it has to be a minimum of $20 dollars and i’m sure there are minimums throughout the country. He probly just got a letter saying he owed two bucks and thought it was cool to say they where reporting him to collections.

  84. J.D. says:

    I worked for Blockbuster from October 2004 until April 2008. I was promoted twice within the company to a management position within that time. It is the worst company I have ever worked for. The compnany believes that all theft is internal and that any product that is lost in the store is the employee’s fault. At my former store, there were only 4 security cameras, which all faced the employees. Needless to say, we lost several thousand dollars ($15,000 over 6 months) due to external theft (dvd case slicing, thiefs using magnets to remove the locks, etc) at my store. So, what was Blockbuster’s solution to stop this: fire half of the employees at the store and bring in new people!!!! Never once did they think that maybe adding more cameras in the store or some other type of security would help keep the losses to the company down. I am glad that I no longer have to work for a company that is so disloyal to its employees that gave so much time and effort to help keep customers happy and being loyal members. To hell with them.

  85. gokublade says:

    since when does filling out a new form require so much brain power?

  86. Nick says:

    I am having the same problems everyone else has had with blockbastard. They ship fast for the first 2 weeks free trial, once you have paid the they ship slower and slower. Then I canceled because of the slow service and they just stopped shipping my movies. I paid for the whole month, but have another 11 days paid up!

    They claim you will receive your movies in a 1 or 2 days. That is far from being right. This is what I have come up with.

    Movies in 1 day 10%
    Movies in 2 days 30%
    Movies in 3 days 40%
    Movies in 4 days 7%
    Movies in 5 or more days 3%

    I told them I do not renew and cancel my account when the monthly fee runs out. They shut my account off 9/29 I still had another 11 days left to receive at least 3 more, but no. They said the month ends at the end of each month. I did not pay for a partial month, that was not an option. If you start up with them during the month, they have found a way to steal from you. They owe me $6.33 for the unused portion and will NOT send me anything. The emails I receive trying to get my movies or money back are just unbelievable, they are just down right stupid.

    Even when blockbastard receives a movie it takes them almost 48 hours before they ship the next one out – if you sign-up with blockbastard, you should receive 3 movies a week and that is it!

    Go with Netflix, All the movies I have received from them are next day except for one that shipped from New York and that was 4 days. You should recieve 6 a week with Netflix.

    Never again blockbastard!!!!

  87. Andrew says:

    Way behind the curve on this I guess but the BBV POS system doesn’t delete accounts after three months, we simply lose the information locally but account information can still be retrieved using either the account number or vital information such as a driver’s license number.

    What you have to remember is that locally, at the store level, we don’t have that much available memory, my store for example has created just under 20,000 accounts in about a 10 year span, with only a fraction of those remaining active for any appreciable amount of time, to store and access all that information is not only a logistical problem but would be a nightmare when searching for an account by name. How many out of that 20,000 have the last name “Smith” I wonder.

    The CSR you spoke to was wrong and possibly stupid and there are plenty of things you can get angry at BBV for but this ain’t one of them.

  88. Mike D. says:

    Andrew: You can store more than 20,000 accounts on a thumb drive though. It’s just text. I believe you when you say the current systems “can’t” do that, but they *should* be able to do that. The amount of memory it should take to store your entire database of customers is less than it would take to store a single movie.

  89. Marie says:

    You can store more than 20 000 accounts, but it’s the processing time to locate the right one. Even within my store when I worked at blockbuster we would often have doubles or triples of the exact same name, expand that to a global network, and it’s going to take some time for the computer to locate all of the people with that name, plus some time for the csr to figure out which one you are.

    The fact that you don’t have to carry your card to rent is a convenience if you rent a lot, but after working there I think that it should be mandatory so that it’s not a huge surprise when the staff can’t pull your account up instantly from just your name. There is the ability to pull up accounts from drivers licenses (even from different countries; I was able to access US accounts when I was working at BBV in Canada), but the trick comes in figuring out exactly how it’s been typed in by whoever started the account. That can take time on the part of whoever is helping you, especially when you’re dealing with licenses that are very different than those you see all the time. Sometimes they may not be able to figure it out without taking more time than it would be for you to just give some information and start up a new account.

    So many people above have talked about their hissy fits when an employee can’t look up their account. Do you really think the kid being payed minimum wage really care if you think the system is stupid and you aren’t going to rent there anymore? I was glad when people said they weren’t coming back, because I no longer had to deal with being yelled at, swore at, and called an idiot. I knew perfectly well the problems with the system, but I didn’t think they merited the incredibly rude way customers would treat me.

    If you have a problem, write a letter or send an email to corporate blockbuster or the manager of your franchise store. Don’t go off on the staff who have to deal with 20 more assholes like you over the rest of the evening.

  90. Mike D. says:

    Marie: As you can see, I wasn’t yelling at the clerk or being rude. I was just incredulous that such a large company had such a poor grip on technology (which is, to no surprise, why they are dying out). If you outfitted each store with the cheapest PC you could buy ($300 maybe?) and did a local database dump every night, you could do the sort of query you’re talking about in about a half a second. Even without the DB dump, if you did the search on a central server, like, ummm — just about every web site in the world — it would also be similarly quick.

    The point is, Blockbuster is running on ancient technology and it’s indicative of how they’ve slept their way to obsolescence.

  91. Marie says:

    No, you weren’t being rude, but many of the commenters have talked about being rude, or their urge to cause a scene when dealing with this sort of situation.

    I think it just brought back some bad memories. I’ve waitressed, worked in clothing and grocery stores, and even taken complaint calls at a utility company… at none of those jobs were the customers in general as rude and unreasonable as when I worked at Blockbuster. It’s like just stepping through the doors bring out the worst in people. I’ve had friends who’ve worked at other locations and even other video rental chains, and they say the same thing.

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