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How I Survived Netflix (No, I Won’t Be Going Back!)

Netflix envelope
Bless the postal workers! (Flickr User Gabrieel)

Ah Netflix, how I’ve loved it and I’ve hated it over the last seven years.  The once popular ”you rent DVDs, we ship them to your home” service has taken a brutal beating over recent membership fee increases and then today, their stock price dropped due to continuing customer dissatisfaction.

Ripped Netflix Envelope
Look familiar? (Flickr User Ross Castrow)

I was captivated with Netflix in the beginning and I was one of the many customers who opted for the “3-at-a-time” plan.  I guess I had more time on my hands then, because I would watch and I would watch and I would send them back as quick as I got them.  However, I started to notice there would be several new releases that weren’t available; sadly, that’s how it has always been.  For example, if you want to rent Bridesmaids right now (and I highly recommend you do), you better plan on a trip to your local DVD rental place if you want it.  Netflix has a problem with keeping copies of new movies in stock and if you are lucky enough to get what you want, it may take a lot longer than you think.  Normally, my DVDs would arrive from a distribution center in Bowling Green and it would take sometimes not even two days to receive my content.  But when you dig into the vast library for a rare film, you may wait and your DVD may come from as far away as Michigan(?)   Or when it finally arrives it may look like this:

Cracked Netflix DVD
So much for Jake Gyllenhaal (Flickr User Ross Castrow)

A DVD smashed to pieces!  Well, not always in a billion pieces, but it would so up so cracked or broken, it would be non-watchable.  That’s when the “how many copies do they actually have?” question comes into the fray.  I personally never had a issue with sending a cracked or broken DVD back without a replacement, but if they don’t have a replacement, they will send you what’s next in your queue or list of what you want to rent.

Now naturally, other companies, including established rental places like Blockbuster, decided to get in on the direct shipping rentals to homes game.  And since Netflix eventually offered streaming video, other streaming services, like Hulu, started to crowd the market.  I just can’t understand why Netflix, now an old kid on the block, just had to raise their membership rates.  I found myself going back and forth on “2-at-a-time” to “1-at-a-time” to “streaming only” memberships.  The streaming only membership is a slippery slope; you will definitely NOT find new releases and certain titles are not always available for streaming.  So what’s the use?

Netflix
So long old pal! (Flickr User iantmcfarland)

Just this past week, Netflix Co-Founder and CEO, Reed Hastings sent all of Netflix’s members and former members (hello!) an “apology and explanation”.  Oh, now I felt special, NOT!  It was really a platform for Hastings to explain the new Netflix plans.  Either you rent or you stream, no more hogging.  The company is so ambitious, they are launching an entirely new site, Qwikster, exclusively for their customers who still want their DVDs delivered by mail.  Yeah, more confusion.  No wonder I bailed.

What do you think?  What rental method do you think works better?

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