How am I supposed to rent movies now then?

Apr 10, 2009 | | 2 comments |

Oh wonderful.
Looks like Blockbuster are about to vanish : http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30076153/

So let's see.

I won't go the cinema because of the persistent cellphone / talking / kids problem.

My rental store looks like it's going away.

The Netflix subscription is a ripoff - you have to pay even in the months when you don't rent anything, and then you have to pay extra for Blu Ray. They want $13.99 a month for 2 DVDs at a time plus a $3 Blu Ray premium. That's $8 more than Blockbuster for two movies. (And when are there ever more than two a month worth watching?). Or is that extra $8 the "Fast, FREE" delivery they advertise?

Downloading isn't an option because of the spiraling cost of internet access and the total lack of availability of HD movies.

RedBox needs a credit card even for the "free" codes and they don't do BluRay. And any film you want will either be out of stock or the disc will be scratched so much it won't play, and with nothing but a machine to complain to, good luck in getting a replacement.

How am I supposed to rent movies then? Do I now have to buy them and re-sell them at a loss or return them for a refund each time?

This is ridiculous. How can Blockbuster be going out of business?

Priceless

Apr 8, 2009 | | 0 comments |

A first grade girl handed in the drawing below for a homework assignment.



After it was graded and the child brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:

Dear Ms. Davis,

I want to be very clear on my child's illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This photo is of me selling a shovel.

Mrs. Harrington

Why you shouldn't ever give a video store a valid credit card.

Apr 7, 2009 | | 0 comments |

And by followon, why you should never use RedBox.
For the first time in a long time, I've got a credit card which is still valid at my local Blockbusters. Normally, when signing up to a video store, I'll do it at the end of my card's life, then cancel it the next day and get a new one issued from the bank. I've always been wary of video stores having credit card information - they have no valid reason to require it. Anyway - my fears have been confirmed. I noticed an odd charge on my bank statement this week - a $1 ding from Blockbusters. I've not been late on a return, nor underpaid for a rental, so I did some sleuthing. Blockbuster ding your card on file with them for $1 hold every time you rent from them, then release it when you return the movie. It's a small enough amount that most people would never notice, but it's not mentioned in their terms and conditions and it's a highly dodgy practice. The only reason I noticed it was because my statement was issued whilst I had a rental so before the charge had been released. ie it still showed as a $1 debit. What's even more dodgy about this is that I didn't give them my card for that rental - I paid cash.

For the same reason, I'd never use that RedBox thing. There's nothing to stop them issuing charges to your card for no reason once they have the info, and you can't go cancelling your card and getting a new one each time you rent a DVD from a red box. The bigger problem with RedBox (and NetFlicks and all those other "convenience" places) is that there is no physical person you can go and complain to when they stiff you for money for no reason. I mean you can talk to someone who can't speak english in a call centre on the other side of the world, but at least with a store you can go in and speak to an actual human being.

Anyway - I just thought it worth posting.

Why is everything designed to be user hostile nowadays?

Apr 6, 2009 | | 0 comments |

You'd think that making a photocopy would be a relatively simple task. Put the original on the glass, close the lid, press "go". Well - that took 5 minutes. First I was in the wrong "application path". Then the document scanner, which can tell what size document is on the glass and even if it's text or pictures, couldn't FIND the document when it was put in the wrong place. (Every copier in the world has it's origin in the top-left corner of the glass - apparently ours are the top-right). Finally it copied. A victory. Then I went looking for a fax machine. Oh - that's right - we apparently got rid of those and the copiers are now the fax machines. So now I have to deal with my nemesis again. This time I have to put in a username and password, then a phone number which might or might not need '9' for the outside line. Then I need to tell it how many pages, what the document is in response to, which template I want, what resolution I want and dozens of other, completely irrelevant questions. After which it eats my 2 page document and then tells me to logout. No dialling, no confirmation, and after a phonecall to the supposed recipient, I discovered no actual fax sent.
So our multifunction fax, copier, printer and scanner apparently can't fax, won't copy without being hand-led through the whole process, can't print on anything other than letter sized paper, and scans documents into oblivion.
Apparently this is progress.
I've given up - I'm going to drive to the place I was trying to fax the document to because it will be quicker.