Blockbuster memories

Ah Blockbuster… blech!  Now that Blockbuster is gone it’s time to reminisce about those bygone days. Things I remember about Blockbuster:

It must’ve been the summer after my freshman year of college that I worked at Blockbuster. I didn’t want to go back to my computer warehouse job even though it was pretty easy and paid well. I was afraid I’d wind up working in a warehouse  forever

Everyone should take a retail job at some point. It will hammer home how important politeness and manners are. I knew that dealing with the public would also be useful experience as I’m normally pretty introverted.

Working at Blockbuster really demanded that I talk to strangers. We had to greet everyone that came through the door. We had to sell the “Blockbuster Rewards” plan to everyone that came to checkout. If we didn’t give the long-winded speech about why the rewards program would be good for them then we got in trouble. Often people signed up just to get the immediate free movie rentals. I think it was a $30 a month subscription which was not worth it, but many people bought it anyway. Along with selling them a subscription service, we also were supposed to get their CC number on file so that we could auto-bill them if they were late which seemed scummy. By the time all the selling and collecting of info was done it seemed to take 20 minutes to checkout each customer. There were long lines on Friday & Saturday nights, customers were visibly frustrated, but we had to keep selling or get in trouble!

Each rental tape had a barcode on the back of it that we scanned in and out to keep track of inventory. There was always the possibility we missed scanning a tape back in, but there was also a fear that a customer who had a late rental would sneak it back into the store and place it on the shelf then tell us they returned it on time to avoid paying the late fee. Each day when the store opened I received a printout with a list of barcodes and movie names and my job was to go check to make sure that those videos weren’t out on the shelves.

The store closed at midnight. Sometimes after we closed we’d do a full inventory count on every single movie. It would last for hours until the early morning light.

There were TVs installed throughout the store that played a short promotional tape on a loop. Each tape seemed to contain a few movie trailers, one pop music video, and a commercial or two. Every few weeks the tape was swapped out with a new promotional tape. For the first few minutes it was exciting to see what movie trailers were on it, and to hear the new song! Quickly it became obnoxious to hear the same Britney Spears song over and over again, and then your brain would tune it all out and the tape faded into the background, until suddenly your brain picked up on it again and it made you feel crazy.

I think what I learned while working at Blockbuster is relationships matter. Some Corporations will treat their customers as badly as they can get away with. Abused customers and will fight back anyway they can. If people don’t like you, they will leave as quickly as they can when a better option comes along. Facebook’s contempt for their own customers reminds me a lot of Blockbuster and I predict things will not end well for them.

Good riddance to any company that treats their customers badly.