When Netflix announced all its changes a couple of weeks ago, people said they were deliberately trying to kill their DVD business, starting with the incredibly stupid name. And y’know, that conversation was fun and entertaining and I sort of thought it was humorous: Oh, look, we’re killing our own business on purpose.
Now I’m not so sure it’s a joke.
First of all, the last two discs I’ve received have been damaged and unplayable and needed to be replaced. My prior history of damaged discs is: One in October 2010, one in October 2009, one each in July and March of 2009, one each in 2008, 2007 and 2006. In other words, damaged discs since the announcement equals MORE than damaged discs in 4 of the past 5 years.
Second of all, let me tell you about Prince of the City.
Prince of the City is a 1981 movie that is not obscure. It was Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated. It was directed by Sidney Lumet. It has a 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was highly recommended to me so I put it at the top of my queue.
It’s a two disc set because it is VERY LONG (167 minutes, which is like, days). We watched disc one, popped in disc two: Unplayable. Damaged, scratched, skipping, dreck. So I reported it damaged and shipped it. When my replacement arrived, we sat down to watch and discovered they’d sent disc one. Aggravated, I went to the website to report the mistake, but now the website didn’t say “Disc One” and “Disc Two” as it had before, now I could only report “Prince of the City.” I did report it, but I wasn’t sure that actually worked, so I phoned.
As always, the rep was very nice. I explained the issue and he said he’d make sure disc two was sent. Then he put me on hold and came back and said disc two isn’t available. “I hate to be the bringer of bad news,” he said. It’s “rare” and “out of print” and the damaged one I had must have been the very last copy. Why, I asked, did you send me disc one if that was the case? Did you think that would help? Do you know I’ve seen HALF A MOVIE?
He didn’t offer to find it from another shipping location. He didn’t offer a free month or a free day or a free anything. All he did was commiserate. And I’ve still seen half a movie. Half a LONG movie that I’ve already invested a lot of my life in.
Meanwhile, my Netflix queue shows that my disc was “reported mislabeled.” It was not. It very clearly said “Disc One” on the envelope and the disc. Apparently, they purposely sent me the half of the movie I’d already seen, imagining that somehow worked as an effective substitute. And, my queue also tells me that disc one is again on its way to me. Oh, goodie.
Netflix, please, just set your warehouse on fire. It will be easier.