If you are a Blockbuster Online subscriber, you may have noticed a curious pattern of delays on your account. Sometimes, you will return a DVD to a Blockbuster store, and it will take a surprisingly long time to clear your queue. Often, you will have DVDs--that are apparently being processed--sitting in your queue for multiple days. Frequently, your DVDs will take days longer to arrive than they should have.
If these strange events are routinely occurring on your Blockbuster account, you are not just a random, unfortunate Blockbuster customer. You are most likely a victim of throttling. Blockbuster may be systemically limiting the number of DVDs you receive by employing a combination of delay tactics against your account.
Below is a summary of Blockbuster Online's more common throttling tactics. Each tactic creates only a small delay, but when Blockbuster uses two or more of these tactics together, they can easily place tight limits on the number of DVDs you can receive in any given month.
Delayed Store Check-In
If you are being throttled by Blockbuster, you may have noticed you can return a store DVD to a Blockbuster store, but it might not clear your queue for hours (or days). You may have noticed the returned store DVD almost never clears your queue in time for another DVD to ship that same day--even if you returned the store DVD as soon as the store opened. Blockbuster can use this delayed store check-in tactic to slow down your DVDs by at least one extra day.
One of Blockbuster's favorite throttling techniques is the processing delay. Blockbuster may indicate they are processing your DVD for shipment, but they will actually not ship it out until the following day. Blockbuster just claims to be processing your DVD so you will be less likely to complain. If you do complain, they will just defend themselves by saying, "We are processing your next DVD. We will ship it as soon as possible."
How long does it take to process a DVD anyway? How could it possibly take a full day or more to turnaround a DVD? There is no legitimate reason for this type of delay. The purpose is to slow down your shipments by an extra day or an entire weekend, therefore decreasing the number of DVDs you can watch for your monthly subscription fee.
If you are being throttled by Blockbuster, you may have noticed, when Blockbuster ships a DVD to you on a Monday or Tuesday, that DVD takes an extra couple of days to arrive. This is because Blockbuster is shipping DVDs to you from shipping centers far from your house. Blockbuster could be intentionally exploiting USPS transit times to ensure that your DVD takes longer to arrive at your house. Blockbuster pays the same whether they ship a DVD to you from down the street or 3,000 miles away. By shipping DVDs from remote shipping centers, Blockbuster can add days to your turnaround time and then blame USPS for the delay.
What This Means for You
By using a devious combination of multiple throttling techniques, Blockbuster has made it nearly impossible for throttled subscribers to get more than one set of DVDs in any given week. If you are being throttled by Blockbuster, expect to be hit with a variety of delays. No matter how quickly you watch and return your DVDs, it appears Blockbuster has stacked the deck against you. Blockbuster is simply not going to send as many DVDs to you as they should.
If you are a Blockbuster subscriber, know that you are dealing with a shady company that is willing to take your monthly subscription fee while providing very limited benefits. This is just what Blockbuster is doing to subscribers now. Imagine what other sorts of unscrupulous business practices Blockbuster will be employing in the future as this increasingly irrelevant company continues to lose market share to its competitors and finds it more difficult to generate enough profits to sustain its outdated and bloated business model. For Blockbuster subscribers, things are bound to only get worse from here on out.
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