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Distant Shipping Cuts Blockbuster Subscriber Benefits

If you have noticed your Blockbuster Online DVDs abruptly began taking an extra day or two arrive, do not jump to conclusions and automatically blame USPS for the delays. This is a case where the post office may not be at fault. The delays may be occurring because Blockbuster has chosen to ship DVDs to you from shipping centers that are far from your home.

When Blockbuster ships DVDs to you from a local shipping center, you should receive the DVDs generally within one or two days. If, however, Blockbuster chooses to ship DVDs to you from a shipping center that is hundreds of miles from your home, the DVDs may spend a few days in transit.

This extended transit time is an issue, because every extra day you have to wait for a DVD is an extra day you cannot enjoy the subscription benefits for which you are paying. In effect, the increased transit times are reducing the value of your subscription. You are paying the same amount of money each month, but receiving less for it.

Now, there is something positive about distant shipping. Perhaps, you want to see a movie that is not available at your nearest shipping center. It is nice to still be able to see that movie, even if you have to wait a couple of extra days for it to arrive. A problem could arise, however, if Blockbuster actually has the DVDs you want at a local shipping center but chooses to deliberately ship all of your DVDs from distant shipping centers with the primary intent of exploiting the extended USPS transit times to reduce the overall flow of DVDs to you. Netflix began using a similar tactic by 2005. The old Blockbuster (before the bankruptcy) was doing this as early as 2009.  

Remember, postage costs the same regardless of whether a DVD gets shipped from one mile away or a thousand miles away. Yes, having a bunch of DVDs floating around in the mail system ties up Blockbuster's inventory, but the cost reductions in processing and postage make up for that disadvantage.  Theoretically, Blockbuster could increase profits significantly just by shipping all of your DVDs from distant shipping centers. Under this throttling practice, you would get fewer DVDs each month, Blockbuster would save money on processing and postage, and you would still pay full price.

Look on your Blockbuster Online return envelopes, if the addresses are for shipping centers hundreds of miles from your house, consider contacting Blockbuster and asking them why you have to mail your DVDs to another city. If you live near a major city but your DVDs take more than one or two days to arrive, consider contacting Blockbuster and asking them why all of your DVDs are coming from so far away.

Blockbuster will tell you they sometimes ship DVDs to you from distant shipping centers to make sure you get the DVDs you want most. This may be true for some titles, but if Blockbuster is shipping all of your DVDs from distant shipping centers and having you return the DVDs to distant shipping centers, there is no reasonable excuse for this inconvenience, and there is a strong chance Blockbuster is intentionally taking advantage of you by creating artificial delays on your account (a.k.a. throttling). If you suspect Blockbuster is throttling you, consider contacting them and asking them why.

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