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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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I switched from Netflix to Blockbuster a month or two ago. I changed, despite my considerable misgivings about entering into a relationship with Blockbuster, because you could turn every mailed DVD into a store for a free rental and they also gave you a monthly free rental coupon. I've had a hard time keeping up because I was effectively doubling my already-serious rental rate I had established with Netflix. But I'm a trooper so I've managed to do a decent job of watching six or so DVDs a week.

But it always seemed too good to be true. Netflix's plans were great deals and they didn't have the massive overhead of a retail presence that Blockbuster was saddled with. To be sure, Blockbuster's parry was masterful: they turned that retail presence into a compelling reason to switch. In the end, though, it seemed like too good of a value.

I just got the following email from Blockbuster:

Due to changes in our subscription plan pricing, your current BLOCKBUSTER Total Access™ plan Unlimited DVDs up to 3 at a time with unlimited in-store exchanges each month for $17.99 will no longer be available at the current price as of August 1, 2007.

You will be moved to our new plan that includes Unlimited DVDs 3 at a time plus up to 5 free* in-store exchanges for $17.99. This plan will not include an e-coupon for in-store DVD and/or game rentals. The new subscription plan and pricing will go into effect on your regular monthly billing date following August 30, 2007.

TANSTAAFL. I'm a little torn about what to do. My first thought is to bail and go back to Netflix. I should have known that Blockbuster would pull a stunt like this so why would I stick around for the next shafting. On the other hand, five extra, spontaneous rentals isn't a bad deal even still. Plus, it might allow me to get off the cinematic merry-go-round and not feel compelled to watch so many movies. That would leave me with more time to watch television shows!