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Don't Make Me Do It: I'm Leaving Netflix Because I Don't Care

Netflix-Company-Splits-Qwikster-DVD-Service Remember when Netflix first began it's mail-you-DVDs service back in 1999, and people were in awe? It was brilliant. We thought, "People won't steal them, because they know where you live! I can keep it as long as I want, let it sit in its little red jacket for weeks! I can toss it in the mail for free! I can plan my movie watching weeks in advance! This is the shiznit*!"

Film buffs rejoiced. Lazy people thought about cheering, but thought better of it. And video rental stores who made their profit off of late fees wept into their autmotic rewinding machines.

And for close to a decade it was good. It was grand. We'd nod in appreciation at those carrying the deep red squares down the hallway to the mailbox. Our people. Red square toters. We did that, too, when we finally got around to it. Great service for the price. Entertainment mailed straight to your front door.

Then the streaming came, and it was a marvel. The people were thrilled and they shouted their appreciation for on demand movies they could watch at any time. What a marvel of technology. How far we have come. One can see Jim Carrey blow snot rockets on a whim. And all for a little over a ten spot a month? Miraculous, Netflix. Truly.

I have said aloud more than once, "The best 12 bucks I spend every month is on Netflix. It's such a great value. I love it." 

I would never have imagined how soon before I was thinking hard about leaving it.

But, I held on during the price hike. I get 2 DVDs and once and online streaming. The raise in fees was steep, but I still felt the price was fair for the service I so religiously used, and never once thought of ceasing service when others around me dropped Netflix with a hot quickness.

Then I got an email from Netflix's CEO, straight to my inbox, and I opened it and began to read only to become deeply annoyed. Saddened, even. What was going on with my beloved red squared movie company? Qwikster? Just typing the name alone hurts my feelings.

But I'll not get emotional here. My point is this: They are making me do something. The thing they were always so awesome at has now been made complicated and cumbersome, and now I have to act. Netflix was never about that. It was about sit back on your couch and let the movies come to you. Now I have to make a decision. Do I still want to get 2 DVDs at once? Do I still want to get DVDs at all? Will streaming be enough? How much is all this again?

And because I am lazy, I am just going to cancel. I was going to willingly pay 40% more for the same service I've always gotten, but now that they services have now split and the sites aren't cross-referenced in any way, it's going to mean lots of clicks, and even note taking to be sure I'm not overlapping films or missing movies. Who wants this? I don't want this. And it's too bad, because it was fun being a Netflix fan. Now I'm not even gonna get the red sqaures any more. I can stream elsewhere.

And if I may be so bold, I think this should be a lesson to companies everywhere. Don't make your devoted customers jump through hoops. Don't make them reconsider and reconfigure. They are already forking out their hard earned dough to you, probably automatically each month, pulled directly from their accounts. You want them to step in and create an almost ideal opportunity for them *not* to do that? That's not that smart.

So, I'm not mad at Netflix that it's over between us. I'm not leaving in a huff. I'm not slamming the door on the way out. I'm apathetic, which is part of why I'm canceling in the first place. I don't care enough to sort all these changes out. And there are thousand and thousands more people just like me.

I guess the lesson is leave the paying customers alone to keep shelling out your paycheck. Make it hard for them to do that, and expect that paycheck to shrink substantially.

*circa 1999 slang


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What she said. :-)

I had the same thought process when I cancelled my yesterday.

I'm not cutting out just yet, though I agree with the unnecessary dual queues.

I'm giving them until next summer to make the streaming content worth my while. I know it takes time to work out deals with the studios, so I'll be patient.

For a while.

I bailed a few months ago, and have been completely contented with Amazon's on-demand video options. The only thing I miss is the ability to save new release movies to a queue that will automatically hook me up with the DVDs when they come out 6mo later -- that was one of my favorite Netflix features.

Ditto. I enjoyed the streaming service for old TV shows, but I cancelled yesterday. There are so many entertainment options in the world, my $10 / month is better spent on Spotify.

A perspective coming from a very different starting point:

I have every movie channel DirecTV offers, plus their on-demand and PPV available. It costs a lot of money but, like you, I look at how many movies we watch vs the money and it is still a good investment. With this embarrassment of movie riches, I never even considered Netflix.

Then in May we were heading out on vacation, where of course our DirecTV stuff would be useless. Netflix was just pushing their streaming big-time, and it seemed like a good deal to watch movies on vacation.

Then I found that every single movie I wanted to see, new, old, whatever, was only available on DVD and not available streaming. Their streaming selection is worse than pathetic. Strike 1.

But I saw a lot of movies and TV shows I'd like to see on DVD, so when we returned I upgraded to the same deal you have (streaming + 2 DVDs at a time). Or rather, I tried to upgrade, but they wouldn't let me do so until my original 30-day paid signup period was over. WTF? Why wouldn't they take more money from me, and make me happy in the process? Strike 2.

Once I'd upgraded, it was enjoyable for a short while, but then we found that we HATED planning our viewing in advance. We got "The King's Speech", then had a rough 2 or 3 weeks during which we only wanted light escapist stuff, so it sat around gathering dust and Netflix was essentially useless to us. The Netflix DVD model just doesn't match our viewing habits. Strike 3.

And then they raised the prices dramatically; that felt like a real bait-and-switch after the barrage of advertising that got me to sign up for streaming in the first place just a couple of months before. Strike 4.

I tried hard to like streaming, thinking we'd just drop back to that. But the more I tried to find something to watch streaming, the more I found there was NOTHING we wanted to watch that was available streaming.

And that is the long-winded version of why I, only a first-time Netflix customer as of May, am already quitting them in September.

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