October 15, 2004

We all know how the late fees work at every video rental place in the world. You rent a few movies, keep them too long, they charge the late fees to your account, and then you pay those the next time you rent movies. This is the unwritten agreement between all movie renters and rental places that was established right from the infancy of the video rental industry.


Several years ago -- this was in 1994 or 1995 -- we had a late fee at Blockbuster. It was about three dollars and change, as I recall. Within three weeks of that late return, we received two bills in the mail, and a collections call from the store. Can you believe that they would spend the time and effort on that?

It really was both insulting and a pain in the ass.

Now, I have two rules that I use in self-censorship: I don't write something that will potentially get me fired, and I don't make fun of Mrs. theskinnyonbenny. I would prefer not to have any censorship on my site, but you can see why these two rules are necessary.

I mention that, because when (and I'm not making fun here), Mrs. theskinnyonbenny got the phone call, she flew off the handle. She jumped in the car, flew down to the store, paid the late fee, and tore up her card and left it on the counter. I think all of this took place during the time it took me to take a shower.

Blockbuster Stock Chart from

Since then, we haven't gone back to Blockbuster. They passed up about 10 years of video rentals for that three dollar and change fee. Let's take a look at their stock over that period. Not too good, is it? And did you know that they lost five dollars per share last reporting period?

I would like to thank all of you who have honored our boycott over the years. Let's keep it up, and watch Netflix and others run Blockbuster out of business altogether. If you are still renting from Blockbuster, why don't you check out Netflix.