New NetFlix User

We finally broke down a few weeks ago and got a Netflix account, after finally getting fed up with local video stores. I know – we’re a little behind the times in certain areas.

I have to say, I’m enjoying the experience.

On the average we rent about 2-3 movies every other week. That comes down to around $16-$24 for 4-6 movies a month. Inevitably, we will wind up with late fees, due to either not having time to watch everything within the allotted time frame, or just plain forgetting that the movie is around.

We joined the “three at a time” plan at the beginning of the month, which runs us $17.99 a month. Since October 30, we’ve had 11 movies delivered right to the house (between all 5 of us). Without Netflix this would have run us $44 for the month of November – not counting late fees. We paid $17.99. A 59% savings for the month.

Normally, I’m not the person worried about saving money in the house. Its one of those things that I’ve never really cared about, as bad as that might seem. My thing has always been convenience. So lets talk about the convenience that I’ve received by using NetFlix over the conventional “go to the rental store and find a movie to watch” experience.

Here’s how the normal experience would go:

  1. Family decides they are excruciatingly bored and we should rent movies
  2. Family gets into car, goes to movie rental place
  3. One or more of family “knows” there was a movie they wanted to see, but for the life of them cannot remember what it was
  4. Family goes through the “new release” section because they are positive that there will be something there that they haven’t seen there that might look interesting
  5. Family cannot find anything that looks remotely interesting
  6. Ron or Jonna remember some movie that they saw when they were kids that they would love to see again and expose the kids to the “fine art of older movie making”.   (Lets use Scanners as an example).
  7. Family goes to the “fine art of older movie making” section, finds “Horror”, finds ‘S’, and Scanners is not there
  8. Someone goes to the counter to find out whether they actually have the movie at the store
  9. Clerk says they definitely have it, and walks us back to the Horror / S section and proceeds to look for the movie in the exact place we didn’t find it
  10. Clerk cannot find it either, shrugs their shoulders, and says it must be in another section and goes back to checking out customers
  11. Family goes through debate as to what everyone wants to see. One picks something, the others don’t want to see it. This goes on for a bit
  12. Family walks out with no movie – or some movie that no one really wants to see
  13. Family member who remembered there was “a movie” they wanted to see still can’t remember

In all, a good 60 minutes (at least) has passed and we walk out unsatisfied.

Now, since the first of the month, every time someone thinks of a movie they want to see, either Jonna or I  go to the NetFlix site and add it to the queue. Our sudden remembrance is recorded and queued to be delivered to the house – asynchronously. No clerks to deal with, no long lines, no late fees.

Here’s a great example. A few weekends ago, Jonna and I were watching the 100 Scariest Movie Moments on Bravo. We are both horror movie buffs, so there were quite a few gems that we knew we definitely wanted to see. I sat with the laptop and added the movies to the queue as we decided we wanted to see them. We got two pretty amusing films: Slither and Rest Stop – two movies we would not have found otherwise.

A few other movies we rented that we would not have agreed to rent otherwise:

  • The Aviator – excellent movie on the life of Howard Hughes
  • Blood Simple – An amusing little thriller that I added to the queue when someone mentioned it in casual conversation. I really liked this movie, though it could have moved a little faster
  • Roger & Me – This was the only Michael Moore movie I had not seen. I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would have.
  • I finally saw Scanners again. What a great movie – as cheesy as it is.

Here’s the bottom line for me – and the base value that I’m getting out of our membership so far. I don’t have to remember these things any more. I have a place where I can just queue things up as we think of them and when they come its a pleasant surprise. We don’t have to wander around the video store anymore and waste time trying to find something that is “there but miscategorized”, and I don’t have to be on a schedule to watch the movies I’ve rented. If I dawdle, I just don’t get the next thing in the queue.

Finally, Netflix has gotten me one step closer to that dream state that I’ve been thriving for – the ability to do all of the things we normally do without ever having to leave the house.

Now – if only PeaPod served our area and my employer would institute a virtual office policy …

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