Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
"Hastings seems to be operating under the premise that customers don't really understand what's going on; that they are angry because they think that a single business has increased its price when in fact it has merely split into two businesses that charge separately. Presumably, the idea is that making the split more definitive will make people slap their foreheads and say, "Oh, now I see. Netflix actually lowered its prices, as long as I don't buy Qwikster! And new Qwikster is cheaper than old Netflix! I'm coming out ahead, sort of, if I don't want all the services I used to get!"
The only problems with this approach are that its underlying assumptions are almost certainly wrong, and that it ignores major inefficiencies that will be introduced for customers who do, indeed, want to continue to use both streaming and DVDs. Now, if you want both, you have to go to two different sites with two different queues, you have to pay two different charges to two different entities, and in general, you have to have two different memberships. That's not psychologically better for consumers. That's buying two things which are both less helpful than the single thing you could get before.
It's like a shoe company deciding to sell right shoes and left shoes for 12 dollars each where pairs of shoes used to be 20 dollars and thinking that consumers will notice the lower 12-dollar price but not the fact that it buys only one shoe."
No, Hastings, I'm not confused. I'm pissed. This means you not only support sudden (and large) price increases, you also think I'm stupid enough to believe you when you tell me it's not actually a price increase.
Now it is no longer easy to track which DVD titles are currently available on streaming, a feature I *loved* because my DVD queue is soooo long. Sometimes titles would pop up that were available instantly. I would see that on my DVD queue, watch it instantly, and remove it from the DVD delivery list. Now I will have to manage two separate lists and check both sites before I have a DVD mailed to me.
On top of that, if we have to have two separate lists, how will the company's separate websites handle movie recommendations? Do my ratings for instant movies only help create recommendations for other instant options? Will my previous ratings of streaming and DVD titles be separated into two distinct profiles for recommendations?
It's ridiculous. I get that Netflix needs to market and plan differently for streaming versus DVDs, but they could have done that and kept the Netflix name for all their services. I was on board with the price increase, because I was willing to pay more to keep the same service (which I loved). I am not willing to pay more so I can play the shell game with DVDs. The only explanation I can come up with for this type of behavior is that Netflix actually wants everyone to drop their DVD memberships and solely support streaming.... and then down the road when enough people have eliminated the mail-order package, Netflix will drop DVDs entirely and jack up the streaming prices. I'm sure they see their DVD capital as a drag on their company's potential long-term growth... and since the red envelope is what the Netflix brand is famous for, they think renaming that part 'Qwikster' and rebranding 'Netflix' as streaming will help them down the road. The only problem with that logic, however, is that their movie choices on streaming suck. So, if anything, I'll keep the DVD package and stop subscribing to the streaming. There are WAY more choices out there when it comes to streaming, but far fewer options when it comes to cheap and easy DVDs.
RedBox and HuluPlus just got their biggest breaks ever.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
This evil contraction does not touch the eye, but approaches you slowly (ever so slowly) until it shoots a jet of pressurized air at you. All the while, you stare at this menacing little green light that flashes, flashes, flashes... until WHAMO! POW! You've just been PUFFED! You blink and tear and attempt to recover from the experience.
It normally takes 2-3 attempts total for me to get both eyes right. Once my body feels that first jet in the successful eye, it just doesn't seem to want to let me open the other one all the way. So I get all squinty. But, alas, here is my tale of the septuplet eye puffs:
Seemingly Nice But Mean Assistant (SNBMA): Ok, Miss, follow me and we'll get started...
Woman leads me into the assistant living quarters, where they administer the pain.
SNBMA: So, what seems to be the problem?
Me: I woke up on Friday morning with what appears to be pink eye, but doesn't behave like pink eye. My right eye is teary rather than gooey, and it was painful and extremely light sensitive. I may need stronger eye drops, or perhaps I have a corneal abrasion? (Yes, I used the term 'corneal abrasion' because I did my homework on WebMD beforehand like any other hypochondriac.)
SNBMA: Ok, why don't you pull up to the machine on your right.
Me: You mean the eye puff machine?
Woman chuckles and is clearly familiar with how little people enjoy this procedure.
SNBMA: Yes, please. It won't take long. (In movies, this would be the line that works as foreshadowing for the main character who is about to suffer.)
Me: Ok, no problem.
SNBMA: Ok, just stare at the flashing green dot.
I stare at the light like a good patient, but already I can feel my palms sweating and my eyes drying as if to make it impossible to NOT blink five times per second.
SNBMA: Please, open your eye wider.
SNBMA: We'll have to try that again. The machine caught your eyelashes.
I sigh to myself, because my eyelashes are extremely long... like the size of the fake ones, but twice as thick. So I'm pretty much screwed.
SNBMA: Ok, just stare at that green blinking light....
SNBMA: Open your eye wider....
*Squints, then makes 'WOW' face to trick body into opening eye.*
SNBMA: Nope, we'll have to do it again. Didn't take.
Me: Ugh... I hate this. Ok, let's do it.
SNBMA: Why don't you lean back and blink as much as you like for a few minutes and then tell me when you're ready.
Me: Ok, that sounds good.
I spend a few minutes blinking at epic speed and do one of my psych-me-up exercises I used to use before tennis matches. I can do it, I can DO IT!
Me: Ok, let's do this.
SNBMA: Great, here I come. Just keep watching the green light.... open just a little more...
SNBMA: I'm sorry about this, but we'll have to do that again.
Me: OMG, really? I mean this is the eye that's irritated... the already dried out one. It's getting harder to keep from blinking.
SNBMA: I know, but just one more and then we'll be done with this eye.
Woman readjusts machine. I watch the ever-blinking green demonic light. The machine continues to get closer. The machine moves closer than normal. Suddenly machine is in between my long eyelashes. Machine is still approaching. Machine traces inside of eyelid.
Me: Um, dude, you're in my eye! Not cool.
Woman sighs, retracts, and starts over.
Me: You know what? It would help me if you just told me when you were going to puff me so I'm not waiting in fear. Then I'll know when to really open it wide.
SNBMA: Ok, I can do that, absolutely.
SNBMA: Ok, focus on the green light. Here I come with the machine... I'm adjusting... I'm getting closer... I'm getting closer. Ok, now open your eye wide. Here it comes...
... and I'll be damned if my eye just does NOT want to open on command. Somehow, I manage to trick myself with another 'WOW' face.
SNBMA: Great, we got it. Now, the other eye....
SNBMA: Ok, I'm adjusting the machine... here I come. Now I'm ready to puff. Open wide.
SNBMA: Ok, we have to do it again, but don't worry, I'll talk you through it again. I'm really very sorry about this. Sometimes the machine just has trouble.
SNBMA: Here I come, ready? Wider.
SNBMA: Nope, we have to do that again.
Lip quivers.... eye squints uncontrollably...
SNBMA: Here I come, closer, closer. Just focus on that green light. Open your eye wider.
SNBMA: Wider, please.
Eye does opposite of body's commands and nearly shuts.
Me: I'm trying. This is stressful.
SNBMA: Ok, just take a break again. Lean back and blink as much as you need to. You just tell me when you're ready.
Psych yourself up. Come on. We can do this, eyeball. It's just air. It won't hurt you. We can do it. YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!
Me: Ok, I'm ready.
SNBMA: Great. Here we go. Machine is adjusting, still adjusting. Ok, all set. Ready for the puff? Open wider. Wider. WIDER.
Me: AHHHH! OK! OOOPPPPEEEENNNN!
Eye thinks it opens. Eye felt like it opened, at least.
SNBMA: Sigh, alright.
I get the feeling eye did not open. But woman says nothing. No excited celebratory 'we did it.' No, 'ok, we're all done.' She just rolls back in her stool, sits there for a few minutes, and stands.
SNBMA: Follow me. I'll take you to the exam room.
Me: Oh. Ok.
And thus, my experience with the eye puff machine reached a new low. I should make a note that I adore my optometrist. She is lovely and warm and has known me for years. And she's GREAT at her job. So this is not a critique of her, or of her practice. But I am not a fan of that machine, nor am I a fan of the young woman who was operating it that day, as she was visibly frustrated with my physical inabilities. Although I am thankful that she avoided blaming me for the debacle. Blaming the machine is always safe.
... even though it's her fault.
Eye patients, beware.