Should You Rent from BlockbusterExpress?

Seemingly late to the “kiosk” DVD rental system that has made Redbox a household name, Blockbuster has launched their BlockbusterExpress kiosks found most often in QT gas stations across the country.

We’ve been faithful Redbox customers but when the Redboxes around us didn’t have the movie we wanted, we decided to try BlockbusterExpress. Here’s our experience…

  • The website, BlockbusterExpress.com is similar to Redbox. The only annoyance was that the website displayed all the locations, not just the locations that had our title instock. After scrolling through and clicking on several little pushpins, we finally found a location. This might be picky, but easily allowing customers to see the locations with the desired title first, would be helpful.
  • Purchase was a breeze, I found a free rental code online. A simple Google search should do. Only downside for you Blu-Ray fans, unlike RedBox which charged $1.50, Blockbuster charges $3.99 for Blu-Ray titles.
  • Here’s where it gets a little dicey. I fault Blockbuster and Google. Blockbuster had incorrectly listed the phone number of the QT location and Google incorrectly mapped the location to a residential neighborhood. After two phone calls to Customer Service, another check of the GPS and some driving around, we finally found the correct QT location.
  • The kiosk was outside and was just as fast as Redbox. There’s an odd “trap-door” you have to open to get the disc. If you do the right combination of leaning back and to the side, with a little squat in the middle, you can get the disc. It’s kind of like someone at Blockbuster said, “We don’t want to be identical to Redbox, so let’s make it different” – ended up just being odd.
  • The only glaring negative for me, aside from the Blu-Ray price, is Blockbuster’s case choice. Appearing to not want to “be just like Redbox” the plastic sleeve that holds the discs is solid black and requires you to slide the disc out. So why is this a big deal? A few issues:
    • The opportunity for people to damage the disc seems higher because you have to slide it in its case. People usually don’t give a rip about discs after they rent them. This increases the possibilities for scratches actually caused by the case as a customer slides it in.
    • For some reason Blockbuster left a rounded tab open on the back of the case. Take a look at the photo. This exposes about 1/2 an inch of the readable area of the disc to all sorts of potential damage. From being shoved in a purse, bag, backseat – in my opinion this again increases the chance the disc is going to be damaged.

So, should you rent from BlockbusterExpress? I would say yes, but only as a last resort.

  • The potential to get a bad disc seems greater.
  • Blockbuster charges three times more for a Blu-Ray title.

After our renting experience, we remain RedBox fans at heart. BlockBuster hasn’t lured us away. I would probably agree with industry analysts who say it’s too little, too late for the bankruptcy bound Blockbuster.

Happy movie watching!

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