Photo of what Blockbuster execs are watching right now.
Blockbuster seemed to go out of its way to avoid learning from Netflix. They discontinued older movies to save money, ignoring that Netflix's massive back catalog was a huge part of its success. And while Netflix can be streamed on everything from your Xbox to your toaster, Blockbuster offered streaming exclusively to Motorola phone owners and TiVo users, presumably because brands destined for obscurity need to roam in packs, like buffalo.
You can't even call it rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic, because the Titanic at least had customers who wanted to be there before the whole iceberg thing. Blockbuster could have stocked every movie in existence, and customers still wouldn't have wanted the hassle of picking up and returning movies. You have to put pants on for that!
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Otherwise it would be a very different kind of video store.
Kmart, meanwhile, tried selling credit cards to keep the lights on. Dylan explained that the worse things got, the more they turned to plastic for salvation. "At the end of every purchase, we needed to ask if they wanted to get a Kmart credit card. Phone number? Zip code? What about your email for great deals? Rewards card? Want a rewards card linked to your credit card? All that. Some people just drop what they have and leave the store."
Failure wasn't an option, but it was also inevitable. "If they need someone to let go, it's going to be the person who couldn't get people to sign up for a free rewards card. Kmart is really trying to tie in brand loyalty with these, and it makes people angry."
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"Tell your co-worker I know a better place you can put those carts."
Did you notice that brand loyalty is a recurring theme here? It's like someone trying to hold a failing relationship together, except while they refuse to keep a job or hit the gym, there's someone single, sexy, and rich wooing their mate. "[Cards] scare people away," said Ashley. "The only people who get them are the people who already have Walmart and Costco savings cards; the people who shop around."