Update: When Netflix opened up in Canada I cancelled my Zip.ca membership. While the service was ok it is not near as convenient as Netflix.ca and streaming.
It has been three weeks since I left Blockbuster and started trying out Zip.ca for DVD rentals. It has been an interesting change to go from wandering around a Blockbuster store to choosing movies online.
For some people wandering around the video store looking for a movie to rent is part of the experience. As a parent of two little kids it is a testing of patience! Moving to an online movie rental is much easier. There are no fighting kids, no distractions from the hundreds of movie titles with each kid wanting to get something different. I will often sit with the laptop on the couch and my son or daughter will look through the movies on the website for movies to add to our list. Gives them some choice while I have less headaches.
Getting movies in the mail is great, delivered right to my mailbox. This is a great bonus now that it has snowed and cold it seems even better. The closet mailbox to send them back is only a couple of blocks away and I pass it regularly when I go out for walks. Makes it easy to send the movies back.
Price wise renting movies online is probably not much cheaper than going to the video store. Sure there are no late fees and no annoying customer service people at the local rental store, but a break down of the cost of renting each movie is probably about the same. The price difference might come from not wasting a great deal of time wandering around the rental store or the gas that it I would have used before.
There are some things that take getting a little used too. With Zip.ca you can add movies to your list, and place an order that you would like to get them in, but you may not get the movies that you want at any one time. They ship what they have available, so you might not always get what movie you really want to see that week. If you are wanting the latest release you might be disappointed. This might get better when they start to offer streaming, but that is yet to be seen.
Shipping takes time. You go to the video store you usually walk out with something to watch that day. Movies delivered to your door takes time. Canada Post does its best to move mail across the country, but depending where you are you could be waiting several days for your movies to arrive. On average we have been waiting four days from the day the movie ships to when it arrives. All of the movies have shipped from Ontario so far, but they are being returned to Calgary. If they were being shipped from Calgary they might show up faster. I would guess that people in Ontario get their movies a little faster. Four days to go from Ontario to Regina is not bad.
For now I will keep using Zip.ca. The selection of movies is alright and we are not always in a rush to get the latest release. I am also curious about the streaming service that they are suppose to be offering sometime before the end of the year. There has not been a lot of details released about the streaming service except that it is coming. Hopefully I will be able to access it with my account level. Streaming from Zip.ca could easily move Zip.ca ahead of regular movie rentals.
My cell phone is nothing special, certainly not when you hold it up to a smart phone like an iPhone or an Android phone, but it does the basics plus I can surf and check email. Using Opera Mini has made that much more enjoyable. I have been tempted to get a smart phone recently and seriously looked at a new iPhone, but in the end I could not justify it. Here are some of the reasons NOT to buy a new iPhone just in case you are contemplating getting one.
- Apple – Apple and their app store are ridiculous. Read TechCrunch any day of the week to see how dumb Apple is being about the app store to get an example. If I am buying the iPhone I should be able to install what ever applications I want on it, just like a computer. I don’t need Apple dictating to me what I should or should not be able to install.
- Rogers – I got sick of cell phone contracts a long time ago after Sasktel screwed me over on a three year contract. I will never again get a cell phone contract with any company. Selling my soul to Rogers for an iPhone is one of the biggest reasons to never buy one. Just take a look at the ridiculousness of their data plans. Hell will have to freeze over before I ever sign up with a Rogers plan. This is also the main reason to never get a Android phone, they are all on Rogers as well.
- Apple Culture – Ok this one is hard to explain. In some ways it is similar to the first reason not to buy an iPhone, except it has more to do with the people that worship the ground that Steve Jobs walks on than it does with the company. To these people Apple can do no wrong, where the reality is Apple is no better than Microsoft, Dell, HP etc. The culture behind Apple and its products disgusts me and I want nothing to do with it.
I know there are plenty of people out there that will disagree with me about the iPhone, but I know one thing, it is not for me. I would be interested in trying out an Android powered phone, except for that problem about them all being on the Rogers network. I wish cell companies would realize that I should be able to use what ever phone I want on their networks just like I can buy any phone to use on my landline. I suppose that is to much to ask for yet.
When we moved to Regina I thought it would be nice to be close to a movie rental store like Blockbuster. It had been at least six years since I had lived in the city and I was certain that the local BlockBuster would have a better selection of movies than the gas station down the street. Well it has been roughly a year and while the BlockBuster did have a few more movies than the gas station down the street in the town we used to live in it came at a cost.
The gas station only charged $.99 to rent a movie in the town we used to live in. Ok they did not always have the latest release, but there are not new kids movies coming out every week anyways. A new release at BlockBuster you are looking at over $5.00. Even older family movies are $1.99 and then they try to convince you to rent it for a week with a rude customer service person that gets annoyed at you for turning them down. I guess that is the cost of living in the big city, but it does not mean I have to like it.
Why do people put up with late fees any more? The last movie I rented from BlockBuster I returned the day it was due after supper. I would have dropped it into their return slot around 6pm. Was it late, I suppose so. Went to rent a movie tonight and there is a late fee on my account for that last movie. It was not checked back into their system until after 11pm! It is not the amount of the late fee that is the problem. It was an extra day rental of the movie, but I am tired of late fees being charged to my account, especially when it took them five hours to check the movie back in. No more! Most of the movies the kids like to rent I can find at the library and for newer ones I am going to look into a subscription to Zip.ca. They are like Netflix in the US. DVD’s by mail. Send them back when you are done and get another one. Is it more expensive that Blockbuster, not considering that I never have a late fee to worry about!
The other big reason I am never going back to BlockBuster is just the sheer lack of customer service! I am sick and tired of rude customer service representatives. No wonder BlockBuster as a company is in the toilet. When you treat all your customers as if they are criminals then you will not have customers for very long. They must take their customer service training from the RIAA in the US!
So goodbye BlockBuster, I will not miss you! Hello Zip.ca! I look forward to trying your service and never paying a late fee again. I just wish Zip.ca had a streaming option like Netflix does. I have heard it is coming, that will make them pretty much perfect! If you try them out try entering the Redeem Code TWITTER to extend your free trial. I’ll let you know how it goes.