I am so tired of waiting for my top choice on Netflix to be delivered to my mailbox.
27 Dresses has been my first pick since it came out on video, but I haven’t gotten it yet.
Instead I always receive my second or tenth choice.
How does Netflix really work? Is there a mathematical science I can conquer so that what is presumably one of the finest chick flicks on DVD this season arrives on my doorstep?
I decided to call and find out.
Answer: Your call may be monitored for quality assurance.
Netflix: Thank you for calling Netflix. My name is Mark. How can I help you?
Me: Hi Mark. Do you mind if I tape record this conversation for quality assurance?
Mark: Um… No problem.
Me: Mark, I’ve been a member of Netflix since the beginning and I’ve noticed the films that I want at number one never seem to appear. I’ve had 27 Dresses as my choice since it came out on video. And it always says “long wait” or “very long wait.” Can you explain why the system doesn’t allow me to have my number one choice considering I am signed up for an unlimited two-at-a-time plan?
Mark: It depends on the availability of the title, or how many there may be floating around the system at any time. As soon as we can ship them out to you, we do.
Me: But Mark. How many videos does Netflix make of one video?
Mark: We don’t make them, we buy them. We can only buy so many copies of each title.
Me: How many copies did you buy of 27 Dresses?
Mark: To be honest we wouldn’t know… Sometimes certain studios limit the amount of videos we can buy. We’ll literally get five or 10 copies.
Me: Are there only five copies of 27 Dresses?
Mark: We don’t have a way of knowing…
Me: But Mark, what I don’t understand is that my best friend Nancy who is on the one video plan always gets her number one choice. I’m getting eight per month and I’m getting slush pile stuff. I mean, I’m getting Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and that Imax Everest flick over 27 Dresses. Should I change to a once a month plan?
Mark: …There are times based on all the criteria when customers who are on a smaller plan, [we] will send the number one video to them. Remember, they’re only getting a movie experience once or twice a month and if you compare that to people who are getting three [movies] at a time several times a month, up to eight at a time, perhaps you can understand.
Me: But that’s unfair. I’m paying more money and I don’t get to see 27 Dresses?
Mark: Right, well the thing is two titles at time unlimited… Value wise the amount of money you’re paying for the movies you’re viewing comes out to be 70 cents because you’re on a higher plan and [your friend Nancy] is paying $4,.99 or $2.50, for, again, just being given the chance to opportunity to see one or two movies an entire month.
Me: So do you even have 27 Dresses? I can’t believe I have to spend $3.99 this weekend to watch it on pay-per-view.
Mark: I agree. What we can do is give you a courtesy disc and send out the next [available movie] one on your list, so that you’ll have an extra movie to watch in the meantime because I can’t tell when 27 Dresses will be shipped.
Me: Can we get back to the possibility that only five copies could have been made?
Mark: Well that was just an example…. It’s hard to tell… Some studios do limit the amount of videos we can purchase (Mark laughs) so you have to work with what you have!
Me: Right. Well it doesn’t sound like we got anywhere…
Mark: Just know that as long as its up in the queue, they’re trying! The system knows it’s your number one choice… They are looking for a copy of that title to ship to you. But it just hasn’t happened yet.
Me: All right Mark. I’ll give you a call next week if I don’t see it in my queue.
Mark: Okay sounds good. I will get you a bonus and at least something to watch for now. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Me: Thank you Mark. ByeEnd note: At the end of my day, right before I turned off my computer, I went to my Netflix queue and there it was: a bonus video. But Mark had done the unthinkable—he had sent me 27 Dresses!