Thursday, October 23, 2008

"White People Like Netflix?" Say Wha???

A little while ago I stumbled onto a satirical blog primarily composed of Stuff White People Like ( Its author has compiled a list of 110 plus things that supposedly are liked by all white people, suggesting that other raced don't. Whether this is completely true or not probably cannot be definitively proved, nor should it be.

To me, this delightfully weird -- and very popular -- blog is a spoof of all of the "Top 10" lists floating around. While claiming to be scientific, the entries have a very definite toungue-in-cheek nature to them. All of the items on the list have attracted lengthy strings of reader comments, many of which attract comments on their own.

While I cannot attest to the rightness or wrongness of every item on the list, two I see as worthy of a response.

#39 on the list is Netflix, the DVD rental by mail business in the US. This item has attracted over 300 comments since its appearance in January of this year, including some posted today. Obviously, there are people who love Netflix (I fall in that category), those who don't, and some who basically are saying "What's the big deal, anyway?"

I have been a Netflix member since December 2006. Since then, I have rented over 200 DVDs from them. Almost without exception, the replacement disks arrive in my mailbox exactly two days after the disks I am returning go in the mail.

Some of the comments I read came from people who experienced delivery problems, etc. I wonder how many of those people actually read their e-mail? (In order to sign on as a Netflix customer, an active e-mail address is required.) This is a Netflix strength that they don't promote enough: Netflix does not leave its members in the dark about things we need to know.

The way it works is this: say I send a disk back on Monday. It normally arrives at the nearest distribution center early on Tuesday morning. As soon as it has been processed by Netflix Receiving, an automated e-mail message is sent to my in box confirming its receipt. Then, later that same day, when its replacement disk is ready to go into the mail, a second e-mail message is automatically sent, announcing which DVD is coming, and when they expect it to arrive. On occasion, the next disk isn't immediately available locally. Rather than make me wait for it to show up locally, Netflix forwards the shipment order on to whichever distribution center has it in stock. Then, they send an e-mail apprising me of this fact, including where it will be coming from, and their estimate of when it should arrive. I have had this happen a few times, and, regardless of the extra distance it has to travel, every time, the disk has arrived on the day they estimated.

Still, this tongue-in-cheek, all-in-good-fun look at Netflix leaves me with one question: how do other races feel about Netflix?

As to the other item on the list that I can comment on (#52, Sarah Silverman) I will blog about after the latest installment of her show later tonight on Comedy Central.)

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