Note: This column appears in the 10/6 issue of The Glendale Star and the 10/7 issue of the Peoria Times
Last week I canceled our Netflix account.
I wanted to cancel it a while ago, but my wife was convinced it made sense to retain because: how else are we going to see any movies? She is right in that regard. Having not walked into a movie theater in ages, and overwhelmed by the bevy of DVR’d television shows we must watch, movies literally need to come to us in order for us to consider gracing them with our time and attention. (Occasionally we even read. Really!)
The reality of Netflix was, however, this: I would send a movie back, and then forget to update our queue, and so we’d get a movie we didn’t really want to see and only added to the queue to fill the queue, and thus the movie would sit on our kitchen table for weeks and weeks, burdening us with the reminder that we actually pay for this service. Then we’d finally watch it reluctantly, and my wife would say things like, “I can’t believe you picked this movie,” and “When does this end?!” and I would say, “You can pick one anytime, be my guest!” But she never would, and I would forget to update the queue again, and the cycle would refresh. (One time I ordered a faux documentary about a Dominican minor league baseball player that was 18 hours long and had subtitles. One thumb up!)
Making matters worse is the fact our DVD player stinks, and on the rare occasion we were mutually enjoying a documentary about the food processing industry, it would suddenly freeze, and then skip to another scene. “I don’t think that part was important,” I would say as my wife rolled her eyes.
I was finally let off the hook after Netflix made national news by raising its rates and causing a PR nightmare with the way they went about it. You see, here’s the thing about my wife—she’s very loyal, and she defended Netflix admirably. But if you cross her, that’s it. By raising their rates about 80 percent and doing so rather sneakily, Netflix is dead to her. I didn’t just get the green light to cancel; I had no choice. (Netflix does offer a streaming option, which would resolve the DVD player problem and price increase. But a) I’m trying to eliminate things, not learn how to do other things, and b) sayeth the wife: “They can stream their way to bankruptcy!”)
So we are now unburdened by that monthly charge that earned us, on average, 0.04 movies every 30 days. We are still left, however, with the problem of how to view movies, especially after we watch the Oscars and realize we have no idea what’s going on. I suppose I will have to use those Redbox thingees that I see all over the place. I am very much looking forward to standing in front of that big machine, feeling rushed and tense because someone is behind me, picking the wrong movie, and then watching it freeze on our DVD player.
Man, being entertained is difficult work. I suppose I could read a book, but sometimes they turn those things into movies. It makes sense to wait it out.
Okay, let's see here ... how do I search for dark mocumentaries about the finance industry?