I Love Justin from Blockbuster…

April 27, 2007 - Get free updates of new posts here

I was recently renting two movies when a woman with a thick Russian accent said:

Lady: ” I vant the lateest virsion of Lost, now ”

Justin: ” I think we have it. Let me look. Oh, but did you know that it is much cheaper and on sale right now at Target ”

Lady: “Really? Thas okay because I want it now but thanks you much times”

Bottom line: Doing what is best for your customer always works in your favor. The same is true for the web. Regardless if you lose page views or user time on your site, making the overall experience better for them makes them love you more.

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23 responses to “I Love Justin from Blockbuster…

  1. Will Kern Reply

    You have an excellent Russian accent, have you spent extended periods of time there ;-)?
    Seriously though, you are right. It is nice to see people doing what is right for the customer, because that customer is most likely going to remember the honesty you gave them, and will come back time and time again. It is all about relationship building and future transactions, not just about the now.

    Thanks you much times,
    Will

  2. Jason Reply

    It’s funny. If the manager heard that, poor Justin would have been in deep doo doo. Thats why I hate retail stores and prefer my friend the internet.

  3. Jon Reply

    I’d trust the business a hell of a lot more if they did that. Usually I feel like the employees would only direct you to a different store if they can’t provide the product.

  4. joe Reply

    sure, that makes justin a better member of society and more ethical as a whole. too bad that’s not what employers want, they want 100% loyalty to their company at whatever cost. yet most places will place a premium on employee integrity – thinking that they want upright, good peeps working at their spot. but do they see the paradox they present? they want ethical employees (who won’t steal from them and will work hard) yet they want those same employees to perusade – gasp, even lie – (an omission can definitely be a lie) to customers, hence unethical individual. i’m going off a little bit at the moment and pardon me but i think it is the stupidest double standard in the world and will contribute to the degradation of our society as a whole.

  5. Jason H. Reply

    Noah, I’m sorry, but as much as I luv u, I have to disagree with u on this one.

    If you were the CEO of Blockbuster, and you’ve just found out about Justin’s action, what would you do?

    a) Nothing
    b) Promote him to store manager
    c) fire his ass
    d) lower all of your DVD prices to match Target and Walmart
    e) non of the above

    On the other hand, if the woman has asked Justin about where she can get that DVD at a lower price or if the DVD is on sale, and Justin told her to go to Target, then I think Justin is totally awesome 🙂

  6. Jason H. Reply

    Here is a better example, imagine ythat ou own a small, mom-and-pop video store, and you’ve just found out that your clerk is telling all of the customers that the DVDs are much cheaper at Target. How would you feel?

  7. sri Reply

    Why is Justin’s action considered ethical? I think its unethical from a business perspective. He was hired on the basis that he represents whats best for the store/company.

    When he rents our new movies for $4, does he also say….by the way, if you go to a grocery store nearby, they have this DVD for $2 instead of $4. Does he also say…dont buy candies and popcorn from us, target has them for cheaper.

    While what Justin did was great, I am afraid its not the best thing to do from a business point of view.

  8. Damon Billian Reply

    I hope that the dude’s boss didn’t find out. I know that 99% of bosses would’ve fired him for doing that…

    That brings me to one question:
    Why do DVDs cost so much at Blockbuster? I would think that they could take market share away from stores like Target by making them a wee bit cheaper. I would assume that their purchasing power gives them a fair amount of pricing power (perhaps not like Wal-Mart)…

  9. joe Reply

    sri kind of inadverently nailed my point there: business ethics and human ethics are two separate things. can you live comfortably sacrificing one for the other?
    p.s. realistically, there’s a very miniscule chance justin would get fired for such a comment. assuming he’s not in piss-poor standing as an employee the most action would be a warning, if that. ahh, corporate.

  10. Noah Kagan Reply

    Jason,

    Great points but I still disagree with you. I think if you do what is best for the person they become more loyal to you. The difference between Blockbuster and a small mom-pop shop is the customer service. If the service is better and more personal than people in general shouldn’t mind spending extra money to support stores they like.

  11. Noah Kagan Reply

    Sri,

    There needs to be a balance between what’s best for the customer and what’s best for the business. Who makes the business money? The customer. So in theory doing what’s generally best for the customer should be what’s best for the business. I am not sure what the right balance is, $20 or reducing page views by 1; all I recognize is that making the person who pays you happy is in general good. Do you think that woman will remember what Justin did and come back again?

  12. Sri Reply

    Noah,

    Dont you dare go against me…EVER 😉

    I am sorry Noah….usually I worship the ground you walk upon but not in this topic.

    Same scenario…different business:
    You go to a bank to open a CD….and the teller tells you….take your money to the next door bank….they offer better rates!

    Same scenario….but in this situation, what the teller did seems to be more grave.

    Another same scenario, different business:
    Car dealer tells you not to buy a car here because he can get a better deal from dealer XYZ.
    Will you ever come back to this store now?

    Why are we only looking at price? Why cant someone charge more for convenience or add on value?

    For example, Brian could have said….”Lost? Wow, thats a great series…Do you want the directors cut or the regular edition…let me tell you the difference”

    Now you think Target would do that?

    Noah…..as i said, I disagree with you and dont u dare question me again.

  13. Noah Kagan Reply

    Sri,

    First off. If you ever disagree with you again all my future posts will be about how much I adore you and your sexy Indian chest;)

    I am NOT saying it is always right to lose business for the company. I am saying it is important to balance when to do the “right” thing for the customer.

    Let’s talk about the opposite. If the person buys from you and then goes to Target and sees the DVD significantly cheaper what do you think they will do from now on? BUY AT TARGET.

    Same thing for you Joe at your restaurant, which I may say is some of the best Sushi in La. Anyways, when you are asked if a particular dish is good is it best to lie so the person will order something expensive or recommend another dish lower priced that you think they will enjoy more?

  14. Jason H. Reply

    Sri, I’m with u on this one!

    Noah, what if in the future MyMint has a new competitor, and deep inside you know it’s much better than MyMint, would you tell all of your customers and friends to switch to your competitor’s product?
    And, what if by then, you’ve already been promoted to VP of marketing, would that make your opinion any different?

    And, I don’t disagree with that if you do what is best for the person they become more loyal to you. However, I just don’t think Justin’s action is professional at all. And, how do you know what’s best for the customer? For instance, what if that Russian woman is a retired Blockbuster employee, and majority of her retirement pension is with Blockbuster stocks, and she wants to support the company by shopping at Blockbuster.

    Damon, the reason that Target and Walmart are able to offer cheaper prices is because Economy of Scale. In other words, they have lot more shoppers and sell more volumes, which enable them to negotiate a lower price from the suppliers.

  15. sri Reply

    Noah,

    LOL. I do have a nice chest. Do you need pictures?

    Quick question:
    When you buy pringles from a gas station and then see the same pringles at 1/2 the price at Target, do u get mad at the gas station?

    Whoever buys DVD from Blockbuster are doing it for the following reason(s):

    1) Convenience
    2) Have a BlockBuster gift card that must be used
    3) Need the DVD no matter what
    4) Love Blockbuster and want to support it
    5) Just dont give a fuck coz money is just money and couldnt give a shit driving across town to save $5 bucks.

    The russian lady proved you wrong. She must be thinking to herself
    “Vy iz thiz blokebooster boy zelling me zomething i already know?”

  16. joe Reply

    jason –
    if you felt strongly enough about a competitor to acknowledge that they were better than your company, don’t you think you would switch companies yourself, rather than debate the morality of lying to/referring customers and friends?

    noah –
    i never lie about anything on the menu because I FIRMLY believe in the product and experience. i wouldn’t work there otherwise. i make recommendations mindless of price because it’s all about providing the best customer experience which leads naturally to building clientele; not using them like a brazen hooker in for a quick buck.

    sri –
    your scenarios are moot because they lack a connection to what noah is talking about.

  17. Jason H. Reply

    Damn, I just got smack’d…

    Joe, how about this scenario. Let’s say that you own a small 76 gas station, and you’ve just found out that your clerk is telling all of the customers that the 76 gas station one block away is 5 cents cheaper. How would you feel and what would you do?

    P.S. Noah and Joe, I think this is a really interesting topic, and hopefully there is no hard feeling for our little disagreement 🙂

  18. Noah Kagan Reply

    Jason,

    I love discussion, otherwise I would turn off comments. I almost prefer people to disagree with me like this post, makes writing more interesting.

  19. Damon Billian Reply

    “Damon, the reason that Target and Walmart are able to offer cheaper prices is because Economy of Scale. In other words, they have lot more shoppers and sell more volumes, which enable them to negotiate a lower price from the suppliers. ”

    Hi Jason,

    I understand that entirely. I am saying that Blockbuster probably has tremendous purchasing power because they buy so many DVDs to stock their stores, which should also give them pricing power to rival places like Target and Wal-Mart as well. BB has to buy multiple copies, some in the hundreds of copies, for each one of their retail outlets in the USA (not to mention online rentals).

    Bottom line: I am just saying that the price of a new DVD at BB shouldn’t be 8.00 more than either Wal-Mart or Target. The same goes for their used DVDs…

  20. joe Reply

    jason –
    in the spirit of what i said earlier, i’d fire the bitch and tell him to go work at the other gas station.
    then i would take him off my christmas card list.

    p.s. hard – yes; feelings – no. =) i’m glad you enjoy it too.

  21. Justin Reply

    Hey everyone, I am the JUSTIN listed earlier. Now, let me explain my situation. True, if it was a mom and pop shop I never would have said anything, but the fact is, I work for a multi-billion dollar company that, regardless of how much they jack up prices on their rentals, choose to jack prices of DVD sales higher than anyone else in the immediate area.. I am a tool for a corporation that, regardless how much I DO sell(and trust me, I have made them shitloads of money through selling onlines, rewards, etc.) it is never enough. They always want more and more. So yeah, I agree that when you are hired for a job, you are supposed to stick with a ZOMBIE-esque mindset. However, me recomending better deals in the surrounding areas actually boosts business and enables me to sell the things they actually WANT me to focus on selling, because the customer now knows he can trust me to hook them up with a great deal. So I can see both sides of the issue, but thanks for all of the input. It was pretty cool seeing all these people talk about me that I have never even met. CIAO!

    -J