Netflix is a great idea, and it sure can beat the heck out of dealing with the exceedingly surly employees at Movie Madness, our local independent video rental spot. But you need to be warned: they are going downhill. Over the past year, their service has degraded in a measurable way.

For example, we received a broken disc in the mail on November 22nd. We immediately went online and requested a replacement, a process they insist is nearly instant. Two business days later, they claim to have shipped the disc. Over a week has gone by, and the disc still has not arrived. In fact, it typically takes over a week to get another movie after you send one back. You really need to factor this in when you weigh the benefits of such a service.

Tellingly, their website will not even let you complain about slow delivery unless they claim to have shipped it more than one week ago, and regardless of your concerns, it is virtually impossible to email an actual person. Compare the reality of their service to the Netflix ad that we received in the mail yesterday. This ad proudly proclaims free delivery in about 1 business day. Really! One business day? So I called them up and asked if we could switch to the plan where you get the movies in one business day, cause that would be way better than the plan we seem to be on.

Netflix had no comment.

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