Netflix lag

There’s been some coverage lately on how Netflix starts to give delayed service to people who rent a lot of videos. That’s understandable; the real problem I have is how they’ve promoted the service as unlimited rentals when they work so hard to limit them. (And some of the complainers… one article focused on a guy who was on the 8-at-a-time plan who was getting 8 and returning them the same day. He wasn’t actually watching them, of course, just pirating copies. And he was complaining about how dare they not want to do everything for him since he was paying for the higher level of service when, if he had his way, his rental fees wouldn’t even cover their postage costs in handling his account.

It’s easy to ascribe any delay to Netflix throttling your account… but reality may be far different. For example, last Thursday I sent back something. On Friday, Netflix registered receiving it. Normally, they would send the next disc out the same day, but this time I just got a note saying that my next disk (Disc 1 of Mister Peepers, a Wally Cox sitcom from 1952) would ship out Monday. And today, Thursday, I received it. So were they throttling me?

Nope. In fact, the next disk I sent off actually got a returned disc before Mr. Peepers arrived, and that was the film Proof… currently a “long wait” disk. They avoid sending “long wait” item to heavy users. So why did my sitcom take so long to arrive? The clue is that they sent it Monday and it arrived Thursday. That means that it wasn’t shipping from the local facility. It’s a relatively obscure DVD set, and they probably only have a few copies in the system, and the local distribution center didn’t have any copies on hand… but an east coast one did. So they shipped it from there.

And that actually explains the delay in shipping. Normally, they process all the incoming mail in the morning, then get all the shipments ready for the outbound mail. But with the time difference between the coasts, by the time they registered my inbound disk it was too late on the East Coast to add my disk to the shipment.

Yeah, yeah, not something likely to fascinate everyone. Sorry, it was just in my brain.

Published in: on March 3, 2006 at 1:55 am  Leave a Comment  

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