Your Blockbuster guy is really Movie Cupid

December 5, 2008

In tough times, perhaps the maxim “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is even more true.

In the eyes of Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes, your local video rental joint is a kind of temple for story-loving consumers anxious to find just the cinematic gem they most desire, so they can “Go Home Happy.” That’s what makes it different than online video rental shop Netflix, right, Jim?


Given the economic concerns, and as you eye staff costs, might you perhaps automate the in-store movie checkout process? Maybe eliminate the kid behind the counter?

Jim Keyes:

This is an art – it’s movie matchmaking. It’s a very important art that we are trying to bring back into our culture, rather than replace with a computer. And we think actually it represents a point of differentiation for Blockbuster to have that person at point of sale to talk to…  So it’s actually quite the opposite. Much of the savings that we have found in other areas we have been trying to redeploy back into the store to enhance the store labor.

What’s that you say, dear reader? Your local Blockbuster’s employees are more like teenage mallrats than movie matchmakers? Tell it to his boss. Or in our case, his boss’s boss’s boss.

Reuters: But my guy at my blockbuster isn’t quite there yet…

Jim Keyes:

He’s not there yet? We’ve got a little training opportunity? (he laughs, while quietly pulling out his Blackberry). Which store is it?

Reuters: Forest Hill, New York (just east of Manhattan)

Second Reuters Reporter: Yeah that’s not a very good one…

Keyes: (Still smiling, but quickly thumbing his Blackberry)

I think we can handle that.

(Dear Forest Hills Blockbuster employees: Ummm, Sorry. All the best, Reuters)

(Photos: Keyes, Reuters; Employees,


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

[…] to worry: Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes has a marketing scheme so crazy it just might work. Those dead-eyed employees working in his stores across the country? While they are veritable […]

Posted by Why You Should Rent Instead of Netflix: For the Customer Service, Duh! / Jossip | Report as abusive


It appears as if blockbuster has already started the website

Interesting concept!


Posted by Zina | Report as abusive

sorry, I think the website is


Posted by Zina | Report as abusive

No Zina, mmatchmaking and moviematchmaking is NOT Blockbuster. It’s a guy who has been infringing on my intellectual property rights of moviematchmaker. For you to know that his site exists makes me think that you are associated with him and this was blatant advertising on your part.

Posted by RW | Report as abusive