Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
Your Blockbuster guy is really Movie Cupid
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?
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.
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, Blockbuster.com)