Monday, January 21, 2008

Dear Netflix...

So, Netflix,

I know we’ve been through a lot together, and I really appreciate that. I mean, you told me I wouldn’t like National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze and I doubted you. You know what? You were right. I should have listened. But that’s just one bump in the long road of life. I thought we were doing good, despite my one moment of weakness.

Last week, you wrote me and told me that you wanted to be with me forever – sort of. You said that, since you loved me so much, I could now view unlimited movies online. No waiting for the mailman, no hassle about your place or mine. You promised to be there for me, whenever I wanted you. All I had to do was reach out and click.

And tonight? Tonight I turned down the lights, lit some aromatherapy candles, and slipped into my robe for a long night with you. Watching your pixels flicker into the wee hours, enjoying the sound of your voice. Tonight, I was going to embrace my new unlimited access to your treasure trove of entertainment.

But then you told me I had to upgrade to Windows Media Player 11. Upgrade? Last week, you wanted me just the way I was, but now that you’ve opened yourself to the world, my Media Player 10 isn’t good enough for you? I run on XP Media Center Edition, Netflix, I can’t upgrade to Media Player 11. I’d have to buy a new operating system, at which point I may as well just buy a whole new computer. I never figured you for the gold-digger type, Netflix.

“But wait, my love”, you said. “Click here for support. I can give you instant answers! Instant gratification”. And being the fool that I am, I believed you. But your instant answers kept going in circles. Never leading me anywhere, nary an “Email Us” link or form in site. You kept assuring me that all I had to do to enjoy your warm online embrace was upgrade to Media Center 11, and really, I thought we already covered that.

At last, though, you gave in to me. Sitting there, glowing like a promise from the cyber angels who crafted you… Your digits. Eleven numbers, three dashes, not necessarily in that order. You wanted me to call. You wanted to talk to me, help me work through our problems with us. You told me I could call until 2 AM Eastern. You’d stay up late for me and risk getting in trouble with the boss in the morning when you were all groggy from staying up all night, sucking down coffee to chase the dreams of our night together from your mind. You told me I’d only have to wait about a minute. You would be there for me!

I clutched the phone in my sweaty hand and trembled out your number across the keys. I heard your sonorous voice, a promise of fulfillment, telling me that my expected wait time was in excess of …. TWENTY SIX MINUTES? Are you totally batshit? I refreshed the help page, there must be some mistake. Sure enough, it said you were still waiting, that I would only have a minute to wait.

But it also said I could call 24 hours. Netflix, are you bipolar or something? First it’s 2 AM, now it’s 24/7? One minute it’s just a single minute to wait, the next it’s an excess of twenty six, and then it’s a minute again? Are you just screwing with me, here?

Sorry. I let my temper get the better of me for a minute there. Anyway, I just wanted to write you this letter to let you know that you are a horribly duplicitous bitch. I’m incredibly disappointed with you now, but I’m not going to do anything crazy like call up my bloated old ex, Blockbuster. I’m going to give you your 26 minutes, then I’m going to give you a piece of my mind and see if we can’t find some common ground that doesn’t involve me shelling out a couple hundred bucks and you taking it to your other boyfriends and using my wad of hard-earned cash to mop up some other dude’s digital spunk.

Yours, with waning love,

~ Colin

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