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Posted at 04:35 PM ET, 07/13/2011

Dear Netflix — an open letter

Dear Netflix,

How dare you!

Now I have to pay separately for all-I-can-stream and for mailbox DVDs, $8 each, rather than $10 for both?

You have jacked up the rate I must pay by 60 percent – that’s $6 a month – without adding any new value whatsoever!

King George III once did something like this, and surely you remember what happened to him! He went slowly mad and died, surrounded by men whom he did not trust and kept addressing as “My lords and peacocks.”

Who do you think you are?

I am definitely, definitely not upgrading from my 35th free month-long trial membership under an assumed name to the full, paid service if this is how you’re going to be.


Please don’t make me pay you any more money, Netflix! You already have my dignity! (PAUL SAKUMA/ - ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The only people allowed to suddenly raise prices by 60 percent without providing any additional value are the purveyors of oil. As far as I understand, they can do pretty much anything they want, including gently request that we invade them.

When anyone else suddenly raises fees like this, they have the decency to pretend that they have added some service. “This suit now has a magic, hidden button,” designers tell us. “It modulates the crinoline.” “Absolutely,” we say.

And it would have been so easy for you to do the same. “This new fee reflects added features,” you could say. “Added features available only to those who have not just marathoned all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in under a month just Because They Can.” It would be the Emperor’s New Added Feature. “Great feature!” we’d all say. “Thanks, Netflix. So worth it.”

As it stands, this is a travesty!

“But this option does provide added value!” Netflix argues. “The value of not filling your mailbox with scratchable, cumbersome DVDs!”

Do you know what we could have done with those $6 a month? I could have fixed U.S. budget deficit! I think. I haven’t been following it that closely, so my numbers might be off.

But Netflix, you realize that there are competitors. You aren’t alone in offering us those movies from the 1970s that we don’t really want to watch!

There’s Redbox, for Movies That Sort of Look Like They’re About Astronauts Based on The Tiny Picture, or, for the ladies, Movies You Once Heard Natalie Portman Was Working on But I Guess Never Hit Theaters.

There’s Blockbuster – but that’s so vintage.

There’s – there’s – uh, I supposed we could read a book, but where’s the fast-forward button?

And we can also get all this for free. True, this is not legal, and the bottom of the screen is generally covered in illegible characters, and the streaming footage of “Top Gun” ends just before you find out if Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer are going to make it work, but it’ll do, if it’s our only option. We have to make a stand!

Back in the days when video rental consisted of our forefathers clubbing Glork Who Possesses Fire Puppetry Skills and dragging him back to their caves, the possibility that we might just lie down and take this price hike without so much as sending an indignant smoke signal would have come as something of a disappointment.

Listen, “Flix,” I am begging: Do not make me pay an additional $6 to watch awful films from the ’80s with names like “Rangoon 8: More Rangoons” and “Kroopshow.” $16 a month? For access to such dubious classics as “One Night With The King” and “VeggieTales: Sweetpea Beauty” and “Roller Boogie”? That is all you have to stream, except for “City of Angels,” and I’ve seen that eight times now so the ending has somewhat lost its punch. This fee raise is adding insult to injury. You took my dignity. And now you’re taking my $6.

I’m not a captive audience, Netflix! Do you hear? I can stop any time I want, probably right at the end of the month, to resume later when I think of another alias.

To show how indignant I am at this, I am going to march down the street to my neighborhood video rental store and – ah, I see. I see what you did there, Netflix.

By  |  04:35 PM ET, 07/13/2011

Tags:  Netflix, argh

 
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