Why does Columbia House still exist?

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Aaron J. Bossig, Oct 8, 2004.

  1. I happened to look over Columbia House's website today. With all
    the options we have available now- Netflix, DeepDiscountDVD, numerous
    online retailers and B&M stores, what group does CH cater to these
    days?

    It used to be that they made movie shopping easy for VHS users, since
    they delivered the titles right to your door, and you could build a huge
    movie collection with their catalog... but DVD is much more of a sell-
    through format than VHS was, and web-based stores provide all the benefits
    of the catalog, plus more.

    What keeps them in buisniness these days?

    --

    Aaron J. Bossig

    http://www.GodsLabRat.com
    http://www.dvdverdict.com
     
    Aaron J. Bossig, Oct 8, 2004
    #1
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  2. "Aaron J. Bossig" <> wrote in
    message news:...

    <<I happened to look over Columbia House's website today. With all the
    options we have available now- Netflix, DeepDiscountDVD, numerous
    online retailers and B&M stores, what group does CH cater to these
    days?>>

    <<It used to be that they made movie shopping easy for VHS users, since
    they delivered the titles right to your door, and you could build a huge
    movie collection with their catalog... but DVD is much more of a sell-
    through format than VHS was, and web-based stores provide all the
    benefits of the catalog, plus more. What keeps them in business these
    days?>>


    Doesn't Columbia House still offer new members a bunch of DVDs for an
    initial low price and then some specials on purchases made after the
    membership requirement is fulfilled? That tired old come-on may appeal
    to some people, but I would get tired of waiting for things to arrive.

    I would also go nuts dealing with Optional Purchases, Savings Codes,
    Preferred Status Numbers, Preferred Membership conversions, discount
    codes, enrollment titles, backorders, rainchecks, credit card screw ups,
    delayed shipments, lost shipments, incomplete shipments, incorrect
    shipments, customer service representatives, long and involved telephone
    calls, high shipping charges, damaged merchandise returns etc.

    However, some people feel that it is worth the hassle involved to save a
    few bucks with Columbia House. But working Columbia House for maximum
    savings requires a lot of time, effort and expertise. If there is one
    little mistake or oversight in your sign up procedure or DVD order, you
    get screwed.

    For those who are just starting out, collecting DVDs at an average cost
    of $10 each is a good deal. Those of us who started our DVD collections
    during the early days of online giveaway programs achieved similar
    savings, but it was far easier for us to order and we got much faster
    delivery.

    Right now, there are very few DVD titles that I want to buy. I just go
    to Wal-Mart and Costco for new releases and then to Best Buy for
    everything else. And I rent exclusively from Netflix. The time that I
    save by avoiding Columbia House can be used for watching DVDs.
     
    One-Shot Scot, Oct 8, 2004
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Some people do this:

    Step 1: Apply for an account by selecting 5 enrollment titles
    Step 2: buy the required (if you don't pay tax, it can be low as $22.94 x 4)
    Step 3: cancel account after you have done your required (or after use of
    funcash)
    Step 4: repeat

    I've never had a headache dealing with them. They send me something wrong I
    just log in and request a postage paid return label and send it back.
     
    Michael Walker, Oct 8, 2004
    #3
  4. Aaron J. Bossig wrote:

    > What keeps them in buisniness these days?


    VHS survivors, trying to apply the old rules, and who don't know any
    better. Seriously.

    Derek Janssen (who'll confess to being suckered too, but this was much
    earlier in DVD's history)
     
    Derek Janssen, Oct 8, 2004
    #4
  5. One-Shot Scot wrote:

    > Doesn't Columbia House still offer new members a bunch of DVDs for an
    > initial low price and then some specials on purchases made after the
    > membership requirement is fulfilled? That tired old come-on may appeal
    > to some people, but I would get tired of waiting for things to arrive.


    CH arrives in your junk mail, whereas Amazon and DeepDiscountDVD do not.
    Ironic that written material is the chief method by which they attract
    idiots.

    > I would also go nuts dealing with Optional Purchases, Savings Codes,
    > Preferred Status Numbers, Preferred Membership conversions, discount
    > codes, enrollment titles, backorders, rainchecks, credit card screw ups,
    > delayed shipments, lost shipments, incomplete shipments, incorrect
    > shipments, customer service representatives, long and involved telephone
    > calls, high shipping charges, damaged merchandise returns etc.
    >
    > However, some people feel that it is worth the hassle involved to save a
    > few bucks with Columbia House. But working Columbia House for maximum
    > savings requires a lot of time, effort and expertise. If there is one
    > little mistake or oversight in your sign up procedure or DVD order, you
    > get screwed.
    >
    > For those who are just starting out, collecting DVDs at an average cost
    > of $10 each is a good deal. Those of us who started our DVD collections
    > during the early days of online giveaway programs achieved similar
    > savings, but it was far easier for us to order and we got much faster
    > delivery.


    In the old days ('99-'00), back when the entire online DVD industry
    consisted of two or three sites just coming out of a private niche
    market, newbies still didn't trust the Amazons and the DVDExpress's--

    They did, however, trust CH's old-school rental-clearance marketing for
    VHS tapes--Unfortunately, since there *were* no DVD's being sold at
    rental prices, CH wasn't offering anything different that the rest of
    the market didn't already offer, and at regular prices.
    Still, oh, how those CH'ers would DEFEND how many ways you could
    "strategize" out a whole program of getting back your savings on those
    first 5 DVD's...The clinging was downright religious.

    Derek Janssen (no, really!--Y'see, if you buy a two-disk, you can count
    *that* as two disks, and take the 30%...)
     
    Derek Janssen, Oct 8, 2004
    #5
  6. Aaron J. Bossig

    Stan Brown Guest

    "Aaron J. Bossig" <> wrote in
    alt.video.dvd:
    >
    >What keeps them in buisniness these days?


    They're very convenient for people just starting out on DVDs. If you
    buy carefully, they're even reasonably priced.

    And there are still many millions of people who are not on the
    Internet, or are on it but barely know enough to send e-mail. e-
    tailers don't appeal to such people.

    Finally, as we've seen here and on misc.consumers, while CH may
    appeal to people who read the rules and think about how to maximize
    their received value, it also appeals to the stupid, to people who
    never read past "8 DVDs for a penny!" and sign up. Nobody ever yet
    went broke underestimating the average person's intelligence.


    --
    Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
    http://OakRoadSystems.com
    Fortunately, I live in the United States of America, where we are
    gradually coming to understand that nothing we do is ever our
    fault, especially if it is really stupid. --Dave Barry
     
    Stan Brown, Oct 8, 2004
    #6
  7. Aaron J. Bossig

    Richard C. Guest

    I just obtained 11 new (current) DVDs for only $136.50 including all
    shipping, etc.
    That is only $12.40 each! THAT is why they exist.

    ===================================
    "Aaron J. Bossig" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I happened to look over Columbia House's website today. With all
    > the options we have available now- Netflix, DeepDiscountDVD, numerous
    > online retailers and B&M stores, what group does CH cater to these
    > days?
    >
    > It used to be that they made movie shopping easy for VHS users, since
    > they delivered the titles right to your door, and you could build a huge
    > movie collection with their catalog... but DVD is much more of a sell-
    > through format than VHS was, and web-based stores provide all the benefits
    > of the catalog, plus more.
    >
    > What keeps them in buisniness these days?
    >
    > --
    >
    > Aaron J. Bossig
    >
    > http://www.GodsLabRat.com
    > http://www.dvdverdict.com
     
    Richard C., Oct 8, 2004
    #7
  8. Aaron J. Bossig

    Richard C. Guest

    "Michael Walker" <> wrote in message
    news:Spq9d.51314$...
    > Some people do this:
    >
    > Step 1: Apply for an account by selecting 5 enrollment titles
    > Step 2: buy the required (if you don't pay tax, it can be low as $22.94 x
    > 4)
    > Step 3: cancel account after you have done your required (or after use of
    > funcash)
    > Step 4: repeat
    >
    > I've never had a headache dealing with them. They send me something wrong
    > I just log in and request a postage paid return label and send it back.

    =====================
    Or, you can just stay a member for years and get excellent deals on new
    DVDs.
     
    Richard C., Oct 8, 2004
    #8
  9. Stan Brown <> wrote:

    >"Aaron J. Bossig" <> wrote in
    >alt.video.dvd:
    >>
    >>What keeps them in buisniness these days?

    >
    >They're very convenient for people just starting out on DVDs. If you
    >buy carefully, they're even reasonably priced.
    >
    >And there are still many millions of people who are not on the
    >Internet, or are on it but barely know enough to send e-mail. e-
    >tailers don't appeal to such people.

    <snip>

    That's probably a big part of it. My old auntie can't even work an
    ATM much less a computer, she doesn't even own one, but she has a VCR
    and although she's not too sure how to program it to tape shows, she
    belongs to CH -- and has for years and years -- and has all these
    movies (unfortunately they're all with old actors from her childhood
    and mostly musicals, so there's nothing I can borrow :( ).

    PL



    Paul LEFEBVRE
    londonpaul@*removethis*sympatico.ca
    Visit my website!
    http://www.geocities.com/joeyp99
     
    Paul LEFEBVRE, Oct 8, 2004
    #9
  10. >"Aaron J. Bossig" <> wrote:

    >I happened to look over Columbia House's website today. With all
    >the options we have available now- Netflix, DeepDiscountDVD, numerous
    >online retailers and B&M stores, what group does CH cater to these
    >days?
    >
    >It used to be that they made movie shopping easy for VHS users, since
    >they delivered the titles right to your door, and you could build a huge
    >movie collection with their catalog... but DVD is much more of a sell-
    >through format than VHS was, and web-based stores provide all the benefits
    >of the catalog, plus more.
    >
    >What keeps them in buisniness these days?


    At the moment I can get my CH DVDs for an average of less than CAD$9
    each, which is my incentive for joining, resigning, and rejoining.
     
    Maureen Goldman, Oct 8, 2004
    #10
  11. Aaron J. Bossig

    Jeffy3 Guest

    "Michael Walker" <> wrote in message news:<Spq9d.51314$>...
    > Some people do this:
    >
    > Step 1: Apply for an account by selecting 5 enrollment titles
    > Step 2: buy the required (if you don't pay tax, it can be low as $22.94 x 4)
    > Step 3: cancel account after you have done your required (or after use of
    > funcash)
    > Step 4: repeat
    >
    > I've never had a headache dealing with them. They send me something wrong I
    > just log in and request a postage paid return label and send it back.


    Exactly. I don't use them for DVDs but this was the best way to deal
    with them from as far back as when I first signed up to get LPs. If
    you were smart enough to quit as soon as you fulfilled your agreement,
    then you waited a few months and signed up again. The cost per unit
    was cheaper than any store, but if you stuck around past the required
    enrollment, the average price will creep up.
     
    Jeffy3, Oct 8, 2004
    #11
  12. I belong to Columbia House and successfully use it to get DVD's for
    pretty low prices.

    Of course, that depends on them having the right sale since thier normal
    prices are pretty high.

    Mike

    Stan Brown wrote:
    >
    > "Aaron J. Bossig" <> wrote in
    > alt.video.dvd:
    > >
    > >What keeps them in buisniness these days?

    >
    > They're very convenient for people just starting out on DVDs. If you
    > buy carefully, they're even reasonably priced.
    >
    > And there are still many millions of people who are not on the
    > Internet, or are on it but barely know enough to send e-mail. e-
    > tailers don't appeal to such people.
    >
    > Finally, as we've seen here and on misc.consumers, while CH may
    > appeal to people who read the rules and think about how to maximize
    > their received value, it also appeals to the stupid, to people who
    > never read past "8 DVDs for a penny!" and sign up. Nobody ever yet
    > went broke underestimating the average person's intelligence.
    >
    > --
    > Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
    > http://OakRoadSystems.com
    > Fortunately, I live in the United States of America, where we are
    > gradually coming to understand that nothing we do is ever our
    > fault, especially if it is really stupid. --Dave Barry
     
    Michael Rogers, Oct 8, 2004
    #12
  13. Aaron J. Bossig

    Richard C. Guest

    "Jeffy3" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > "Michael Walker" <> wrote in message
    > news:<Spq9d.51314$>...
    >> Some people do this:
    >>
    >> Step 1: Apply for an account by selecting 5 enrollment titles
    >> Step 2: buy the required (if you don't pay tax, it can be low as $22.94 x
    >> 4)
    >> Step 3: cancel account after you have done your required (or after use of
    >> funcash)
    >> Step 4: repeat
    >>
    >> I've never had a headache dealing with them. They send me something wrong
    >> I
    >> just log in and request a postage paid return label and send it back.

    >
    > Exactly. I don't use them for DVDs but this was the best way to deal
    > with them from as far back as when I first signed up to get LPs. If
    > you were smart enough to quit as soon as you fulfilled your agreement,
    > then you waited a few months and signed up again. The cost per unit
    > was cheaper than any store, but if you stuck around past the required
    > enrollment, the average price will creep up.


    =====================
    Not true at all.........
    The longer you stick around, the more great deals you get.
    Recent deal was buy one at regular price and get unlimited at half
    price.........
    plus 99c shipping.
    ==========================
     
    Richard C., Oct 8, 2004
    #13
  14. Aaron J. Bossig

    AceoHearts Guest

    I am a member and have been for years. I made all the required purchases
    and now I only order when they have sales. Usually if you don't order for a
    few months you get a certificate for a free movie. I also only order when
    it is free shipping. They do have some good deals, and sometimes they are
    easier to deal with than other online retailers.
    Also you can do you monthly selection online, so there is no more having to
    send the card back in every month. You can usually decline or accept 2 or 3
    months worth at a time.

    AceoHearts
     
    AceoHearts, Oct 8, 2004
    #14
  15. Aaron J. Bossig

    Jim Burgan Guest

    >>What keeps them in buisniness these days?
    >
    > At the moment I can get my CH DVDs for an average of less than CAD$9
    > each, which is my incentive for joining, resigning, and rejoining.


    I agree. Out of the 300+ DVD's I have in my collection, 30% of them came
    from Columbia House.
    I joined the DVD club shortly after they folded the Laser Disc Club
    (1997-1998 or thereabouts) and have been thru the join/quit/rejoin procedure
    many times in both the Laser Disc Club and the DVD Club.
    As mentioned by others, if you spend a little time and pay attention to the
    process and make the right decisions, you can get a boatload of DVDs added
    to your collection for $10-$12 each (US including S&H). You can probably do
    better than me because I live in Indiana and since Columbia House is located
    nearby in Terre Haute, Indiana I have to pay 6% Indiana sales tax.
    It helps if you have a good knowledge of what is discounted at Circuit City,
    Best Buy and Wal-Mart, then get the high-priced ones as premiums and buy the
    lower priced DVDs to fulfill your membership agreement.
    Some may not want to put the effort into playing the game with Columbia
    House, but those who do can really save quite a bit.
    This has been a topic many times over the years on alt.video.dvd and I've
    seen mixed emotions, but my personal experience is, if you play the game you
    can amassed a large DVD library for less at Columbia House. On the other
    hand if you don't pay attention you can get whooped pretty bad by them.
    -Jim-
     
    Jim Burgan, Oct 9, 2004
    #15
  16. Aaron J. Bossig

    Stan Brown Guest

    "Jim Burgan" <> wrote in alt.video.dvd:
    >You can probably do
    >better than me because I live in Indiana and since Columbia House is located
    >nearby in Terre Haute, Indiana I have to pay 6% Indiana sales tax.


    CH charge sales tax in New York State too.

    Not that it matters -- if they don't collect the tax we're still
    legally liable to pay it.

    --
    Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
    http://OakRoadSystems.com
    Fortunately, I live in the United States of America, where we are
    gradually coming to understand that nothing we do is ever our
    fault, especially if it is really stupid. --Dave Barry
     
    Stan Brown, Oct 9, 2004
    #16
  17. Aaron J. Bossig

    Tarkus Guest

    On 10/9/2004 4:03:49 AM, Stan Brown wrote:

    > "Jim Burgan" <> wrote in alt.video.dvd:
    >> You can probably do better than me because I live in Indiana and since
    >> Columbia House is located nearby in Terre Haute, Indiana I have to
    >> pay 6% Indiana sales tax.

    >
    > CH charge sales tax in New York State too.
    >
    > Not that it matters -- if they don't collect the tax we're still
    > legally liable to pay it.


    Heh heh. :)
    --
    "I know a taxidermy man back home. He gonna have a heart attack when he
    see what I brung him!"
     
    Tarkus, Oct 9, 2004
    #17
  18. Aaron J. Bossig

    Stan Brown Guest

    "Tarkus" <> wrote in alt.video.dvd:
    >On 10/9/2004 4:03:49 AM, Stan Brown wrote:
    >
    >> "Jim Burgan" <> wrote in alt.video.dvd:
    >>> You can probably do better than me because I live in Indiana and since
    >>> Columbia House is located nearby in Terre Haute, Indiana I have to
    >>> pay 6% Indiana sales tax.

    >>
    >> CH charge sales tax in New York State too.
    >>
    >> Not that it matters -- if they don't collect the tax we're still
    >> legally liable to pay it.

    >
    >Heh heh. :)


    Yes, I know. but I think it's only a matter of time till there are
    audits. I predict states will have the right to subpoena sales
    records of e-tailers that ship to a customer in the state, and will
    then come after the customers. I predict further that there will be
    little or no advance notice of this -- the first most people will
    hear is when they get a letter from their state demanding tax,
    interest, and penalties.

    New Yorkers were zinged this past April with a line-item on out IT-
    201 to write in either the actual amount of unpaid use tax or the
    number from a helpful table. If there was any warning that this was
    coming, I missed it -- so of course like most people I didn't have
    detailed records[1] and had to use the table amount.

    This year I'm keeping records, you betcha, and probably other New
    Yorkers who buy on the Internet are doing the same. But I bet
    residents of at least a couple of other states will get a nasty
    shock next April.

    And of course once that's on the tax form, if you don't fill it out
    according to law, it's tax evasion, filing a false return, failing
    to report tax due, etc.

    Bottom line: it's been a nice ride taking the "Internet discount",
    but states are desperate for money and I think the loophole will be
    closed as son as they think of a way to get around the Supreme Court
    decision. With this much money at stake they _will_ think of a way.


    [1] I do have records of what I bought, of course -- but only of my
    cost, not of the breakdown between product (taxable) and extra
    profit^W^W S&H (not taxable).

    --
    Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
    http://OakRoadSystems.com
    Fortunately, I live in the United States of America, where we are
    gradually coming to understand that nothing we do is ever our
    fault, especially if it is really stupid. --Dave Barry
     
    Stan Brown, Oct 9, 2004
    #18
  19. Aaron J. Bossig

    Matt Ackeret Guest

    In article <ck83k3$24tk$>, Jim Burgan <> wrote:
    >I agree. Out of the 300+ DVD's I have in my collection, 30% of them came
    >from Columbia House.
    >I joined the DVD club shortly after they folded the Laser Disc Club
    >(1997-1998 or thereabouts) and have been thru the join/quit/rejoin procedure
    >many times in both the Laser Disc Club and the DVD Club.


    I'd do this, if they had season sets of a few shows (e.g. Star Trek).
     
    Matt Ackeret, Oct 12, 2004
    #19
  20. Aaron J. Bossig

    Matt Ackeret Guest

    In article <>,
    Stan Brown <> wrote:
    >And of course once that's on the tax form, if you don't fill it out
    >according to law, it's tax evasion, filing a false return, failing
    >to report tax due, etc.


    But this has always been true, since there's always been the Use Tax
    form/line. Apparently since a few states added it to the main form a few
    years ago, the payment rate has gone way up though.
     
    Matt Ackeret, Oct 12, 2004
    #20
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