Why You Still Love Netflix After This Qwikster Screwup

Corporations are just like people, and we all make mistakes

Remember when you loved Netflix? Even you—what they call the “hidebound, skeptical Philadelphian who balks at anything new” (because what was so wrong with the old way?)—even you let yourself go and allowed yourself to, yeah, okay, love Netflix because it was just that good.

Netflix was so easy—the only question: Why was the price so low? Especially when they added the online piece and now you’re getting the DVDs in the mail and watching movies on the computer and it’s still so inexpensive … something was off.

Then the email came from Reed Hastings, who told you the gravy train was over. You want two services, Hastings said, you’re going to pay twice the price. Ah, there it is. And that’s how they do it, too—they might as well be selling smack.

But you thought about Reed Hastings and his pals clinking their glasses over their brilliant con like they were in Ocean’s Eleven and you said: “What could I do that would be the most annoying customer response to this business development? First, I could complain like I had no other purpose in life except complaining about Netflix. I could hit Facebook and Twitter and every blog and comment field I could find and savage Netflix’s new pricing structure. Next, I can choose the option they least want me to choose, which is obviously the DVD option, which I’m sure they want to phase out because who’s going to stay with DVDs when they can watch everything online? Philadelphia, that’s who.”

And you weren’t alone—it was one of those “the whole world is watching” moments. If Hastings thought he could pull this bullcrap on people, he was dead wrong because the people fought back. And then—here’s the kind of weird part—he seemed really upset about it. And really apologetic. So upset and apologetic that you started to wonder if maybe he was a little bit of a wuss.

You really started to wonder about him when he split the two services into different websites with different names, and called one of them “Qwikster.” What the hell kind of name was that? You and your friends talked it over and reached an important conclusion: It was pretty much the shittiest name Reed Hastings could have chosen. It was a combination of everything and nothing. It sounded like something that already existed, but it didn’t. In fact, it didn’t exist because it sounded so colossally stupid.

Again, everyone got on Facebook and Twitter and they were just tearing into this guy, they were brutal. But you didn’t have the heart for it, especially because, was this dude just totally clueless? You couldn’t figure it out. Did he think people would have fun switching from one site to the other, as though they’d never been online and were just being introduced to el surf? If the original price increase served as Martin Luther King Jr.-style inspiration, the Qwikster announcement took it to the Malcolm X. Revolution was coming—right to Reed Hastings’s house.

Yesterday you heard the latest: Hastings ran like crazy, the commoners/commenters bringing up the rear with their pitchforks, and yelled over his shoulder: “We are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs. This means no change … no Qwikster.”

Wise man. Yeah, he’s pretty much out Romney-ing Romney at this point, but you feel sorry for him. Remember when that red-and-white logo had such promise in it? Now it seems like this guy can’t do anything right. It’s kind of tragic if you think about it, which you do—a lot.

And you have a moment of clarity. They’re going to ask Reed Hastings to step down, and you won’t stand for it. This is the guy who started it all! You were always proud to get that red-and-white envelope. Hastings will get a better idea soon. He’s just had a bad year or two. He’s maybe not cut out for, you know, business, but he’ll figure it out. He’s your guy, and Netflix is your … company.