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streeter

They're coming from all over the US. For classic and rare films, I don't mind that since I can understand that not all distribution centers will have a lot of copies. But last week I was sent X-Men 3, a popular new release, from far away. That really annoyed me. It saves Netflix money, so maybe they do this on purpose.

RayRay Tampa

This happens so much to me. I have started saving the envelopes. I wish I have traveled to all the locations I got them from (I am waiting for a Hawaii envelope one day !) Some of the locations as of late, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Oregon, California, New York, just to name a few of them ! I have at least 20 different DC envelopes. ( I am in Tampa Florida)
My recent request for Salems Lot & The Outsiders came from out of state.
This really hurts the bottom line for me, because I am forced to wait EXTRA 2-4 days to get my long distance DVDs.
I learned to return those DVDs to my local DC,and let them send it back ! This way they credit my account quickly and then I don't have to wait days anymore. This saves 2-4 days on the return!

Here is a trick for everyone: return any 2 movies back to your local DC in one envelope, save & stock the extra envelope. Whenever you get that "out-of-state" DVD, you can return it to your local DC. And you can easily check your queue to see if BOTH are credited! ( I have seen them not credit me one DVD, however 2 were sent in one envelope ) But that is another topic.........ugh......the fun of Netflix.....its like the lottery sometimes. You got to be in it to win it!

BoB

Hey RayRay,

I'm in Florida (panhandle) and have received 2 movies from Hawaii so far - plenty from San Jose.

It's "damned if you do, damned if you don't" I think. People used to complain that movies got skipped over because they weren't locally available and they'ed say, "I've got them in my queue in that order for a reason". Now when NF ships them in queue order, people complain.

BBO still gets hit with it. BBO is bad to jump all around the queue to send you what they have. I don't really like that. Also BBO refused to send me any discs for 2 weeks (out of 26 available now) because they had none at my local center. They eventually confirmed it thru messaging and said they would forward my compliant on.

Bottom line is you can't have it both ways. Either they skip over discs and you don't get them in order (so you may be watching series or trilogies out of order) or they ship them in order which means some may come from out of town.

My complaint with NF is that I live in Florida but rarely do I get discs from Tampa, Lakeland, Atlanta, etc. Most do seem to come farther away, including many from CA, WA state, PA, & NY.

Rusty Ramrod

This is exactly why I have been wanting a way to rate my priority for movies beyond the simple 1,2,3.....

Let's say I want Caddyshack. I would like to have it next *but* I am not willing to give up 4 or 5 days while it travels from Hawaii to here and back.

I place it in my queue at position #1, but check the box (the box that could *easily* be added) that says "Ship from local distro only".

That way when it becomes available again locally they ship it to me otherwise they never ship it until I uncheck the box. The problem is that option would remove one of their primary plausible deniability http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=throttling tools, so I doubt it will ever happen.

I have a whole friggin drawer full of empty envelopes, both NF and BB. I learned long ago about the multiple discs per envelope return trick and it even became a game to watch them receive discs that were all crammed into one envelope on different days.

jmchamblis

I have never seen a memo about a selection being sent from a non-local DC as the example above shows. I think Rusty's idea of a second priority would be great. My local DC is in Panama City, FL (I'm in Mobile, AL). I use Ray's '2 dvd's in same envelope' to keep extra 'local' return envelopes on hand. But what really irks me is that whenever they are going to send me a DVD from another DC, they do not SHIP it till the NEXT DAY. That adds another day to the turn around on top of the extra shipping time.

usermonster

I'm in New York. The worst long distance shipment came from . . . HAWAII. It took five days to get to me. That's when I quit netflix.

vatim99

8 out of the last 12 movies have come from out of state even though I have a DC in Cleveland, Ohio. I don't mind if the occasional foreign film comes from elsewhere buy movies that have been out for a while shouldn't come from everywhere but here. This started on the 1st of October. I liked the new notification of where they come from in your email but to quote some movie, "I usually get kissed before I get screwed".

Scribe1964

I live in NJ and almost always get dvds from my local dc. I would say once every two months, I'll get a title that's from California or Colorado. And I go through about 35 titles a month.

RayRay Tampa

WOW, great responses from everyone here! Since I have everyones attention, look at the back of your empty return envelope. See that barcode (without numbers). What do you think it decodes when scanned? I have my theories and have scanned those barcodes myself (each one has been different)They are alpha-numeric....but what do they REALLY mean?......anyone?

DirkMaster

Of the last 10 discs I've received, 8 have been from other DC's other than the one within 20 miles of my home. I suspect that this is a new way to throttle that is a little less obvious. I have seen DC's I've never seen before.

Hunter McDaniel

RayRay, are you talking about the barcode along the bottom front of the return envelope? If so, that is the PostNet code for the address of the Netflix distribution center (the one pre-printed on the envelope). If you are like me and re-label envelopes from remote distribution centers then you need to replace that barcode also.

jmchamblis, there was a time when Netflix would ship out discs from a remote center on the same day as your return. But about two years ago they made some change to their process such that this never happens any more.

On average about 15% of my discs come from remote distibution centers. These are usually, but not always, less popular titles - as indicated by the number of ratings they have. I often wonder if the frequency depends not just on throttling (as many suppose) but also on the size of your distribution center. I'm sure there is a wide variation in traffic among distribution centers and the smaller ones may be less likely to have titles 'in stock'.

corey3rd

isn't there a law in Boston that you have to buy the Cheers boxsets?

While it's probably impossible for NF to be able to let you know if a title is in your local DC - there should be a way for them to mark titles that only reside in the San Jose bins. Hastings should set up a mirror DC on the East coast (maybe in Maryland) that would also keep the rare titles so we don't have to wait so long.

Rusty Ramrod

"While it's probably impossible for NF to be able to let you know if a title is in your local DC ..."

Why do you say that?


I may have missed a post above that you are replying to, but in my example I didn't need to know really, just when the fullfillment/throttling program runs that picks the titles to send to each customer each night, if the box is checked it only sends the disc if it is in stock right then at the local distro.

Otherwise it continues to skip over that disc even if it resides in the #1 spot. As an added bonus it could display a "Not stocked at all at this distribution center" thereby allowing me to bite the bullet and wait for the slow boat shipment or to remove it entirely, or better yet to pick it up at the local BB with one of my 4 free monthly coupons or use one of the 12-15 free rents I will get as a result of returning the BB DVD's in-store.

Edward R Murrow

It's a nefarious scheme to use USPS for throttling. I'm sure your local hub can fulfill the order, but the software appears to have been written in such a way that the order gets shipped from across the country. "A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet..."

The best way to get the title you want form NF or BB is to put it at the top of your queue followed by a bunch of movies in the "VERY LONG WAIT" state.

Rusty Ramrod

I recently conducted an experiment on a Sunday night. BB had received my other movies on Saturday so I had 3 open spots. I removed all but one lone movie from my queue. It was a new release and wanted to see what would happen, I figured either that movie or nothing and if nothing I would use my in-store coupon to get in on Tuesday when it was released. Monday afternoon I got the "Your movie has shipped" message. Two days later I had it in hand.

stillframe

Inevitably if my queue says "shipping next day", it's coming from Timbuktu and not my local center. But that doesn't happen as often with Netflix as in times past. I too keep extra envelopes and ship 2 back at a time. Keeps the return flight short when my Netflix acct takes a cross-country trip.

sellario

I just mark out the far away address and put my local DC address. Works for me!

Yellowstoned

I've been using Netflix for about 6 months, and just recently went from 2 at a time/ 4 max plan, to the 2 at a time unlimited. Upon switching my plan last month, I noticed an IMMEDIATE slow down in turnaround time, and the fact that every other disc seems to come from San Jose, instead of my nearest DC in Cleveland.

I joined Netflix so that I could get videos I can't get at the local store, like documentaries and The West Wing, for example, and not many new releases.

The web site may not be able to tell you if your local DC has the video you want on a given day, but it can tell you if it has been out of stock at any time in the past 30 days or so. This should give you a good idea whether to expect it to come from your local DC.

t325

What annoys me is that Netflix doesn't seem to know what my local DC is.

I go to college in a small town called Rolla, Missouri. It's about 100 miles west of St. Louis. It's about 250 miles away from Kansas City. Somehow, NF thinks that the DC in KC is my local one, and that's where I get my movies from. I'd say that 80% of the time, it's next day from Kansas City. So no complaints here, but if Netflix doesn't get my movies out until later in the afternoon, or I can't get to the post office early in the morning to drop my DVDs off, then it can be delayed by a day. I wish they'd look at a map and switch me to the St. Louis DC because since it's a lot closer, I'd imagine the postal service could get DVDs here the next day more often than KC can

jimofoz

I don't seem to get too many long distance movies. Maybe because the local (Ann Arbor, MI) depot is a college town and has most of the types I like.

I did have a movie, Fu Bo, on "short wait" for several weeks (what's a long wait!) that was just sent from Maryland, but that's a rarity. Fu Bo has been at the top of my queue for a long time.

hueristix

It sure is easy to criticize an extremely complicated logistical problem. The Netflix software does such a good job, people now demand perfection! I swear whenever this topic comes up, so do the BBI trolls. If you don't want to wait go down to the local store- if they actually have that title and have it in stock then you didn't just waste your time. Or call them and it just may take even longer.

I live in Santa Cruz, CA and have noticed the service improve here despite Netflix adding more D.C.'s throughout the country. Just remember, almost 15% of households here in the Bay Area now subscribe. This would not happen without acceptable service- the occasional disc from N.Y. notwithstanding, which really only takes 1-2 added days.

The rest of the country can look forward to improving service too.

Just imagine if a small town in MI has 10,000 active renters sign up in one week- Netflix can't adjust to that overnight- but they do constantly adjust as they need to. If they need to add a D.C. then they do it. The more subs, the more D.C.'s, and the more of us that can expect 1-day turn arounds.

disclosure: I own the stock, but I do realize that whatever opinions may be affected here are not enough to move the share price.

hawk5391

I live in Long Beach, CA, and I get everything from the Santa Ana distribution center, which is about 20 minutes driving time from my house. It's rare that a movie takes more than a day to reach me, or that a movie I return takes more than a day to be checked in.

thecheshirecat

I have to say the same - that I rarely receive movies not from my local distribution center (in Gaithersburg, Maryland). I live in Washington, D.C. I'm on the 6 disc out plan and on a good month, I can run through 16-20 DVDs. I think I've had one DVD last month that's come from another DC and it actually arrived earlier than the expected receipt date. So I have no gripes with NF there - if anything, I have gripes with the fact that sometimes I'll send 4 discs back at once and only 3 will get reflected as received. I sent NF an e-mail about it, and they responded that discs sometimes get separated during mailing. That said, they immediately reflected the other DVD as received the next day. I'm too cynical to think that's a coincidence!

Yellowstoned

I'm amused by people who complain about people that simply point out the fact that Netflix appears to be deliberately rerouting shipments to hold down costs. I don't think you can really deny this. I don't have a huge problem with it as I get a service I could not get otherwise. However, that doesn't give the company the right to mislead customers about the turnaround time on videos. So, the company gets carte blanche because it offers a valuable service? At what point do you say that it has gone too far, after your videos take an extra 2, 3, 7 or 9 days? Better believe Netflix is gauging very carefully its customers' tolerance to this practice.

Incidentally, I've been getting a lot of dvd's from Santa Cruz, like that guy above who's happy with the fast service. Unfortunately he lives there, and I'm in Toledo.

hueristix

Sorry, but it does not appear deliberate to me.

>> What many of you assume is that all D.C.'s have all titles. NO WAY! <<

BTW, You wouldn't be getting any DVD's from Santa Cruz- my local D.C. is in San Jose. So what are you talking about?

How can shipping make it take 7 or 9 more days? Holy Toledo!?!

Again, I think people are underestimating how tough it is to get over 1 million DVd's to the right people every day.

If the service really is so bad- quit and join the churn. The service aint perfect but it sure is the best thing around.

I stand by my point that the Bay Area gets some of the best service, they are constantly improving it, and the rest of the nation will catch up.

hueristix

Here is how it works when you ship multiples back- the DVD's end up in a big bin or such- whatever is not finished that day is finished the next day- just because you sent them back together does not mean they stay next to one another!!

I believe in conspiracy theories here and there, JFK, etc., but Netflix?

Yes, they had de-prioritized high volume users in the past- those that burn three copies in a jiffy and want 3 more the next day mainly, and at first did not acknowledge it. I think we can agree that backfired big time. Their best interest is to be able to compete with brick and mortars- meaning they can't afford to lose customers by taking 9 days to send a movie, period!

You can't really think they sit there and say: "aha, john doe has sent 3 movies in, we'll send him 2 now, and put the other in the tomorrow box" That will save us $0.75.. muahahahah... Come on. If John Doe quits his service, it is not worth it.

eviltimes

You're being throttled, dude. When they send you a new release disc from across the country, they are trying to slow down your turnover rate.

sueyu

I agree with hueristix, you conspiracy folks are idiots. Netflix has too much to lose to continue to throttle, by any means. I believe they have some kind of program that tries to fulfil your first queue movie, looks locally, if it can't find it there, it looks to the next place where that disc is ready to ship. If they just got it back its ready to go out again; if its rarely sent, it's probably in an Indiana Jones warehouse that might take a day to dig out. I pretty consistently get the first disc in my queue in one day. (I had been told -- can't remember where -- that I can put 2 discs in a mailer, but more might cause a shipping problem which INVARIABLY DELAYS things. You guys have too much time on your hands between watching your 24 movies a month. For about 6 MILLION people the service is AWESOME and is better than anything out there. For about 1,295 people who blog and push the system to the limit, i'm certain you find the cracking points. Keep doing it, by all means. But presuming a conspiracy is probably giving Netflix too much credit for thinking about the fringe. If they're smart, and they seem to be, they're focused on the typical users, trying to give them the best service. Obnoxious and super heavy users - go to BBI! That'll expedite the collapse of that desperate band of has-beens. That Onion article is starting to sound pretty true.

zeggman

I live near Los Angeles, and my movies are coming from the Santa Ana facility too. I've had a couple that were shipped from elsewhere, but the vast majority arrive from the local DC the day after my return is received. Sometimes they're shipped late in the day, and I don't receive them for 2 days, but for the most part it's been 1-day turnaround for me.

Maybe I've just been lucky, or maybe we're still in the honeymoon phase (I'm only in my second month with NF), but maybe all the "the world is picking on me; I'm being throttled" guys are just a tad more paranoid than they are justified in being. Maybe their local DC isn't as well stocked as this major metropolitan DC, and that's all that's happening.

To the guy who was asking about the barcode -- I'd always just assumed it matched the movie barcode, but I can see that it doesn't. And to the guy who answered that it was just the barcode for the DC -- I don't think that's it either, because I have several Santa Ana envelopes (for the usual reason), and while the beginning of the barcode looks the same, the last 2/3 or 3/4 of the barcode is different on each of the envelopes. It may be part DC, part customer, part current customer profile, part movie title. I don't know, because I don't read barcode, but just by eyeballing I can say that the last part of the code differs on each envelope I have, and they're all for the same DC.

dizzney

I get all of my movies in one day. They are sent to San Jose, received the next morning and that day new movies go out. I also get new releases every week without fail.

Scribe1964

"Maybe I've just been lucky, or maybe we're still in the honeymoon phase (I'm only in my second month with NF)"

I've been a member since 2001 and I've only noticed the service improving.

mrkwst

I've been a NF member for a long time. 7 or 8 years at least. Maybe it's living in Houston or that I have been lucky, but I have had no complaints with NF (other than when they experimented with the plastic envelope. Horrific was that!)

Yes, there have been times when I suspected throttling but over the long wave I've received just about the max from my NF membership. (Let's just say I have a rather quick turn around time.)

Over the past three years, the amount of time that I have kept detailed NF records, I have received about 94% of my dvd's from the Houston DC, about 1% from Austin and the rest from San Jose. (Usually Foreign, Obscure, with a few new releases coming from San Jose.)

Also, over the past three years, I have had 5 arrive broken or impossible to play even after repairing them.

I think the NF business model provides incredible service and value for your money.

Edward R Murrow

"If the service really is so bad- quit and join the churn."

I agree; anytime you're too busy to watch DVD's for a week, you should quit Netflix then rejoin when you're ready to watch movies again. You will save money and when you rejoin, you will get your top picks shipped to you immediately. Try it, you'll see what I mean.

ChicagoGuy

I live in the Chicago area and my local DC is nearby and any film mailed from/to there gets to me or returned to NF next day. I am a heavy user of NetFlix and the number of films shipping from remote locations has increased substantially as my level has increased from 3-8 progressively. In the past Month I have gotten films (all new releases not some obscure indie title) from Minneapolis, Houston, Milwaukee, Gary, San Jose, St. Louis, and others.

As stated by other just keep a supply of local return envelopes on hand and send back to your local center so you only have the one directional penalty.

Regards

ChicagoGuy

As as update.. this week two of my selections show as shipped from some unknown location. One shows a 3 day anticipated delivery.. the other a 4 day. Best guess is these didn't come from the old "Nearest NetFlix Shipping Location".

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