Netflix customers are free to leave if they think the recent price increase is too steep–or to stay if they think the service is still a good value.
There: now all conservatives are happy.
Some on the right have been debating among themselves whether being ticked about the price increase is acceptable. But both sides are acting consistently with their principles–namely, by not wasting money like Barack Obama on shore leave.
The debate is over, and we all win. Let’s go to Dairy Queen to celebrate total victory! Neither faction members are right. Or both are. It merely depends on whether you’re a “keg is half empty” sort of person, or one who sees it as “half full.”
The decision made by each particular consumer is correct, as individuals always spend on what they think is a good deal. Or, in the case of the mailed plastic movie coasters, in some cases they don’t. Either way, they’re using their dollars in a matter they feel is effective. If they leave or if they stay, they’re right.
As with nature, the free market is indifferent to how you feel. Customers have every right to think that getting films from Netflix beats dealing with Redbox, cable, or one of the seven remaining physical Blockbusters. They also have every right to note that the disc mailer/film streamer is increasing fees by a dramatic percentage, while increasing benefits not at all. Make your own call as to which side is right.
Anyone with money and enough free time to enjoy movies could reach a different conclusion about the specifics. But customers will sort this out themselves, which may shock those who, say, think cutting our debt down from 14 figures will doom the economy.
Buying patterns won’t make everyone happy, especially dinosaurs like me who actually enjoy owning objects. For one, I miss acquiring CDs, as possessing such an item is evocative of the enjoyment contained within. I much prefer opening a jewel case and playing my rockin’ tunes off a disc while perusing the accompanying booklet to downloading music that exists in some voodoo ether.
I never thought I’d be an old-school, cane-waving grandpa type for liking a digital format. But customers are voting against me with their currency, leading to music stores lamentably shuttering. I have to make sure my copy of Quadrophenia remains unscratched as a result. Those are breaks, though, and progress benefits us on the whole even if some of us still stubbornly wish to collect dust.
Free marketeers should give their loyalty to business, not businesses. For one, I hold firmly that Walmart sucks, and not just because they supported Obamacare and joined with Michelle Obama to deter kids from eating anything delicious. It doesn’t even matter if one discounts its creepy dalliances with this administration: getting goods at one of Walmart’s outposts remains a soulless experience in the most utilitarian environment possible. Yeah, I try to shop elsewhere, even though it is not due to their massiveness.
Giant chains aren’t necessarily our friends despite how conservatives supposedly worship conglomerates. Bachmannians and Pawlentyites should be comfortable with holding that, say, Barnes & Noble is annoying & frustrating, or that the Southwest Jack Daniel’s Potato Skin Egg Rolls at T.G.I. Friday’s are as obnoxious as the restaurant’s service and ambiance.
By contrast, right-minded people should feel free to play against alleged type by patronizing independent shops, even if the outlets in question offer pretension instead of good deals and large inventories. Some NRA members or rattlesnake flag owners like that for whatever reason.
Feel free to shop at the bookstore that hosts readings of poems that don’t rhyme, or the hipster coffee house that prides itself upon never expanding to a second location. If you like it when clerks and baristas wear ironic t-shirts, go ahead and seek them out, even if you drive there in an SUV adorned with a “1.20.13”-themed bumper sticker.
Affordability is one benefit, but certainly not the only one. Free market participants are of course also allowed to weigh any particular establishment’s character, and determine whether parking is a pain in the ass–or if the customer service is less than snotty. Those are just some of the many factors to weigh when pondering where to fritter away one’s paycheck.
With that in mind, drink any damn beer you want, regardless of how many barrels the company brews. Eat at restaurants that have locations on seemingly every corner or just the one. Watch films at home using whatever service is advantageous. If you enjoy the quaintness of getting movies in the mail enough that you think it’s worth a couple of extra bucks per month, keep letting Netflix charge you for the privilege.
Everybody who decides to either retain or abandon the film delivery system will be making the correct move. Respecting those respective decisions embodies what conservatism is all about, even if a fellow Red State-minded friend chooses differently than you.
There will not be participation ribbons handed out, even though every person with an opinion about Netflix’s pricing plan is correct. But the fact remains that people are at their wisest when they are dealing with their own currency. Anyone who concludes that Old Man Flix’s offerings aren’t worth the expense any more can find something else to watch while drunk at home.
Anthony Bialy is a writer and “Red Eye conservative” in New York City. He tweets at http://twitter.com/AnthonyBialy.