Netflix recently came up with a creative way to charge its customers more: by separating their mailing and streaming content into separate rental plans that “better reflect the costs of each.” One can only imagine how well the already over-compensated marketing strategist who came up with that line was rewarded for it. His shit-eating grin must be even browner around the edges than usual. “Now our members have a choice: a streaming only plan, a DVD only plan, or both.” The problem is that each plan is more expensive, and – unless you downgrade your account – you end up being charged more anyway. Or, as put gently by Netflix, “You don’t need to do anything to continue your memberships.” Note the plural here.
Of course, I am not saying anything new. Neither are Netflix. The customer and corporation understand the situation, and must therefore collaborate. My costs are comparatively lower, which means that the onus is on me to do the accommodating. After all, the “free market” is brutal when you’re dealing in billions – especially for corporations. From $14.99 to $19.98 a month? I just ignore it. My personal slavery to their direct deposit privileges is doing just fine. The extra five dollars a month I end up being charged is not worth my time. Like, ironically, the movies Netflix insists on sending me.
Speaking of upgrades (or downgrades, depending on your point of view) Netflix’s publicity department now employs a black couple, alongside their longstanding white one. These ethnically distinct salespeople grace the sign-out and sign-in page online, respectively. Forgive me for being glib, but I imagine our white couple about to stream You’ve Got Mail, if she has her way. Or Gone in 60 Seconds, if he has his. Her elbow incidentally graces his pee-pee, the somewhat asexual comfort of a long-term relationship or marriage. That she holds the remote (think strap-on) may be an extension of their power dynamic in bed. I see her as a Harvard MBA-type, a strong-willed, well-educated corporate executive trying to relax on a Sunday evening. He reminds me of a charcoal grill, or at least being by one, grilling salmon with an over-priced apron from Williams-Sonoma that she got him for Castration Day. The highlighter-yellow popcorn probably received the obligatory Photoshop treatment, unlike their slowly sagging faces. Blur tool, please.
Signing out of Netflix is equally complicated. Politically-speaking, that is. We are met by our black couple, as if no offense – however mild or subliminal – could ever be taken, by placing them at the end of the line. Any company worth $680 million is deft enough to handle the paradoxical yet common “conservative progressiveness” well. Less is at stake, for the deal is already done. Yes, the “race card” is boring, but, if perverseness be our metaphor, what happens in Vegas tends to happen all over this country. Tyrone and Dawnesha here just watched How Stella Got her Groove Back, if she has her way; or Friday, if he has his. They seem too enthralled with each other to be married. It may be just the camera’s perspective, but Tyrone seems way larger than Mr. Williams-Sonoma. To compare their feet may lead us to deduce other anatomical features. So let’s not do that.