turn around time vs rental plan

I've been using for movies for a while now, and until recently have always had pretty decent turnaround times with their TotalAccess plan. With movies going back to Columbia SC, I'd usually get notification that the movie was received the day after dropping it in the mail, and another notification later on that day or the next day that the next movie had been sent. Sometimes that movie would arrive the same day I received the notification, but usually I found it in my mailbox the next day.

The TotalAccess plan includes the option of stopping by a B&M (brick and mortar) Blockbuster to exchange movies there, instead of by mail. Since that was something I never found myself doing, I decided to switch to's vanilla Blockbuster by Mail plan instead.

That's when I noticed a drastic change in turn-around times. Now it's maybe 2-3 days before I receive notification that a movie has been received after dropping it in the mail, and another 2-3 days before I receive notification that the next one is on the way. Considering they advertise 1-2 business day delivery, I'm starting to feel I've ended up on the slow end of their service. With DVDs going back to Columbia (and presumably coming from there too), I should definitely be within a 1 day delivery zone. Considering the 1-day turn around time I used to have with the TotalAccess plan, the only reason I can see for the decline in service is the switch to the vanilla Blockbuster by Mail plan.

Is this surprising? Not really I suppose. Since you're paying more with the TotalAccess plans, naturally you expect a higher level of service and convenience (in the form of instant turn around with in-store exchanges along with a few other perks). According to this informal analysis of Netflix performed a few years ago, they also throttle movie rentals to give new subscribers a higher level of service.

Is turn-around time a big deal? While it was nice having a 3-4 day turn around cycle (time between movie return and receipt of a new one), many times that movie would end up sitting on the shelf for a week or two (sometimes more) before I got around to watching it. Sure, there were periods where I'd go into burst mode watching movies (watch them the day they arrived, send them back the next day) so the quick turn around was handy. Most of the time though, it's a few days before I get around to watching the movie. In the grand scheme of things, an extra 2 days on that turn around cycle isn't really a big deal (at least for me anyway). YMMV. If you're a constant burst mode watcher, that quick turn around might be important for you, so stick with the TotalAccess plan. If not, save a few bucks a month and go with the vanilla BbM plan.