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Columbia House: Doing the Math

I was thinking of making some additions to my DVD collection, and I figured I'd check out the current offers offers at Columbia House. Turns out I can get five DVDs for $0.49 if I buy four in the next two years at regular pricing. Great! Sign me up.

But first, let's do the math…

Five DVDs at $0.49 may sound great, but you're also charged $1.99 for shipping for each disc. That bumps your initial total to roughly $12.50. I took advantage of their special offer to get my first DVD at $14.95, and an additional one at $9.95. This lowered my requirement to three DVDs in the two years to three, but bumped my initial cost:

14.95 + 9.95 + (0.49 * 5) + (1.99 * 7) = 41.28

That includes the two DVDs at special pricing (one of which counts), the five 49-cent discs, and S&H for all seven. $41.28 for seven DVDs? We're good so far. Next, let's assume that I'm looking at $24.99 for each of my three subsequent DVDs and the same $1.99 S&H:

(24.99 + 1.99) * 3 = 80.94

Ouch! When it's all said and done, though, I'll have 10 DVDs. Let's finish the math:

(80.94 + 41.28) / 10 = 12.22

At a cost of $12.22, I'll sign up. People rail against these movie and music and DVD clubs because, in the old day, you had to send back a stamped thing every month saying "no, don't send the special of the month." Companies made their money when people were too lazy or cheap to do so, resulting in a $30 copy of the latest Cher or Jon Secada CD being delivered to them every month. They made money by "bundling" CDs and running other specials that didn't deduct from your "required total."

With the Internet, I can decline the monthly selection online, and I'm wise to the ways of DVDs not counting against my "promise" to buy three more. I'll suck up the higher charges ($24.99 - I've never paid more than $20 for a DVD before) on the remaining three.

The DVDs I picked up? A range:

  • Miss Congeniality
  • A Walk to Remember
  • Swordfish
  • Ocean's Eleven
  • The Fast and the Furious
  • Grease
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Not necessarily the highest quality stuff out there, but I went for the amusing ones that friends (especially the female ones) might want to see. Three are for me: Swordfish, Ocean's Eleven, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

6 Responses to "Columbia House: Doing the Math"

  1. Calling Brent Simmons. Paging Brent Smmons. Judi has uncovered a bug I believe I've confirmed: feeds in NNW show up 4:55 off. Some examples (the...

  2. There's one gotcha: AFAIK Columbia House prints their own media. I've got Columbia House CDs that have UPC numbers that don't match with the equivalent "official" ones sold on Amazon. Going back to the "bits is bits" argument, the music on the CD should be the same, but they seem to cheap out on the printed material: i.e. printed liners that omit the lyrics etc. I don't have direct experience with CoHo's DVD offerings, but you might want to do an A/B comparison WRT inserts and extras on one of the "richer" DVDs. I dunno, maybe rent Swordfish and see if the CoHo version has the same commentary and other bells & whistles that the Blockbuster version offers, for instance.

  3. I think that's BMG.

  4. My mom contacted the Columbia House sales department and said "I don't want to receive the special of the month" and she never got one while she was in the club.

  5. Hmmm… 5. Are Columbia House's DVDs as good as the ones from a store?

    "Yes. Our DVDs are manufactured the same way as those you'd buy in a store. They come to you factory-sealed, and we guarantee each and every one of them. If you ever receive a DVD that's defective or damaged, we'll replace it or credit your account."

    The same way? Kinda curious to put it that way. Any news on the DVDs from CH?

  6. I got my DVDs today and they're identical in every way to the store bought ones from what I can tell. They were all packaged differently depending on whether they were the special editions, who manufactured them (what studio they came from), etc. They're the real deal. Not like BMG CDs.


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