Saint John — Blockbuster Video is opening a new call centre in Saint John, and the company — which technically no longer exists — estimates it will need about 350 employees to man the phones full-time, or for as long as it can afford its heating and Internet expenses.
“Because Blockbuster is no longer a real company per se, we have nowhere to go but up; this makes us a perfect match for New Brunswick,” said Blockbuster CEO Norm Braxton, from his pickup truck which doubles as his home. “A defunct corporation and a failing province hold hands, face tough challenges, defy all odds. It’s a true underdog story. It would make a great movie, in fact.”
Gallant made the announcement this morning outside of the old McAllister Drive Blockbuster building, which has been boarded up for years.
“As we all know, New Brunswick is poised for major growth. So is Blockbuster,” said Gallant, as a tumbleweed blew by. “They were huge for a while, right? I used to rent movies there with Mom every weekend.
“Rather than look into the reasons for their failure and assess the risks, I think we should just go for it. If Mr. Braxton says Blockbuster can be great again, I’m choosing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, I’ve already signed the contract.”
Opportunities New Brunswick is offering more than $4 million in payroll rebates and loans, and as usual, the province is throwing money it doesn’t have at what it sees as a “sure thing.” The service centre, which is set to open next month, will field calls from from people around the world who have questions and concerns.
“Our adequately paid professionals will be able to answer customer questions such as: ‘Whatever happened to Blockbuster?’ or ‘Where can I rent a good movie these days?’ or ‘I didn’t have chance to return The Sopranos DVDs I rented in 2009 — can I just keep them?’ or ‘Is this the number for Domino’s?’ Only New Brunswickers have the skill and finesse to deal with such tough queries,” Gallant went on. “We’ll train them, of course.”
Interested New Brunswickers can submit applications online, or can bring their resumés directly to Braxton’s truck, which will be parked outside the building for the next week or so. “Only bilingual individuals need apply,” Gallant concluded, “but that goes without saying.”
Saint John Mayor Don Darling tried to connect the event to the local economy, which he and Gallant see as “booming” and “not at all stagnant.”
“Buy local!” Darling bellowed into the mic. “Peace — I’m out!”