Digital Video Dumdums

, , , , , | Right | May 29, 2017

(I used to work for a relatively popular video rental chain prior to it going out of business. I am pulling up my own account to see if I am about to have an overdue rental of my own. A customer in her late-40s or early-50s has been browsing the rentals.)

Customer: *approaches my coworker with a sealed new movie* “Hi, I’d like to buy this.”

Coworker: “Yes, ma’am, no problem. Just to let you know, we do have extremely high-quality used versions of this exact movie, and for what you’re paying for it new, you could get three used movies.”

Customer: “Oh, no, I don’t buy used movies.”

Coworker: “That’s understandable. Sometimes the quality of the DVD isn’t what you’d hoped, scratches, yadda ya.”

Customer: “Oh, no, not that. I just don’t want my DVD player to get a virus.”

(At this point, I stop what I’m doing, because I cannot possibly have heard that. I turn my head just a bit to look at her. Customer has the most serious expression I’ve ever seen, and my coworker is currently trying to see if she’s being legitimate.)

Coworker: “DVD… viruses?”

Customer: “Yes, like computer viruses. You don’t know what sort of nastiness people let get into their DVD player, and I don’t want mine getting corrupted by anything!”

(At this point, I have to turn away from the register I’m on, because I’m about to start chuckling, and I would prefer not to be rude. I busy myself with the rental drop box while my coworker continues the struggle.)

Coworker: “…absolutely, ma’am. Those DVD viruses can be an absolute hassle, and you’re doing well to keep yourself protected.”

(He finishes ringing her up as I finally get myself in check.)

Coworker: “You have a wonderful day, ma’am.”

Customer: “You too, young man!”

(She leaves. We just look at each other.)

Me: “If I hadn’t been here, I’d never believe this.”

1 Thumbs
  • WildCard65

    I don’t even…

    • Pogla

      No durr Dick Tracy. That’s why your use name ends in a 65

      • WildCard65

        Blocking you now.

        • Pogla

          One pun and I’m blocked? What sort of unfair PUNishment is that?

          • Harold George Wagner III

            What in the world are you talking about

          • Kryss LaBryn

            Sixty-five is an odd number.

          • Harold George Wagner III

            I see lol

  • athenabast

    Before we got the internet at home my mother made me unplug the computer when I was done with it so we wouldn’t get viruses through the electrical outlet. After getting a powerbar I convinced her it protected the computer from viruses.

    • PablothePueblanMilkSnake


    • Leah

      I’m trying to get my head around the fact that a non-computer-literate person even knew about viruses in a time before home internet.

      • athenabast

        She heard about it from the nightly news and from “people”.

        • Carl Collier

          Right, so tell her the truth, this isn’t telling her Santa is fake…
          She probably misinterpreted the news report, and come on, we’ve been around computers for how long? What kind of excuse is there to *NOT* know about computers?

          Quit bein’ an enabler and sucker punch her with reality.

          • Kalu-chan

            “Oh, but I heard…”
            Some people won’t listen. Why else would you think my grandma always trusted her friends etc in health realted stuff, rather than listening to her own daughter, who was trained as a nurse?

          • athenabast

            I have told her. She wanted to get an iPad until I told her it uses the internet to download games and things. She then changed her mind because the internet is “bad”. I’ve tried convincing her over the years believe me.

    • Carl Collier

      How about instead of lying to her like a Dbag you can use it as a teaching moment? Jesus christ enablers to stupidity like you are the reason this planet is going through an idiocracy.

      • athenabast

        I would like to point out that that my anecdote is about 20 years old. About as old as the internet. She’s expressed interest in an iPad but once I told her it hooked up to the internet to download the games she wanted she changed her mind. I would love for her to have an iPad and the internet so I can talk to her more easily as my father has a controlling personality. Despite the fact they have a DVR which basically uses the internet to update they have it because it’s “cable”.

  • Jackie Fauxe

    She then went and told the story to other people and, when they questioned her on it, she replied, “The guy at the video store completely agreed with me and told me I was doing a good job keeping myself protected.”

  • …and this is why we have “Do not drink this shampoo” warning labels on bottles of Head and Shoulders.

    • Kitty

      And a “Caution: Hot” label on coffee cups.

      • Max

        Actually that’s because a poor old lady in Canada was served coffee so hot (far above reasonable temperature) that when she spilled it, it gave her third-degree burns on her thighs and genitals. The coffee was being served that ridiculously hot as a cost-cutting measure. She won her case, mostly for medical and disability accommodations costs.

        Then they put “Warning: Coffee is hot” labels on the cups to cover their arses.

        Like, you expect a hot drink to be hot, but like, mild pain, redness and blistering kind of hot, not “I need skin grafts and months of rehabilitation” kind of hot.

        • danielle

          this is very true, but pretty certain it happened in L.A, California rather than Canada

          • Rebecca Charlton

            It wouldn’t have happened in Canada. The woman initially only went to McDonalds to ask to have her medical bills covered. I’ve lived in Canada my whole life, I’m almost 40, have had 2 children and three surgeries in the last 10 years, and I couldn’t even tell you what a hospital bill would look like. I’ve never seen one, they don’t send them out to the patients at all.

        • Kitty

          *shrug* Don’t put a hot drink near your genitals. Especially since most cars (if I recall, she was using the drive thru for that coffee transaction) come with cup holders.

          • Max

            OK, so, someone with shaky hands. Someone who gets bumped into, or trips, or whatever, and gets splashed. Some asshole decides to throw coffee on them (had this happen to me, fortunately with reasonably warm coffee). Someone does put the coffee in the cup holder, car goes over a bump, coffee gets splashed on them. Accidents happen. Coffee should not be hot enough to cause third degree burns.

          • From Wikipedia: Liebeck was in the passenger’s seat of a 1989 Ford Probe *which did not have cup holders.* Her grandson parked the car so that Liebeck could add cream and sugar to her coffee. Liebeck placed the coffee cup *between her knees* and pulled the far side of the lid toward her to remove it. In the process, she spilled the entire cup of coffee on her lap. Liebeck was wearing cotton sweatpants; they absorbed the coffee and held it against her skin, scalding her thighs, buttocks, and groin. (Asterisks for emphasis are mine.)
            If the car had cup holders, it might not have happened at all. If the coffee hadn’t been as hot as it was, chances are good she would have just ended up with a wet car seat and pants rather than needing skin grafts, eight days in the hospital, and two years of treatment.

          • DanD

            Nope, this was a legitimate liability case. McDonalds was serving the coffee dangerously hot. It actually doesn’t matter what the conditions the spill occurred in, spills are a risk with beverages. The coffee was being served at least 40 degrees above a drinkable temperature, and McDonalds had ignored multiple incidents of similar burns.

            While they still sell coffee at the same temperature, the lawsuit has resulted in more secure and rigid cups, making spills less likely.

        • Rebecca Charlton

          She wasn’t Canadian. The Lawsuit started because she wanted her medical bills covered, and McDonald’s flatly refused to do so. I don’t recall where exactly she was living, but if she was Canadian, there wouldn’t have been medical bills.

          • Max

            I was also thinking of like, post-medical-care expenses like housing adaptations and stuff, which isn’t necessarily covered under state healthcare, also my memory for things is terrible.

    • NatesMama1128

      And “Do not use in bathtub” warnings on hair dryers.

  • Max

    OK but I bet she runs an outdated copy of IE with like, 50 dodgy toolbars on it.

    • Mechwarrior

      She probably runs Netscape Navigator.

      • Max

        Probably not, that would require using a browser that wasn’t bundled with the computer, and possibly the technical skills to maintain an old computer for over 20 years.

        • Mechwarrior

          You don’t need to have technical skills to do that, you just need to know someone who does.

    • And she has an AOL email address.

    • vizbones

      I bet she runs one of those old hand-crank web-browsers that Ada Lovelace invented…

  • Anamaria Bobic

    So why wouldn’t you help her out by telling her that’s not possible? She obviously wasn’t aware of it due to her age and ignorance about technology. You could’ve explained it to her and if she didn’t wanna believe then that’s all her. But if she did then you helped her out.
    All you did was laugh at her and the coworker reaffirmed this wrong belief. Now if someone does try to explain it to her in the future she’s less likely to believe it and say the people at your store confirmed it’s true.
    I hope when I get older and technology advances beyond what I know, people will actually be kind and explain something to me instead of laughing at my ignorance.

    • Pogla

      Because most people like that CANNOT be taught.

      • Jim Boothe

        Having worked in an office supply store, I have to agree, because I’ve dealt with people who insisted on denying their ignorance no matter HOW delicately I tried to inform them, and when you deal with enough people like that, you can tell pretty well who’s going to listen…and who isn’t.

        Infecting a DVD player with malware is possible. HIGHLY unlikely; the DVD would need to be encoded with malware specially tailored to the player model’s firmware, but people will try anything just to see if it can be done. And now that audio malware is a thing, using a DVD player to transmit viruses is very possible.

        • Pogla

          Dunning Kruger and Cognitive Dissonance all in one package known as “the customer”

        • Sandy Pham

          I read somewhere (maybe this site or some other site that is specific for IT & computer jobs) the IT guy asked the customer to unplug something (wifi router perhaps) and wait a few minutes then plug it in again. The customer said yes every time but a never did, the IT could see him still online.

          Back and forth for a while and the IT guy got tired, he
          decided to not beating around the brush anymore.

          When confronted (politely) the customer gave some weird reason like afraid that he wouldn’t be able to get the same internet again. So the IT guy told the customer there was viruses/bugs, he need to unplug and shake the wire hard for a few minute for them to fall out (or die?). The customer did, and everything works again.

      • Carl Collier

        So what, you just lay back and be an enabler to stupidity?

        Explains why this planet is going through an idiocy complex <_<

        • Pogla

          Are you familiar with the Dunning Kruger Effect? Cognitive Dissonance? The plain unwillingness for some people to learn? How about the way in which ignorance is not only tolerated, but lauded? In any case, why is up to sales staff, most likely poorly paid sales staff to teach the unwashed masses?

          • Carl Collier

            Would you rather live in a world of stupidity or would you want people to have knowledge? And who CHOOSES to be stupid? Why would being stupid be praised? What benefits? I mean you don’t hear “Wow, glad I met that stupid person today!”…

          • Dsru Bin

            …who CHOOSES to be stupid?

            You must be new here…

          • Carl Collier

            But why would you want to be stupid? What benefit is there?

          • Dsru Bin

            I don’t know why one would want to be stupid but, as I alluded to, there are plenty of people in these stories that seem to think it’s a desired state of mind.

    • mischiani

      More likely she would’ve been offended and/or accused the employee of either not knowing what he was talking about or attempting to give her dvd player a virus himself. She might’ve angrily walked out on the sale.

    • Alex

      Y’know, I totally get what you’re saying. But, on the other hand, people working minimum wage jobs heavily tend to be looked down on. Some people get very offended if someone ‘below’ them on the social tier attempts to correct them, as though trying to educate– be it politely and calm or otherwise– is a slight against them. Plus, it could also get them into trouble if the customer complains to a scumbag boss that doesn’t care for their employees.

      Unless the customer’s misinformation was going to put them into any immediate danger (which, mind you, this situation wasn’t), you just learn to keep your mouth shut.

      • SylviasDaddy

        It’s not just minimum-wage workers who are jeered at when they try to help.
        I have an IQ in the top one-tenth of one percent of the population, and I have lost count of the number of riff-raff who have jeered at me for being right.

        • Alex

          Ah, all too true, friend. One could at least have the decency to pretend to listen. Then they can throw it away when you’re not looking and happily return to their own blissful ignorance.

    • Anamaria Bobic

      And this is why I said that’s it’s all on her if she chooses to be difficult and dumb. At least you tried. You never know, she might have turned out to appreciate the help and that she wouldn’t have to spend three times the amount on something.
      I would definitely appreciate the correction if someone told me so, especially if it helps me save money.
      But based on all these responses I can see that dumb arrogant customers out there have ruined it for the rest of us.
      Employees are scared of correcting someone because they might get berated. What a shitty world we live in

    • Leah

      The customer would just argue about it and I don’t blame OP’s coworker for just rolling with it. Someone in her family, whose opinion she trusts/respects, needs to set her straight. Not some casual employee at the video store.

    • John L

      Because it would have been a complete waste of time. Not only do people not like being told they are wrong, they will not tolerate looking like an idiot.

      You either get the type of person that would laugh at their mistake (small minority) or someone that would treat you like a peon and make your day not worth it.

    • arglebargle

      Sorry. No. I have a degree in computer science and I’ve long since quit trying to correct people like this. I’m not some minimum wage grunt in a video store to be ignored. Yet when some folk get a daft idea wedged in their heads, there’s no dislodging it.

      After not getting it through someone’s head that the world’s greatest hacker can’t get into a turned-off computer (he probably knows the world’s greatest car thief who drove off in a car with no engine or wheels) or after spending hours with friends finding their needs and making buying recommendations only to find they bought whatever garbage the computer salesman talked them into, I now just keep it all to myself. Laugh if it’s funny; shake my head sadly if it’s not. Those actually willing to learn will learn.

    • Marianne

      And sometimes you dont want to either get into an argument with the person or be stuck trying to explain something for an hour because of how dense they are.

    • Ophelia

      It might be that OP has attempted to explain in the past but was stonewalled because it is excruciatingly difficult to explain to them why it’s impossible. I mean, you could explain to them that these DVDs cannot have any additional information written onto them, but would they believe you? I mean, what traditional means of writing information can only be written on once and is then prevented from having anything further written on it?

  • Alex

    Yes, because we don’t want some stranger hacking into our Tivos just to catch up on the Walking Dead and Real Housewives of Atlanta.

  • emofishermen

    i though DVDs had viruses too 😛 i never knew the real difference between CDs and DVDs & since i knew CDs can cause damage to a computer, DVDs could damage our TV

    • Glenn Davey

      Nope! Don’t worry about that 🙂

    • Kryss LaBryn

      Back in the olden days, cheaply-made CDs could break apart in the player, and that was because they were made to spin at a low speed, and if they were put into something that spun them faster (as the CD drives often did), they could break up. So much fun trying to pull all the pieces out again!

      That was more likely to happen with cheaply-made CDs from China, and that was why CDs (and I think DVDs) have what speed they are meant to play at on the packaging now.

      I don’t think it’s been an issue for a decade or more, though, since CD drives in computers became more common as did playing regular CDs in them.

      The main difference between a CD (“Compact Disk”) and a DVD (“Digital Video Disk”) is the amount of data that can be stored on them; DVDs can hold a lot more info. One can copy music files that can play in your car to a DVD, and one can put video files that can play in your DVD player on a CD (assuming it’s a very short video).

      So far as viruses on them go, it would be unlikely to get a virus on a DVD player, although if one uses a computer to play movies of course it’s a concern. Having said that, official, factory-produced movie DVDs and music CDs won’t have viruses on them, because the factory wouldn’t put them on and they can’t be added afterwards. However, if you get a home-made copy of a movie or album, that could potentially have a virus (although it being able to target a dedicated player rather than a computer is unlikely to the extreme as it would have to have been written to target not only that specific make and model, but also the version of the firmware it was running).

      DVDs and CDs come in two types: ROM and RAM: CD-ROM (“Read Only Memory”) and CD-RAM (“Random Access Memory”) (and the same for DVDs). The manufactured disks are ROMs and once they are imprinted, more info simply can’t be added to them. RAMs are the blank CDs and DVDs you can buy at Staples etc for copying stuff to, and they can have info added to them several times (although not indefinitely).

      Hope that helped! 🙂

      • Dsru Bin

        …the factory wouldn’t put [a virus] on…

        https:// en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/Sony_BMG_copy_protection_rootkit_scandal

  • Rebecca Charlton

    No word of a lie, a friend who lived with his parents was not allowed to have a computer because his mother didn’t want viruses in the house. She honestly thought that computer viruses could make a human being sick. She protested him getting a computer for a VERY long time before she finally told us why, and we were able to set her straight. She was a lovely woman, but very tech phobic.

    • Kateřina Zeráková

      Was she afraid of the Game disease?

  • Harold George Wagner III

    This is why you need to get Antivirus for your DVD Player. Most newer models should come with McAfee pre-installed.

    • Dsru Bin

      I thought you were trying to avoid a virus!

      • Harold Wagner

        I don’t use McAfee

  • Souless night

    SHE probably heard of DVDs going viral and thought that was literal…

  • error404

    Back around 2000 when flip phones were still common my dad thought if you shared a phone charger with another phone you could get a pc virus. 😛

    • heymoe2001

      He didn’t have any of those little phone charger condoms?

  • Ares Zax

    I’m sure that it IS technically feasible to write a virus for a DVD player (depending on how exactly the player was constructed), but the odds of it happening are so low that yeah, it’s not worth being concerned over.

    • Glenn Davey

      Nope. Not at all.

      A DVD player doesn’t have any writable hard drive and operating system on which it could record data read from its ROM drive. DVD players have tiny amounts of RAM that record its own internal temporary settings. But a DVD player is not like a personal computer. They check DVD’s for valid video and menu data, or spit the DVD out as a fail.

      Trust us when we tell you that – NO – the odds are ZERO that a DVD you put in a standard commercially available DVD player could EVER write a virus to the DVD player, or cause it to behave in any way the manufacturers did not intend.

      Absolutely 100% not.

      (Smart TV firmware, on the other hand…)

      • Dsru Bin

        My DVD player gets regular firmware updates, so it does have some type of writable storage. I wouldn’t find it hard to believe that a DVD could contain some type of malicious data that would affect the firmware even while being recognized as a legitimate video DVD. I wouldn’t find it *likely*, however.

  • AsaeAmpan

    This is how ignorance spreads, should have told her that she was wrong, viruses can really only be on computers.

    Yes I understand that she’ll likely remain WILLFULLY ignorant but at that point it’s out of your hands.

    • Kryss LaBryn

      Anything running updateable software (such as firmware that can be updated) can potentially get a virus. Apple devices and smart phones now have viruses attacking them as well. Hell, even cars that can be unlocked with your smart phone can now get viruses and be hijacked.

      Having said all that, things only get viruses if a human being is out there writing malicious code that targets it. Apples traditionally didn’t get viruses not because of superior technology, but because nobody was bothering to write viruses for them because so few people were using them. These days they’re a favourite target because they have become so common, but anti-virus software on them is relatively rare compared to PCs, because “Apples don’t get viruses,” so people don’t think to protect them.

      But “is technically possible” and “are currently being targeted” are two different things, and a rabbit hole one doesn’t want to get into with ignorant customers.

      I mean, sure, the cashier could have explained that any officially-made, licensed movie (i.e. not one that was just copied from a purchased DVD) could not have additional info, such as a virus, added to it post-market, so even a used DVD was perfectly safe from viruses provided it was manufactured and not a home-made copy. It’s the difference between DVD-ROM and a DVD-RAM.

      And possibly the customer would even have believed them. Oooor, the cashier could agree with her, finish the transaction, and send her on her merry way, because the cashier is not being paid to correct unrelated (to making the purchase) technical knowledge and, if other customers were waiting and it took a while, could even have lost their job over it, especially if someone complained about it or it was a recurring issue.

      Believe me, customers happily paying full price so their DVD player doesn’t get a virus are not worth trying to correct. The cashier told them they could get three good-quality used copies for the same price, and that the movie she was buying was available used, which the customer acknowledged she understood; done.

      • Dsru Bin

        any officially-made, licensed movie (i.e. not one that was just copied from a purchased DVD) could not have additional info, such as a virus, added to it post-market

        But it could have something added to it pre-market *cough*Sony*cough* (not that that impacts the story or your point) 🙂

    • rechtshaber

      In an age when your *lightbulbs* can be hacked, I would hesitate to tell the customer that she is wrong.

  • RallyLock

    …But did OP have an overdue rental on his/her own account or not? The suspense on that one is killing me!

  • Glenn Davey

    Never validate someone’s ignorance.

    You’re a bad person if you do.

  • Pablo Criaturilla

    I thought there was some reason why you told us exactly what you were doing in the computer, but it turns out it had nothing to do with the story. Why include it?

  • Shatteredstar

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. That is our society at this point for many people…

  • “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works!”

  • Daniel Ralph

    I don’t believe this story. But I guess that’s because I wasn’t there.