Rewind To An Age Of Simpler Technology

, , , | Right | April 16, 2018

(This story takes place in 2000. I work in a small, family-owned video store that has just gotten enough DVDs to fill our first DVD rack. An elderly woman calls.)

Woman: “I’ve just gotten a DVD player, and I was wondering if you could help me get it connected so I can watch movies.”

(Obviously, this isn’t my job, but it’s the middle of the day on a weekday, when we can go hours without a customer.)

Me: “Sure thing, ma’am. First things first, on the back of your TV, do you see a little silvery nub with threads like a screw on it, or do you already have a cable plugged into the back of it?”

Woman: “No, I’m not seeing anything like that.”

Me: “That’s fine. About how old is this TV?”

Woman: “Just a couple years.”

(I end up describing every port I can think of to her, but she is unable to find anything that corresponds to my directions. I’m getting a little frustrated when she comes up with a solution.)

Woman: “Well, the man from the store that delivered it is still here; you think I can ask him to do it?”

Me: *face-palms* “Yes. Yes, ma’am, that’s a great idea. Please do that.”

(Later, I recognize her from her voice when she comes in to rent her first DVDs. This goes off without a hitch. Thirty minutes later, I get another call.)

Woman: “Hello, I was just at your store to rent DVDs and I think they’re not working.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, ma’am. Is there a message saying, ‘The disc cannot be read,’ or something like that?”

Woman: “No, it’s showing the name of the movie and things like, ‘Play,’ ‘Chapters,’ ‘Extras,’ but it won’t actually start playing.”

Me: “Is one of those options a different color than the others, or highlighted?”

Woman: “Yes, the one that says, ‘Play.’”

Me: “Great! Do you see a button on your remote that says, ‘Enter’?”

Woman: “Yes!”

Me: “Fantastic. Please press that.”

Woman: “Oh, there it goes! Thank you so much!”

(Two days later, I’m working as she comes to return the DVDs. I take the cases, but she lingers.)

Woman: “I’m so sorry. I really tried, but I couldn’t figure out how to rewind them. Please don’t charge me!”

Me: *I try to think of how to explain, and finally just start checking them in* “It’s okay, ma’am; we’ll let it go, since it’s the first time.”

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