Rental Mental

, , , , , | Right | February 6, 2021

During college, I work for a once-popular video rental store. There are coupons going around online for a free video rental. Usually, there is no problem with this, but one day, an older couple comes into our store to rent a movie.

Me: “Hello! I see you’ve found a movie. Do you have an account with us?”

Male Customer: “No, we don’t. We have a coupon for a free movie! We want to use it.”

He hands me the printed-out coupon.

Me: “Sure thing! We just need an account so you can rent that—”

Female Customer: “What? We aren’t renting it! We have a coupon for a free movie!

Me: *Confused* “But you are still renting it. You are taking a DVD that belongs to this store home. We need to make you an account if you don’t have one so that I can rent the movie to you.”

Male Customer:No! You don’t understand! We aren’t renting anything! We are taking this movie home, and no! I will not create an account with your stupid store!”

Me: “You have to return it, though. We need your phone number and name so we know who has the DVD.”

Male Customer: *Getting angry*No! This is a free movie coupon. Free! We will take it home and return it if we want to!”

Me: “No. That’s not how this works. You are still renting the DVD. We, the company, own that DVD. You are basically borrowing it for a period of time that the company sets, coupon or no. Now. I would gladly make you an account, but if you don’t want to make one, then I cannot let you take the movie with you. I’m sorry.”

Female Customer: “Well, I never!

They stormed out, giving me the stink eye the entire time.

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No ID, No Idea, Part 41

, , , , | Right | January 21, 2021

It is 1988. I work part-time in a video rental store. This is before most people own VCRs — Video Cassette Recorders, the prequel to the DVD player — and in addition to renting movies, we also have several VCRs for rent for an extra $3 per night.

We are ALWAYS swamped. There are signs on the outside of the store, on the front doors, on the counter, and a particularly large one hanging directly over the counter where I stand, saying, “Two forms of ID are required in order to rent a VCR.” Usually, a driver’s license and a credit card will do. It makes perfect sense because if we just hand them out without ID, then people could just take them home and never bring them back. I can’t tell you how many times I have this conversation.

Customer: “I need a VCR but I don’t have my ID with me.”

Me: “Well, how far do you live? I can probably hold it for a few minutes if you’d like to run home and get your ID.”

Customer: “Can’t you just let me have it tonight? I promise I’ll bring it right back in the morning.”

I have really gotten fed up with all the stupid questions when one night, a particularly stupid customer just cannot get it through his head that I can’t just “let him” take the VCR without providing any ID. He finally yells at me:

Customer: “Fine! You’ve just lost a customer!”

Me: “You know? I think we can live without your $3 dollars.”

I turned around and rented it to the next person in line, who DID have two forms of ID.

No ID, No Idea, Part 40
No ID, No Idea, Part 39
No ID, No Idea, Part 38
No ID, No Idea, Part 37
No ID, No Idea, Part 36

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It’s All Your Fault Their Business Is Six Feet Under

, , , , | Working | December 15, 2020

This story happens when DVD rental stores are still a thing. The store in question is a Mom-and-Pop rival to the big chains. I like it because their owners are nerds, like my husband and me, and they have a lot of TV series available that the chains don’t have.

I borrow part of season two of “Six Feet Under,” and then my problems start. Several weeks later:

Owner: “Hey, just so you know, you haven’t returned that Six Feet Under DVD yet.”

Me: “Really? I could have sworn that I did.”

Owner: “Well, it’s not showing up on the system, and I can’t find it on the shelves, either.”

Me: “Aw, man. I have no idea where it is.”

Owner: “Can you have a good look for it at home?”

Me: “Of course.”

I go home and ransack my house. No luck. The next time I visit the store:

Owner’s Wife: “You still have that Six Feet Under DVD, and it’s now really overdue.”

Me: “I’ve looked everywhere. Are you sure that it’s not on the shelf?”

Owner’s Wife: “I’m sure; I’ve checked a few times.”

Me: “Rats. Can I just pay for a new copy?”

Owner’s Wife: “That’s okay. Just keep looking.”

Time goes by, and we have our carpets replaced throughout the house. This means that we empty out every single room as much as we can, and all of our furniture gets moved around. I am certain that the errant DVD will be found, but nope.

Owner: “Uh, that Six Feet Under DVD…”

Me: “I know! I can’t find it, no matter what. Please, can’t I just pay for a new copy?”

Owner: “See, the thing is, they’re not sold by the DVD; they’re sold by the season. You’d have to buy the entire season, and that wouldn’t be fair to you.”

Me: “I really don’t mind.”

Owner: “Nah, it’s cool. Just keep looking.”

Months went by and then years. The owner and his wife would periodically remind me about the missing DVD, I’d offer to pay for an entire season, they’d kindly turn me down, and then the cycle would repeat the next time I visited their store. Sadly, they eventually went out of business. That DVD never showed up. I’m guessing it’s in the Bermuda Triangle.

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New Ice Cream Flavor: Half-Baked Shoplifting Attempt

, , , , | Legal | CREDIT: OJRmk1 | September 21, 2020

It is 2005 and I am working at a video rental store – remember those? We also sell snacks, sweets and ice cream. All the food items are in view of the counter, and are the only items of value that aren’t stored behind the counter (all the DVD and video game boxes on the shelves are empty).

The location I work in is in a slightly seedy part of town, on a major road leading to the city center, and we are surrounded by a mix of cheap bed-and-breakfasts and bail hostels, so shoplifting is an issue for us. The ice-cream is often targeted since it is the most expensive single food item we sell; one-pint pots cost for about $5 each.

There are always at least two people on shift, and the cleverer shoplifters wait for us to both be busy before swiping the ice-cream, but this guy is far from smart…

While I am sorting a couple of things out behind the counter my colleague watches this guy walk up and get a tub of ice cream and walk out of sight between the aisles. He goes to leave the store a couple minutes later and my colleague pipes up:

Colleague: “Excuse me, sir, are you going to buy that ice cream?”

Shoplifter: “What ice cream?”

Colleague: “The tub of cookies and cream that you have in your carrier bag.”

There’s a pause and the shoplifter looks like a deer in headlights, then my colleague points at the bag, which is obviously bulging and semi-translucent, so you can clearly see the tub of ice-cream, which is how he can tell the flavour.

It was priceless watching him sheepishly put it back and slouching off like a scolded child.

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The Amazing World Of Gumball

, , , , , | Right | September 15, 2020

I’ve worked at a video store for years. Many people try to lie to try to get out of late fees, but this was a one-time incident.

We have a gumball machine in the store. Like in many convenience or video stores, a certain-colored gumball — in our case, white — yields something free: a movie rental, for our store.

A kid, about twelve, who I know has stolen games from us and therefore won’t be allowed to rent anyway, walks up to the gumball machine. After casting a furtive glance at me over his shoulder — I pretty much death-glare into his soul — he pretends, very blatantly, to put a quarter in the machine and turns the knob. He waits about two seconds before turning to me.

Customer: “Yes! I got a white gum! I’m gonna go pick out my movie, okay? Can you put the credit on my account?

Me: “That’s fine, but where’s the gumball? I just need to see it for a moment before you chew it.”

Customer: “I already ate it, see?”

He opens his mouth; he has a well-chewed and very small piece of gum in his mouth.

Me: “Yeah, I can say with some certainty that you already had that gum. Nice try, though.”

Customer: “What? I just put it in my mouth! This store is such a rip-off. You should take that sign down about winning a free rental since it’s a lie. I’m gonna get my mom to call and tell the boss about you!”

My patience has evaporated.

Me: “Your mom’s account is under [Customer]. You have two XBox 360 games rented a year ago that never came back. I have a really good memory, but even if I didn’t, it would show when you tried to rent, so I can’t rent to you anyway.”

Customer: “Oh, yeah, we took [Game #1] and [Game #2] from here. What if I bring them back? I live like two minutes away and they’re in my room.”

Me: “So, you’re admitting you still have the games, and apparently, you have willfully held onto them after dozens of phone calls about them being late. I’m fairly certain you should leave now.”

The customer took off running, full-speed. That was two years ago; he hasn’t shown his face since.

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