GPS = Global Profiting System

, , , , | Right | May 10, 2019

(I’m at our local video store with my sister who is renting something. This guy walks in and rushes past the desk with his smartphone volume up loudly — and it’s his GPS talking to him, giving him directions.)

Me: “I guess he’s taking the scenic route?”

Cashier: “Yeah, we pay Google Maps to have people stop at our store along the way.”

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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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They’re Black-Listed

| Working | August 5, 2017

(My coworker at a video rental store is half African-American but often mistaken for being Filipino, which he expresses comical exasperation about each time it happens — it becomes a bit of a joke. One night he gets into an altercation with a customer over renting a video game. The conversation has built up to a boiling point:)

Coworker: “I’m sorry, sir, I cannot let you rent a video game unless you have a valid credit card on file.”

Customer: “That’s b***-s***! Do you not understand how currency works? I want to pay CASH!”

Coworker: “I understand that, sir, but the system won’t let me process this transaction unless I can scan your card.”

(The customer is holding a placement box that doesn’t contain the actual game disc. He abruptly storms off with it in hand, but pauses at the door and slams the box on the counter.)

Customer: “Here’s your empty box back, you [very offensive term for an African-American]!”

Coworker: *turns to me with an amazed expression* “He actually knew I’m black!”

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Math Is For The Devil

| Working | February 15, 2017

(Way back when video stores were actually a thing, I went in looking for a specific movie. This interaction made me weep for our education system.)

Clerk: “How can I help you?” *in tone that implies he’d rather not*

Me: “Yes, I’m looking for a movie called The Devil’s Arithmetic? It stars Kirsten Dunst and Brittany Murphy?”

Clerk: “The Devil’s WHAT?”

Me:The Devil’s Arithmetic?”

Clerk: *incredibly sarcastic tone* “The Devil’s Uh-thuh-thuh-thuh?”

Me: “Um. No. A-rith-me-tic. You know, like, math?”

Clerk: “Whatever. We don’t have anything like that.”

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A Clockwork Derange

| Friendly | August 23, 2016

(I used to work at a chain video store as a second job. The biggest question we receive from customers, after “do you have [New Release that everyone already grabbed] behind the counter,” was the request that we recommend a good comedy. Now, comedy is subjective. What I find funny doesn’t always mean that someone else will find it funny. After getting fed up with all the refunds, I changed my tactics. This was a typical interaction.)

Customer: “Can you recommend a good comedy?”

Me: “Sure. Do you like musical comedies?”

Customer: “Sure.”

Me: “Then rent A Clockwork Orange. It’s a musical comedy, with some great themes, and a lot of slapstick.”

Customer: “Thanks!”

(Cut to usually an hour or two later…)

Customer: *returning movie with a look of horror* “What is WRONG with you?”

Me: “What? I laugh every time I watch it!”

(They usually leave me alone after that.)

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