When I was little, every Friday night was spent eating pizza (pepperoni, mushrooms) and renting movies (often “Goonies,” “Faerie Tale Theatre,” “Ghostbusters” or “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”). The pizza part is still pretty much the same. The movie part isn’t.
Remember when you’d go to the movie store (Turtles!?!) and spend half an hour looking at the cardboard boxes? If you couldn’t find the one you wanted, you could go ask the checker outer person if anyone had brought one in while you were looking. Once the movies were home, you really, really hoped they didn’t jam in the VHS player, spraying shiny tape all over the place.
When my kids were little, Movie Gallery was the place, and having a toddler in there was a nightmare. At least the shelves were in alphabetical order, so you could try to return the boxes to order.
I guess Netflix came along after that. You could rent any movie you wanted, but you had to wait until the next day to get it? It took a while to get used to it, but eventually all of the movie stores closed up shop. We don’t subscribe to the Netflix that sends you actual DVDs, because I could never remember to send them back. I’m pretty sure I still have their copy of (the only season of) “My So Called Life” in the junk drawer. Thinking back to the ‘80s and days of VHS tapes, who would’ve known that I could get directly on the internet through my TV and stream movies. Hell, we didn’t even know about the internet.
So we’ve come a long way. Now, the newest thing is the kiosks. Blockbuster and Redbox seem to be at every store now. You can even rent movies at the gas station. They’re cheap to rent, and since the kiosks are everywhere, they’re easy to return. In theory. I’ve paid the maximum thirty something dollars for more than one movie.
The other day, I was at the gas station kiosk, and all I had to do was return my DVD. I was all proud of myself, because I’d remembered, just before the 9 p.m. deadline, that we had a movie to return. Forget the fact that we never actually watched it. At least I remembered to take it back!
I walked up to the kiosk and noticed a couple looking through the movie choices. I laughed to myself, because they were both under the sunshade, using it as a little tent, as if it was too heavy to hold up. Seeing that it was nearly 9, I’m sure you already guessed that it was dark.
Under the little shade they huddled. I could hear them discussing the various genres. She wanted a love story. He wanted action. He doesn’t like that guy. She just loves that girl. I was starting to get a little restless. All I had to do was return my movie. It takes less than 10 seconds, and 9 o’clock was quickly approaching.
And then they were arguing. They were yelling. “Um, pardon me? Any chance I can just return my movie? No? Oh, okay. I’ll wait.” I waited. 9 p.m. passed. I would be paying for another day’s rental.
Suddenly I realized that they weren’t fighting about the movies anymore. This was a full-blown domestic disturbance. They finally noticed me standing there. He felt bad about it, and told her that I should go ahead. She had a totally different opinion. I was two steps away from getting in my car to find a different kiosk, when they seemed to be wrapping things up. She was clicking on movie titles, and I think she let him choose one, too. Sweet.
And then her card was declined. As in, she just spent 15 minutes trying to rent eight movies, and she didn’t have any money. Bless. Oh, I’m not judging. I’ve had my fair share of low bank balances. I just wish I’d beaten them to the kiosk. Maybe if they’d simply agreed on one movie, she’d have had the funds to cover it. I wasn’t in any position to make suggestions.
The strangest part? The guy came out of the convenience store with a six-pack of beer. So why on earth didn’t he pay for the movies? Girl, rather than worrying so much about what movie you want to watch with him, you might want to think about returning him. I’ll cover the late fees.You Might Also Like: