Monday, March 22, 2010

Video Store Memory

I don't know why I just thought of this, but there was an incident that happened to me at an old job, and it still bothers me to this day. I don't know why I can't let things like this go, but there was something about it that still infuriates me. It might be one of the reasons I hate people as a whole.

I was working at a video store -- this was about 1999 or so, when they still had VHS tapes -- and we had a program with our popular new releases that if we didn't certain titles in stock, we'd give you a coupon for a freebie for next time. This usually applied toward big-name movies, or "Blockbuster" titles, if you will.

One night was especially busy, and we were all out of one movie, and so we were handing out coupons left and right. (I don't even the remember the movie, which I should if I'm going to continue harboring resentment toward the incident.)

We did keep a small stockpile of these movies behind the counter, because we found out that people were coming around with no intention of renting the movie in question, just to get the free coupon. There was nothing more priceless than having some asshole come up to the counter saying, "You don't have any copies of ________, so I'll take a coupon." I would say, "Well actually, it's your lucky day!" and then produce a copy of the movie. More than a few times, the person would say, "Oh, no never mind," and I would leave a comment on their account not to give them any coupons or refund them any late fees for trying to scam. Ah, the good old days.

So anyway, this one guy comes up to get a coupon, and so I gave one. We were completely out of copies, even our backups. The kid didn't look like white trash: he was relatively well-dressed, nice-looking enough (no homo) and if I didn't know better I would have assumed he was not a piece of shit.

I gave him a coupon and dated it one month later to the day, which was the policy. Since we were so busy, I forgot about the kid and started ringing up other customers. The video store I used to work at did a ton of business, and Friday nights were often out the door.

About ten minutes later, the kid to whom I had just given the coupon for the freebie (to be redeemed at a later time) came up with the movie that we had been out of, and so he plopped that and the coupon on the counter, smiling a sketchy little smile as if to say, "Give my my free movie, bitch."

I was pissed for two reasons:

1) It turns out that this sonofabitch went into our "Employees Only" video drop box and found the movie he was looking for. (We didn't have a lock on it, and at this store it was out on the floor, not behind the counter.) He went into an Employees-only space, like a selfish hunk of shit, and just took what he wanted. Make no mistake, this was a violation. Since I had already given him the coupon -- and didn't wait until he left the store as I had been instructed to do by my manager -- I had no recourse. And the reason I had no recourse was ...

2) ...because I never put a date range on the ticket. I gave an end-date, but I never gave a beginning date. (From this point forward I would always put the next day's date on the ticket.) I still don't know whether I was furious at myself or at the scheming piece of trash who did this.

The worst part is, I'm sure he doesn't remember the incident. Even worse, I couldn't pick him out of a lineup, which means the odds of me identifying him well enough to punch him in the testicles gets slimmer by the day.


Toastie said...

Arggh!!! How infuriating!!

Bill, I too once had the experience of working at a video store in my life. A few years back you may remember that I worked part time at a Blockbuster. On a Friday night this kid (about 16 or so) wanted to rent the newset teen sex comedy. I don't recall, American Pie 6, Stifler's Bout with Monogamy of something the like. I guess he had returned a scratched DVD at one point and had another damaged copy and was a little angry so I just switched them for the little tyke.

Fast forward twenty minutes later and the kid comes back in swearing, cuts to the front of the line and proceeds to try to tear me a new one.

"This is bull shit!! How hard is this job that you can't even get renting a working DVD out?!?! This is why to graduate high school and go on to a real job!!"

By this time I was growing tired of working two jobs so I just didn't stand there like an idiot and try to comply with the kid. So "Excuse me?" I muttered and began walking out from behind the counter. "I don't know who the fuck you think you are but you never talk to me like that again."

It was one of the proudest moments of my various careers in retail.

Bill said...

Holy crap that is the greatest thing I have ever heard. I think these might have occurred at the same Blockbuster (Empire Plaza, yes?). I think that's why you and I are probably better people, having been on that side of the counter. Oh how I wish I could have shown your chutzpah!