A few moments ago a mother and her toddler walked into my store. I didn't recognise them as they're not regulars and the woman asked me what movies are good for her 9 year old daughter. Her daughter was not present and so it's always tricky to select movies for invisible people. Based only of the obvious facts (age & gender) I started recommending titles like Brave, Mirror Mirror and Madagascar 3. At one point I turned around to see that her toddler had pulled a packet of lollies from the shelf and was chewing & sucking on the packet. The mother looked at him but didn't fuss about it. It was a logical assumption that she had decided to purchase them and so you can imagine I was a bit grossed out when she eventually took the lollies out of his mouth, handed them to me and said "we're not going to get these. I'll let you put them back". What the? I was a bit thrown by what she said and I replied "um. I am sorry but your son has been chewing and sucking on those for the past five minutes. You will have to buy them. I can't sell them to anyone else now". She looked at me as though I was joking and she laughed. I reiterated that she would have to pay for them and said "would you want to buy a packet of lollies that have been in someone elses mouth?". She huffed, rolled her eyes and purchased the damn things. She was clearly pissed off but I really couldn't care less! Some of you will have kids and know all too well that anything they get their hands on goes straight into their mouth. I understand that and I appreciate that sometimes it's unavoidable but when you clearly know your child is doing it and let them continue, then it's simple... I'm not going to sell that item onto another person... and someone's got to pay for it. That's just gross!
Important note: For sanitary, health & safety reasons a retailer cannot sell on goods, which have been tampered with and/or exposed to illness. According to Consumer Affairs a child sucking on goods is deemed a health risk to others and the retailer is liable for any illness, which results. Therefore a retailer is within their right to insist payment. Add to this the fact that I have a sign in store stipulating to this effect The customer enters into an agreement when stepping into any business/retail space.
With the video rental industry all but dead, staying above board falls back on having an excellent catalogue, amongst other things. A good video store relies on healthy rotation. This is to say that old movies must make way for new ones. You can imagine that this is a tricky balance when trying to maintain an excellent and full catalogue of films. Naturally deciding which films must go (be sold off) is usually based on their performance ie.. movies that make money stay... and movies that don't make money go. Simple logic, right?
Well consider that these movies are just some of the highest performing titles in our back catalogue section. At any given time, these are usually out on hire.
Okay so now consider that THESE movies are an example of the ones, which sit on our shelves collecting dust. They bring in barely any revenue.
You can see the dilemma and appreciate why my catalogue of movies is growing substantially every week. I've barely got room for them. I can't get rid of good revenue but I refuse to lose some of these underachievers. Culling is one of the hardest and most heartbreaking parts of running this place.
Whenever there is a discretion or amendment to a membership, we record it for future purposes. Today I served a gentleman with a complaint and looking at his history I could see that this wasn't the first. This amused me.
Years ago before DVD came along, there was a prominent switch in the aspect ratio of films. With the popularity of wide screen televisions, videos were being distributed in a letter boxed format, as opposed to the old pan & scan that most of us grew up with. At first this pissed a lot of people off but with a simple explanation and education about fim presentation, most people embraced it... haha, look at us now!
And so this particular gentleman had rented The Insider starring Russell Crowe. I can recall this being one of the very first letterbox rentals and it did cause a lot of frustration for customers. The man in question returned it one afternoon with the familiar (at the time) complaint that the movie had been "chopped off" at the top and bottom of the screen. His theory, according to my records, was that the black lines at the top and bottom of his television were obscuring the image. Knowing me I would have given him a friendly crash-course on aspect ratio.
Cut to today... this member has been fairly regular over the years and of course his loyalty has not been taken for granted. Amusingly he returned a weekly movie this afternoon with the complaint that "the black lines have obscured the film". Given that I haven't had this type of complaint for years I wasn't sure I understood the problem and so I put the dvd into my player. Low and behold, the film was a title from the 80s presented in a 4:3 ratio... meaning that the black bars were now to the side of the screen.
Geeze, this guy can't get a break!