I am struggling without coffee today and so it's not advisable to piss me off. The last woman to cross my path almost copped the full brunt of my wrath.
She was hiring a game and while processing the transaction I reminded her that she still had another title on hire, which was overdue. I politely asked her to return it as soon as she got the chance. She replied "Oh it was returned". To which my natural response was "I'm afraid it wasn't. But that's alright. Just have another look when you get home". Our conversation went like this...
HER - "I know for a fact that it's been returned".
ME - "Are you positive? We are meticulous when it comes to returned titles. If they ever miss our scanner (which is very rare) then we find them almost immediately".
HER - "Oh I am absolutely sure we returned it"
ME - "Do you know when?"
HER - "Yes. First thing this morning. We put it in your after-hours drop box. It's probably still in there".
ME - "No, sorry it wasn't in there".
HER - "Yes. It's probably in there right now".
ME - "Well I emptied the box at 9AM and I have emptied it 5 times since. Every single title from that box has been processed correctly so unless you put it in there within the past 10 minutes then I am adamant that it's not there"
HER - "I watched my daughter put it in the box this morning. You are wrong".
ME - "I am not sure how you are not comprehending what I am saying but I have emptied the box 6 times today and can show you the log book to prove so."
HER - "I insist that you open the box now!"
ME - "Did you just returned it now??"
HER - "No. At 9AM!"
ME - "Well okay. Lets open it!".
And so I opened the box to see 5 movies sitting inside. On top of the pile (ie most recently returned) was her title. With a smart-ass tone and her arms folded she said "Told you!".
At this point I was ready to explode. She obviously put the fucking movie in there right before you came into the store. I didn't return her "Told You!" with the reply it deserved and so instead I treated her to my infamous death-stare and said "funny that, huh? Bye".
A little old lady came into my store earlier and damn near broke my heart. She approached me quietly with her eyes glassed over. She looked upset and embarrassed and after taking a moment to compose herself, in a meek voice, she asked if we hired out "adult" movies. She really picked the wrong moment to enquire because my store was full of people, with several kids within earshot. I quietly told her that we don't stock adult films anymore. She wasn't sure how to react. She stared into my eyes and looked as though she was about to burst into tears. In an attempt to pluck her spirits up I continued "but there are plenty of places nearby where you can find some". She replied "Like where?" and so I gave her a few suggestions of local adult stores. She asked if our membership card would work at their stores, to which I let her know that she would have to actually purchase the films. She was clearly becoming more upset and I wasn't too sure how to read the situation... that is, until she told me that her husband suggested that they watch sex-movies together and that he was making her do the groundwork. I quietly asked if she actually wanted to watch the movies or whether it was just him. With her lip quivering she told me that it was only him and that she was just trying to make him happy. My heart sank. I told her that she shouldn't have to watch them if she doesn't want to, but went ahead and gave her the locations of some stores that are friendly and will understand and help her. She looked at me and left. No goodbye. Simply broken.
And to her husband I say this -- YOU ARE A PIECE OF SHIT !!!
DO YOUR OWN DAMN DIRTY WORK AND HAVE SOME RESPECT FOR YOUR LOVELY WIFE!
School holidays hurt my head. They're great for business but they kill my sanity. LOL. Take this for example. A kid does THIS to a bag of fairy floss while the mother talks to me over the counter. Before they leave she hands the bag to me and says "we wont take this"....
Normally I would say "Ah YES you will" but today I'm all out of muster!! Sigh.
Yesterday I had a lengthy conversation with a lovely old woman who, well and truly, lived up to the "senior" stereotype. She appeared to be in her mid 80s but was very switched on and chatty. It was a frustrating discussion, however, and one that I was going to keep to myself... but the details of it have stuck with me overnight and I thought that it was an amusing story to tell.
She came into my store just after lunchtime and asked whether I had PETER AND THE WOLF available to hire. There have been various adaptations over the years but there has never been a proper theatrical release. I told her that we didn't stock any versions of the story and that she would be strapped to find any feature-length version of it anywhere. She was disappointed and then asked whether ROBINSON CRUSOE was available. We do have the film, however, it was currently on hire. In her frustration she explained to me that she was looking after her two great-grandchildren (aged 6 and 9) and that she wanted movies that would "truly entertain them". I introduced her to our family section, where we have over 2000 titles in stock. She honestly wasn't interested and told me that "all of these new films are rubbish". I suggested that we browse the titles together and that I could help select some of the wonderful movies amongst them. She humoured me and we had a long discussion. She told me the children's parents let them watch "rubbish". I was curious to what sort of titles she was referring to and she pointed to a few on the shelf. "Oh things like this." and "Things like that". She was pointing to movies like HUGO and TOY STORY. I was a little surprised and told her that I personally considered those to be very good movies for kids. She asked me why and I explained that they are both adventurous, sincere and thought provoking. She didn't seem convinced.
Our conversation lasted for at least thirty minutes and she revealed that she was looking after her grandchildren for two weeks. She wanted to introduce them to movies that she grew up with, which she considered to be wholesome and educational. At one point she mentioned OUR GANG (the original Little Rascals) to which I smiled and commented that OUR GANG was most definitely not wholesome or educational. "Of course it was" she replied. I don't think she was expecting me to even know what OUR GANG was but I reminded her of those child characters being paraded on screen in salacious ways. Little boys pretending to be cigarette-smoking gangsters in gambling dens and little girls pretending to be prostitutes. "It wasn't all pure" I said... but I digressed. I wasn't interested in pissing on this woman's fond memories and so I continued to show her some fabulous and wonderful modern movies. "No no no. I want Peter and the Wolf. And Robinson Crusoe". Hmm. Things were getting frustrating.
I mentioned to her that I was a father and was in a position to lend my own advice. Knowing that I had children changed her attitude and the conversation switched to the type of films I exposed my kids to. She was genuinely curious. I told her that I like to challenge my kids. I am not one to bubble-wrap them and that watching challenging films was an important component to healthy development. I further explained what I meant by that and pointed to films like THE LAST MIMZY, HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS and BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA. "All of these are challenging in their own ways. This is a little bit scary while this one is emotionally charged. All of them have a strong sense of morality and they will take the kids on a wonderful journey". The conversation did go into what is age appropriate and all of that stuff but my point was that there was plenty of modern movies to enjoy.
Unfortunately this old woman, as lovely and well intentioned that she was, was stuck in her mind set. She was adamant that her grandchildren would prefer to watch classics from the 30s through to the 60s. I remaked that I personally can't imagine too many kids gravitating towards that stuff and that most kids don't explore classic cinema until they're much older and interested in historical context... etc.
The conversation was long and extensive. Only a fraction of it found its way into this article and I would be here for hours if I were to include every detail. The discussion was great and we both respected each other's opinions. She ended the conversation by saying that all kids (referring to the age of her grandkids) these days are lazy and lack a sense of adventure. That they've got too much time for computer games and mobile phones and no time for the outdoors. I smiled and said to her "Oh I dont know. I don't think the kids of today are much different to the kids of yesterday. It's the parents who have changed and have a lot to answer for".
She left with ROBINSON CRUSOE on reservation and ignored the rest of the family section. It's a great film and all.... and I'm sure that her 6 year old grandchild is going to just LOVE IT.
So many of my run-ins with customers bring upon deja vu and Im sure that if I were to trawl through this blog I would see the same thing reoccurring. I suppose I document them to highlight just how many of these idiots are out there.
This afternoon I was visited by a middle aged couple (husband and wife). They were returning several films and were quite disgruntled. The husband was angrier than his wife and he told me that one of the films kept skipping. I opened the case and examined the disc to find that the surface was devoid of scratches but was smothered with greasy fingerprints. I pointed this out to him as I began to polish the disc and he interrupted me by saying "we cleaned it ourselves". I nodded and kept polishing to which he repeated "I said we cleaned it ourselves". Fortunately at this point I was not done and so I stopped to show him the disc. I showed him the finger marks. He acknowledge them and mentioned that regardless of his efforts to clean the disc, the fact remains that they've been covered in grease in the time since. That was the end of that issue. His wife looked embarrassed.
Next up he pointed to another film and told me that it doesn't work at all and no matter what they did, it would not work. I asked him if he owns a blu-ray player to which is answered NO. "So that's the problem" I replied, pointing out the fact that it was a blu-ray and not a dvd. He got angry and said "how are we supposed to know that?". I held the cover up to show him that our covers are unmistakable and irrefutably marked correctly. His wife looked embarrassed.
I then took the opportunity to inform them that our store was now predominantly blu-ray orientated and that we are phasing out dvd. The husband got angry and said "well I guess you've lost me as a customer". I mentioned that this was unfortunate and explained to him that blu-ray is the leading format, which we have featured in our store for 10 years. I also mentioned that we spent the past 12 months advertising the change in various mediums. Online. In store. On rental covers and across the counter. A explained that, furthermore, the last several months has seen a stronger emphasis on the change and that approximately 85% of our members made the conversion before we decided to phase out dvd. I also explained the benefits of blu-ray and that the biggest perk from his point of view was the fact that they're highly durable and do not scratch easily. I told him that every hire will be perfect and that all films will play perfectly, without glitches. His wife looked embarrassed.
By the end of the conversation I had given them 3 free new release hires and demonstrated the benefits of blu-ray. They left the counter for a few moments, talked amongst themselves and then returned to ask whether they could come back and purchase one of the blu-ray players we have on sale.
That was far too much bullshit for a sale... but considered them converted!
Disc repair is one of the services that my store provides. In layman's terms, the machine essentially acts as a cut & polish and removes scratches from the discs. As the image here suggests it is a fantastic service that brings discs back to life that were otherwise unusable. We're able to service all kinds of discs from DVD to PS2 to Wii, PS3 and rewritables. A guy came in today with five PS1 discs. He explained to me that he collects retro old-school games and that occasionally some of the discs won't work. The five he was bringing to me has been collected over the last couple of years and he had only now realised that he's unable to use them. I looked at all of the discs and they were in pristine condition, as though straight out of the shrink-wrap. I asked him where he had brought them from and he told me there were brand-new from various places like ebay and cash converters. I explained to him that the discs were blemish-free and wouldn't benefit from our repair service and also explained how our machine works. As the discs did not have any scratches, the machine's service would be pointless. I suggested to him that the problem could be a number of other things such as a manufacturing error or possible heat damage or even a rare case of disc-rot (which one appeared to have a slight indication of). I reiterated that the discs looked perfect and that there were no scratches to be removed, and that he would be wasting his money. He replied "Thats okay. Put them all through your machine anyway". Clearly he wasn't getting it and so I thought "fuck it".
And I took his money. (Sucker!)