Guest writing for Orsm.net this week is John Au-Yeung.
Quite a funny story too - I can relate so well to this story it's
not even funny. Ever noticed that SO many of the people who work
in video and music shops seem to think they are part of the cast
from 'Empire Records'? REALITY CHECK: YOU DON'T!
Being my first posting for this new,
and hopefully permanent, feature for The Orsm Corporation, I thought
I’d write something positive, or at the very least, something
that’ll be light on the whinging. But come Thursday night,
all plans had changed, thanks to some very special people. Credit’s
due where credit’s deserved, so credit must be given to
the absolute fuckwits at my local Blockbuster Video.
avoided visiting Blockbuster as there was another video shop that
was situated closer to where I live. But since that video shop has
closed up indefinitely, I decided that it was time I forego my sense
of loyalty, and give Blockbuster a visit. As I pulled into the parking
lot of Blockbuster, I started to wonder why it had taken me so long
to join up with Blockbuster. I had read about them in Naomi Klein’s
No Logo, which described their typical corporate approach to in-house
censorship, and attempts at complete medium domination or at the
very least, alter the market to suit them. Fair enough, but I’ve
never seen that as being something that I should be particularly
concerned with. This became more so when I laid eye upon a poster
for the movie Panic Room. It was soon turning out to being one of
those quick-in-and-out visits. But, how often do these "in-and-out"
plans ever turn out to be what they are?
So up to the counter I go, ready to sign up for
membership, grab my DVD and back for home. "Sure," says
the middle-age lady there, (which I assume was the manager, as she
was, well, in her middle-age. If she wasn’t, wouldn’t
that be pathetic for her?), "but we’ll need two bills,
and a form of photo identification. Not a problem I thought as I
whip out the two letters I had with me – one from Centrelink
(hey, I’m a student) and one from my superannuation company
(hey, I’m a working student) – and my driver’s
licence. I came the night before and was told that I required 2
bills and an ID to apply so I was prepared. Now, time to get that
"I’ll also need a phone bill please
to authenticate your phone number". What the fuck? At this
point I knew the "quick-in-and-out" plans just went
out of the window. Apparently, for their convenience, the situation
was that Blockbuster requires authentication on name, address, and
phone number, so to help them keep tab on people when they run away
with their goods. Fair enough, but not when explained by the wench
on the other side of the counter. Precious minutes passed as she
tries to explain the shop policy as if I didn’t get it. I
got it alright. But what I didn’t get was the way the wench
at the counter tried to explain it. Was she getting high from the
rush of power she got, standing behind the counter, on its elevated
platform? Or was it the wonderful Blockbuster uniform that she wore,
that signify she had powers that we normal folk didn’t have?
Yes, powers to lend out tapes. And because of that, I’m dead
However, to increase her already pathetic performances
in customer service, she did one thing that really, did it for me.
"Look, I don’t want to give you my phone number, and
I don’t even own the line that’s at the place I live
in so there’s no point in giving you the phone bill"
I told her. What was her reply? A very elegant "you-are-so-fucking-dumb"
hands to the head and grunt of frustration, shaking of the head.
I’m sorry wench for being dumb, but explain what did that
fucking gesture mean?
At this precise moment, I started to wonder whether
people held up video shops because of a possible financial reward,
or maybe because they were being constantly fucked by people similar
to the one that was serving me.
I’m sorry, but I’m not the one who
is fucking dumb here. No, you are the one who is fucking dumb, Miss
Blockbuster video server. Didn’t anyone tell you that the
first rule of retail is the customer is always right, even when
they are stubborn as a mule? Last I checked I was pretty sure that
I was the customer in this scenario. And why do they need all my
personal details? Hell, they might as well ask for my tax file number,
amount that I held in my bank accounts, and the size of my underpants?
Isn’t it humiliating enough that we have to submit our bills
(whoa check out how much he’s got owing on his credit card)
and let them keep a photocopy record of it?
Going beyond that, why is Blockbuster so concerned
about losing some of their goods? From the way they go about dealing
their business, I’m sure they’ve amassed a fair amount
of money through opening shop in every second suburb to make a slight
loss not affect their profit margin. For crying out loud, they’ve
got the resources to run a pathetic attempt at an annual awards
ceremony (i.e. the prestigious and highly revered Blockbuster Entertainment
Awards), what does a few lost tapes and DVD’s amount to annually?
In the end, I left, with my paperwork in hand,
and no DVD. It seems Jodie Foster and Panic Room had to wait. For
fuck sakes, all I wanted was a DVD! As I pulled out of the parking
lot, I noticed that other customers were staring at me. Maybe they
were disappointed that I didn’t pull go whacko like Michael
Douglas did in "Falling Down".
I’ll give credit to Blockbuster, for their ability to plant
their big fat asses into our suburbs and offer variety in entertainment
albeit at the expense of smaller businesses. But what I can’t
comprehend is, when you’ve got the intellect to amass a multi-million
dollar business, you can’t hire even hire people who can handle
the pressures and difficulties that come with working at a video
Endnote: I’m sorry if I’ve offended
anyone who works in a video store, especially of Blockbuster. I’m
sure you are all capable human beings possessing a small degree
of manners, unlike the monster I had to deal with. This is just
an isolated incident, or, I hope it is anyway.