Orsm.net on Facebook Orsm.net on Instagram Orsm.net on Twitter

Click for more awesomeness

Block Buster...

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!

John writes:

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.

I’ve always 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 DVD…

"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 jealous already.

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 shop.

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.

Click for more awesomeness