Saturday, February 14, 2009

Things I Don't Understand: Blockbuster's Return Policy

Here's Mrs. Orel with the latest entry in the SoSG Guest Writer Series:

Mulling over Manny, tugging on warm socks, stirring up hot chocolate, spreading out flannel bedsheets and coaxing the furnace to eke out fluffs of warm air into the (why? Don't ask me) hallway is how Orel and I are spending winter in Southern California.

It gets cold here. Not Wisconsin or North Dakota cold, but darn chilly and we feel it. One December morning I popped my face over the covers and could see my breath. Frosty wisps floating over the comforter.

And so we join our snowbound brethren in waiting for Opening Day by catching up on movies. We pop a bowlful of the white stuff, curl up in front of a blazing fire (purely a psychological effect) and wait to experience the laughs and tears Hollywood promises.

Sadly, our mom-and-pop movie rental store closed down recently, forcing us to shuffle around a blinkety-blink Blockbuster.

Okay, it's not that cold in L.A. Not freeze-your-brain-out-of-comprehension-mode cold.

A couple of weeks ago I picked out the latest unfunny comedy on a Thursday and asked the clerk when it needed to be returned.


"Do you mean this Saturday at midnight?"

"Well, Saturday."

"What if it's late?"

"Well, you have until a week from Saturday and, if you don't have it back by then, you'll be charged the full cost of the movie."

"So not this Saturday. You mean I can have it a whole week?"

"This Saturday would be better."

Okay, it's not that cold in L.A. Not freeze-your-brain-out-of-comprehension-mode cold. What does this conversation mean? What is the deal with Blockbuster?

And there we have it: Blockbuster would like us to be nice.

We have a storm in the forecast. A downpour will lock Orel and me into the house because driving in rain in L.A. is out of the question. It's again a Thursday and I venture forth to Blockbuster for two movies. I check out with another clerk.

"When do these have to be returned?"


"Do you mean this Saturday at midnight?"

"Well, Saturday."

"But, not this Saturday, right?"

"Yes, this Saturday."

"But another time the guy said Saturday but he really meant I could have it for a week. He made it sound like I could only have it for two days but he meant a week."

The clerk looks quickly around the store as if to locate the criminal-clerk.

"Who said that?" he demands to know.

"Jeez, I don't know, but it's kind of confusing, wouldn't you say?"

"Not at all."

"Then when do I have to have these movies back?"

"These are new releases and they should be back here by this Saturday."

"Ah, but really a week from Saturday, right? I mean, you're not going to charge me for the cost of these movies if I brought them back on say, Sunday or Tuesday, right?"

"Well yes, that's correct, but they are new releases and other people would like to see them."

"So, you think it would be nice for me to bring them back earlier?"


And there we have it: Blockbuster would like us to be nice.

At home, I get a crackling blaze going in the fireplace and cuddle up under a woolie with Orel and the remote. It's freezing again.

"What are we seeing?" he asks.

"Frozen River."

Earlier SoSG content by Mrs. Orel: Yankee Stadium Remembrances: Someone Needs a Hug, At-Game 25 Recap: Melted Out

Blockbuster photo by Steve Brandon


Unknown said...

I had a buddy that worked at Blockbuster when they switched to the "No Late Fees" thing. You get the movie for the stated amount of time (in this instance, 2 days). After those two days, you have 7 more to return it at no cost. After those 7 days, it converts to a sale, and you are charged for the full price of the movies. However, you have 30 days after that to return them for a full refund, less a small restocking fee ($1.50, I think). Weird, I know.

Unknown said...

Very funny, Mrs. Orel. Left us laughing and rather chillsome. I had to stop reading and go put socks on!
But let's get real real. What in the heck is going on with Manny? Does Orel have any inside?

Enquiring minds want to know.chuckie

Orel said...

Magic 8 Ball says...Dodgers sign Manny in the next ten days. Two-year deal plus a third option year. (No inside info, by the way.)

Steve Sax said...

As a friend of mine eloquently put it, Blockbuster's policy allows one month rental for $1.25. Can't beat that deal!

Neeebs (The Original) said...

That's why the market created Netflix.

BTW, you should rent Vicky Christina Barcelona. Its a chick flick for dudes because of the beautiful, Penelope, Scarlett, and Rebecca.

Orel said...

We hadn't joined Netflix because we can go months at a time renting nothing. But maybe it's time to make the switch.

Mrs. Orel rented VCB. I guess she was busy watching Javier.

Neeebs (The Original) said...


If the Mrs. likes Jaiver, she should rent Jamon, Jamon. A young Javier and a young Penelope.

As an added bonus, Mrs. Orel gets a shot at Javier in full frontal and full rearal. (if that's a word.)

Orel said...

Full rearal, huh? I'll pass along the good news. Thanks for the recommendation, Neeebs.