Sunday, September 25, 2011

Waiting for a movie at Blockbuster Express

Being a driver, I like to be as efficient and effective as possible when completing a task.  I will look for shortcuts, time savers, efficiency boosts or anything else to get the job done better and faster.

Renting a movie is no exception.  We use the Blockbuster Express near our house to rent movies when we are in the mood to relax and watch a DVD.  In order to streamline the process, I reserve the movie online and pay for it before I leave the house.  This guarantees the movie I want will be there and that I don't have to call my wife and go over the list of options on the phone with a grumbling line behind me.

With the kiosk being very close to our house and reserving the movie in advance, going to get the movie can be done in under 4 minutes.  That's right, from the front door - to the car - to the kiosk - back to the car - back to the front door in under 4 minutes.  And yes, we have timed it.  So when I was gone for more than 20 minutes the other day picking up the movie, you can imagine that there was a story.

Here is that story.

When I pull up to the kiosk, if there is no one waiting, I will just pull up and leave the car running because it only takes me a minute or two to actually get the movie out.  When I pulled up this day, I realized I better park.  There were two people in front of me and I figured it might take a little while.  I would never have been able to guess at half of what I was about to experience.

The first person in line was a sweet woman probably in her 50s with a cart full of groceries.  The second was a college aged girl talking on the phone.  (We have a college in town, so I feel it is safe for me to guess this girl was in college.)

After standing in line (with a light rain starting to fall) for about 5 minutes, it became clear that the first woman was struggling with the kiosk.  She seemed to be looking for something that either didn't exist or was intentionally hiding itself from her.  She gave a few embarrassed glances backwards at us (the other girl in line and me) which we took as our cue to help her.  She was indeed looking for a specific movie but could not remember anything about it.  Not the title, not who was in it, not what it was about... nothing.  She did remember that it was a drama.  I helped her scroll through all the movies while the other girl asked questions to try to draw something helpful out of her.

After this went on for a few minutes, she mumbled "...something about a lawyer..." so I started to type in "lawyer" in the search and the college girl (after thinking a moment) asked, "The Lincoln Lawyer?"  She got very excited and said that, yes, in fact that was the movie she was looking for.  We very quickly found that title and selected it for her.

You might think that is the end of the story.  You would be wrong.  I would not be sharing this on my blog if that was the end of the story.  No, no. This is just the beginning.

She now had to confirm that she was 17.  This screen led to a considerable pause.  We explained that if she was older than 17 (and we recommended that she say she was even if she wasn't... as they wouldn't let her rent the movie if she said no... please keep in mind it was clear that she was well over 17) she needed to say yes.

Next she had to agree to the terms and conditions.  I almost left when I saw that screen.  Fortunately, she did not seem to feel the need to read the whole thing and took our summary of what it probably said as good enough to accept it.

Next she had to swipe her credit card... which, miraculously, worked the first time.  But when it prompted her to give her zip code, she was stumped.  At this point, she accidentally hit the enter button before even trying to guess her zip code.  The kiosk informed her that her zip code did not match and the rental was unable to complete.

So we started all over.  We selected "Lincoln Lawyer".  We said that, yes, she was over 17.  We said, yes, she accepts the terms and conditions.  She swiped her card.  She typed in her zip code.  It was accepted.  And her movie was dispensed.

Don't cheer yet though.

As she reached for her movie, instead of taking it, she bumped it and pushed it back in.  I am not even joking!

So we started all over.  We selected "Lincoln Lawyer".  We said that, yes, she was over 17.  We said, yes, she accepts the terms and conditions.  She swiped her card.  She typed in her zip code.  It was accepted.  And her movie was dispensed.

This time I offered to take it out for her.  I almost bumped it back in myself, but managed to hang on and successfully delivered the movie to her.

College girl took a few extra minutes because she needed to enter a promo code in from her phone, but soon I was up and not longer after on my way home with our movie for the night!

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