I love Redbox. It’s a cheap, mostly easy way to rent movies (assuming you’re only looking for new releases). And since both the Hollywood and Blockbuster stores in town closed, it’s the only option for us. (Alas, we don’t have Netflix.) I love that I can check the availability of different movies in different locations and reserve the one I want. But there’s one thing about Redbox that I hate, and that’s its customers.
Redbox is not a video store. It’s a vending machine. That means you browse, select your movies, and check out all in the same spot. While you can spend fifteen minutes strolling through a video store looking at all the boxes and trying to decide what you want, if you do that at Redbox, you’re holding up the line. That doesn’t seem to stop anyone, though. Imagine someone dithering for five minutes or so in front of a vending machine over whether to get a Snickers or a Milky Way or maybe some chips. Then imagine that the next three people in front of you all do the same thing, and you start to get pretty frustrated with people.
The worst part is that it’s completely unnecessary. If you have internet access, you can browse movies on Redbox’s website, find a location that has it in stock, and reserve it. Then all you have to do is go to the right machine, push a button, and swipe your credit card. Picking up a movie only needs to take about 15 seconds. And dropping off a movie shouldn’t take more than a few seconds, either, except that you have to wait until the machine is free.
Like tonight, when I went to drop off the movie we rented last night. First I went to Macey’s, but I could see that there were about five or six people in line, so I drove over to McDonald’s instead. I was excited to see that there was only one person in line, so I thought it would only take a minute or two.
It turned out to be more like five, though, because the woman in line in front of me was a browser. I swear she looked at every single movie in the catalog and ended up checking out three. While I was waiting another three people got in line behind me. And then, after she swiped her credit card, which took her about three tries to get right, the machine asked for her zip code. I don’t know what she thought it was asking for, because she punched in four digits, and it didn’t look like any zip code from around here.
She tried hitting “next” about five times. The guy behind me cleared his throat impatiently. I finally chimed in and said, “It needs your zip code.” She turned around looking vaguely embarrassed, apologized, and put in her zip code and hit “next” again. Finally she was on her way, and I was able to drop off my movie and go home. What should have been a ten-minute-tops errand turned into more like twenty minutes because one person decided to treat a vending machine like her own personal video store.
And this happens at least every other time I use a Redbox. Quite frequently I get stuck behind two or three browsers instead of just one, so I end up waiting in line for fifteen minutes. And all of that could be avoided if people were just considerate of others and kept their browsing to a minimum or just reserved their movies online. I’m sure most people don’t even know you can do it online, but that’s still no excuse for holding up a line for five minutes or more.
Like I said, I love Redbox, but I hate a its customers. I’m sure one of these days I’m just going to lose it and start cussing out the people who are making me wait fifteen minutes to perform a thirty-second task. Maybe it’s about time to finally get Netflix.