Hollywood Video is the Mafia

This is my conversation that I just had with the high school kid working at Hollywood video, as best as I can remember it.

Kid: Phone number please?

Me: [Murray's phone number]

Kid: Murray Terreno di Amore?

Me: Yes.

Kid: Cicada Terreno di Amore?

Me: Yes.

Kid: This shows you have a late fee. Would you like to pay that now?

Me: Yes. [Pause] But what if I said no? How many times am I allowed to say no?

Kid: Uh... technically they don't tell us that. And actually, even when someone's account comes up as "DO NOT RENT TO THIS PERSON" we still rent to them. So basically we'll rent to you no matter what.

Me: Hmm. I'll pay the fee.

Kid: [Rings me up for my movies and my late fee.] Would you like to buy damage protection on these movies for 25 cents each?

Me: No.

Kid: It means that if they come back damaged, you don't have to pay to replace them.

Me: I don't want to pay it.

Kid: Okay. What would you say if I just charge you 50 cents damage protection for all three movies?

Me: Not gonna pay it. I mean, what, it's 20 bucks if I damage the movie? I just have to pay 20 bucks to replace it?

Kid: Yeah, so wouldn't you rather pay 50 cents to protect yourself than 20 bucks?

Me: I don't want to buy the protection. Boy, they sure do tell you to do this, though, don't they?

Kid: Yeah. We have to do it. They keep track. And if I don't meet my weekly quota, I could lose my job.

Me: You're kidding.

Kid: Well, I wouldn't lose my job because my boss is really nice and he wouldn't do that. But his boss really gets on his back, and he could lose his job if we aren't meeting our quotas.

Me: Well, if it helps you meet your quota, then I'll pay the 50 cents.

Kid: No, no. That's okay. I'm not going to charge you for it.

Me: I mean, how can they prove it anyway? How can they prove that I damaged the movie?

Kid: If it's damaged, they'll bring up the name of the last person who rented it.

Me: I'd say, "It didn't work that well for me, either, but I was able to get past the rough parts."

Kid: They'd make you pay anyway. It's a horrible company.

[With my powers of negotiation, they wouldn't. But I didn't go into that.]

Me: What's your name:

Kid: William. [Name changed for protection.]

Me: William, next time I come in, I'm going to buy the protection, only to help you reach your quota and keep your job.

Kid: That's really nice of you. In fact, it's so nice of you that I'm going to ring you up for a free movie, and in my own way I can stick it to the company.

Me: You stick it to them. And thank you. That's really nice.

So basically, William will be my go-to guy at Hollywood from now on. Until he loses his job that is, because people get wise to the whole "Hollywood would like to offer you its protection" scam.


AzĂșcar said...

I once returned a crappy kung-fu movie my husband and his friend rented at Hollywood.

A couple weeks later I got a call saying the movie was late. I ignored it.

A couple weeks later they called me with their customer care.

I basically went 12 rounds with them over whether or not I had turned in the movie.

"I mean honestly," I said to the guy, "Out of all the movies I've rented, out of all the Oscar-winning films and stellar movies, I choose to scam you out of a crappy kung-fu movie? Does that make any sense to you at all?"

He conceded that it didn't make sense. So, I said I wouldn't rent at that location again and they decided not to charge me the 60 bucks to replace it.

But I like that William.

jeri said...

I feel bad for employees that are treated this way by big companies. I worked in customer care for Sprint for a while, and if you tried to actually HELP a person that called, you would get written up for having an average call time that was too high. Also you had to charge $5 to their account for taking a phone payment which you were not allowed for any reason to mention to the customer. It was a horrible and de-moralizing job.

I didn't know that about the quota on the protection fee. That's too bad, because there's no way I'm paying money to insure me against damaging a movie that already looks like it's been drug behind a vehicle for several miles.

Amber said...

At least the kid was honest. Teenagers crack me up. Once we were at IHOP and we had this teenage waitress that was hilarious. After dinner I actually did want dessert and asked her whether or not one of the pies was good. She said, "They're all kind-of sick tonight, they don't look very good at all." I laughed out loud and decided not to get any but tipped her more from saving me from wasting money.

jeri said...

Interestingly I just got back from Hollywood Video again where I could not rent Scooby Doo: Monster of Mexico and My Name is Earl because our MVP membership had run out. I couldn't renew it because my husband the purse-snatcher took mine to work with him. So the guy just GAVE me three videos and said "next time you come in you can just renew the membership then". So apparently even though they work for the Mafia, the employees are pretty nice.

chelsea said...

hi cicada -

you don't know me, but we're two degrees of separation through miss natali.

i love your blog.

and this post.

nice to sort-of meet you

daltongirl said...

This sort of reminds me of this one time when we went to eat at Taco Bell. The teenage kid behind the register kept saying,

"Seriously. This company sucks. If I were you, I would turn around and walk out the door and go to Burger King. Because this company seriously sucks."

Not as happy an ending as what you experienced, because not only did we not get a free taco, but he wasn't even nice to us since we were too hungry to take his advice.