Video store employee unloads etiquette tips

Colleen Stein

Colleen Stein

I have been employed at a video store for a little more than a year. During the countless hours I have spent rewinding movies and stamping punch cards, I have been plagued with several stupid customers who not only torment me, but my co-workers as well.

In the past few weeks, I have collaborated with my film-oriented family to come up with a list of proper video store etiquette. The following is a condensed version of an entire collection of Commandments that every video card carrier should know and follow:

1. You need a membership to rent?

Some people come up to the counter with an armful of movies and are surprised that you need to fill out a membership form to rent.

Apparently these are the same folks who leave their doors unlocked and hand out homemade goodies on Halloween.

Although you feel a little callous telling them that there is no such thing as the honor system in the wide world of video rentals, it is much worse typing in over 20 last names and phone numbers trying to track a customer account that doesn’t even exist in the database yet.

This brings me to another common problem, filling out new membership forms.

2. What, you want my blood type too?

Like any bank you may go to secure a loan, video stores need some form of collateral. But instead of a car title, we only seek detailed information to contact you in case you choose not to return your movie.

Stores vary on the criteria for filling out a new membership; sometimes two IDs are needed, sometimes two phone numbers. Whatever the form requests, be a dutiful little customer and fill it out without complaint.

You’re not going to change the “system” by turning into a one-man lobbyist yelling at the store clerk on a Friday night with 8 people behind you so do everyone a favor and respect the store policy or take your business elsewhere.

3. Go put that back where you found it, honey!

Just because rental stores offer an adequate family selection does not mean you should unleash your rugrats in the children’s section.

Hold on to your toddlers or leave them at home out of respect for other customers and the employees.

Too many times have candy shelves been knocked over, toilets plugged, candy boxes gnawed on and put back, and video cases strewn across the entire store.

If your progeny in pampers brings you the movie case to Shrek 2, don’t abandon all logic and tell the child to put it back where they found it, be responsible and put it back for them. If the kid has not yet learned to read, I doubt he has grasped the concept of alphabetization and movie genres.

4. You guys got any porn?

Most rental stores have some sort of section devoted to adult entertainment films. Since there seems to be a mass confusion as to what is hardcore and what is not, I will reveal the difference.

If the video store has a special room, strictly devoted to adult films where you must by 21 to enter, the movies you will find there are the real deal – they’re pornography.

If however, you stumble across a store that has a section entitled something like Late Night and it is intermingled with the rest of the movie genres, you are dealing with soft-core porn.

In other words, it is the type of low-key, cheesy stuff with lame storylines that is strictly meant to tease. You know, something you might see on HBO or Cinemax when you stay up past your bedtime.

If a store doesn’t have the kind of “entertainment” you are looking for, simply lower the brim of your cap and head towards the exit. This is much more appropriate than approaching the college girl at the counter at midnight and asking her if she knows of any good pornos ….

Colleen Stein is a senior journalism major and English minor.