I have recently developed a love/hate relationship with the Red Box located at most Wal-Marts and 7-Elevens. When I was visiting a friend in Florida and he first introduced me to this awesome machine I thought, well, this rocks!
See, I am what most people would call a "movie freak." I am also what most people would call "poor" and "forgetful." This means I love movies, but I can't justify going to a theater and paying nine gazillion dollars for a ticket, plus popcorn, because you have to have popcorn, add a drink which brings the total up to approximately thirty gazillion dollars for what usually turns out to be a mediocre movie and two hours of my life I'll never get back.
They take credit right?
NetFlix is fine if you have time on your hands. Unfortunately, right now, I do not. If I do find myself with 2 free hours to kill and I choose not to sleep or save the world, how can I possibly predict what type of movie I'm going to want to watch at that particular moment in time? Will I be in the mood for a comedy, something suspenseful, or will I just want to stare mindlessly at the television while Johnny Depp or George Clooney grace my screen with their presence? Frankly, I'm not psychic and I don't appreciate the kind of pressure NetFlix inflicts.
I need the ability to pick up a movie when I want it and not for the crazy $5 a movie price tag Blockbuster charges. No $5 for five nights doesn't sound too bad, especially if you are renting it for more than one person. But as much as I would like to pretend that I am spending my evenings surrounded by friends, stimulating men, or even nice arm candy, the truth is, it's usually just for me. And being quite familiar with myself, I know that if you give me a movie for five days it becomes a non-priority and five days turns into fifteen. Soon I'm paying $15 for Failure to Launch when I could have bought the dang thing for $7 and to be honest, it just wasn't that good.
Enter: The Red Box. This wondrous machine fits my lifestyle to a "T." It is convenienly located, has the latest releases and only charges $1 per night. That's right. You heard..uh..read me: ONE DOLLAR. The clouds disappear. The sun shines. The angels sing.
...until I go to return the dang thing.
The instructions describe how to place the dvd into the jacket and insert the jacket into the Red Box. The dvd is then returned leaving you free to rent another movie or go along on your merry way. Sounds simple right?
Well, apparently, I am too stupid to do this. After watching a movie I was really glad I had only paid a dollar to see, I made my way up to the Red Box, pressed the "Return Movie" button, put the clear plastic jacket complete with the dvd into the machine and was about to go on my merry way when something went wrong. The machine spit the movie back out at me. WTH? I tried it again, but once again, it was rejected. I looked around trying to see if there was anyone that could help me. There wasn't. I pulled the silver disk from the container, made sure the bar code was facing the right way and that the disk was in the jacket correctly, then inserted it into the machine once again. And once again, it spit it back out at me.
"Is it broken?" I asked the man now standing behind me with his arms folded waiting to rent a movie. As soon as the words left my mouth, a little, blond-haired girl approximately six years of age, ignoring the line, skipped up to the machine, pressed the button, returned her dvd, smiled at me, then skipped over to her family and they continued on their merry way.
Little sh--, I couldn't help but think.
I took the dvd out once more, cleaned it, put it back in it's jacket and then finally...I let the man behind me rent his movie because the stupid machine still wouldn't accept mine! After he made his selection, I stepped up to the beast, gave it the evil eye, pushed the button and fed the red monster the movie as I cursed at it and called it's mother an unfortunate name or two.
Victory! This time it accepted the dvd placed in it's clear plastic jacketed home in the same exact manor I had placed it the other twelve times.
"That's what I thought," I said cockily as I walked away from the machine knowing I had won this battle. However, there was no skipping and I wasn't merry.
Will I use the Red Box again? Definitely. But I have resounded myself to the fact that it will cost me $2 when I want to watch a movie. One for the rental fee and one to pay the little sh..uh..girl to return the dang thing for me.