Rental store clerk warnings

Discussion in 'DVD' started by WayneG, May 22, 2003.

  1. WayneG

    WayneG Stunt Coordinator

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    Recently at Blockbuster I rented Ringu, the Japanese original of The Ring. The Clerk said, "you realize this is subtitled and that there's an English version."

    Another day, I rented The Way Home, a Korean film, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The Clerk said concerning The Way Home, "you realize this is subtitled." About Harry Potter they said, "you're renting Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (which is wrong since we were in Canada). You realize this is the first movie and not the one just released."

    It's nice to know that they are looking out for me since I am a complete idiot and don't know what I'm doing. [​IMG]

    Just curious if other rental stores do this and what other kinds of warnings people have received. I do imagine they get angry people coming back all the time. Interestingly though, they never ask if I'm sure it's really the widescreen version that I want.
     
  2. Doug:Li

    Doug:Li Stunt Coordinator

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    I used to work in a video store and would warn people about subtitles too. Not because I thought they were stupid, but just to save time from having them come back all pissed off (and people did get pissed off about subtitles) and wanting a refund. I'd rather tell them upfront that way they could change thier mind beforehand if they wanted to. As for the Harry Potter comment, I'm not sure why he would assume you didnt know. Unless a lot of people have been mixing up the titles and renting the wrong one. He's probably just trying to save some aggravation in the long run.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Jesse Blacklow

    Jesse Blacklow Cinematographer

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    In the not-too-distant past, a BallBuster employee kindly reminded me that a widescreen release I had picked up wouldn't fill my screen, and introduce black bars to the picture. Perhaps I would rather pick up one of their many full-screen copies? A short but polite rebuttal ensued in which the employee and several passerby may or may not have learned that the picture loss is the other way around.

    Another experience: A couple years ago, I asked for a copy of "Ocean's Eleven" and got a look that indicated I was a can short of a six pack. The clerk told me that it wasn't even out in theaters yet, let alone on DVD.

    I was looking for the Rat Pack version.
     
  4. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Yeah, I've got the ominous subtitle warning several times in the past and it really irritated me. I was tempted to retort "Yes, I'm not illiterate, like the rest of your customers". I've also heard clerks warn people when they have the widescreen version if available. I'm assuming that this practice is coming down from management due to returns from people who demand their money back. I can hear it now - "I didn't rent no movie 'fer readin, otherwise I'd a gotten one a dem der book thingies"

    At Blockbuster (Long ago, when I still used to go there), I actually had trouble renting an older film using a coupon. The clerk kept arguing with me that I should rent a new release because I would get more value from the coupon.
     
  5. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

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    I used to work in a video store, and unfortunately warnings such as that are almost nessessary given the frequency of angry customers. When Crouching Tiger was released we had to put up a sign next to it on the shelf explaining that it was a foreign film and not in English because so many people tried returning it upon discovering it wasn't in English.
     
  6. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Most comments about subtitles and movies in a series are probably due to prior complaints or mistakes by other customers. The clerks probably find it easier to try and head off similar complaints by offering warnings ahead of time.

    Most who frequent Blockbuster aren't as savvy as the average HTF member. :wink:

    WRT Harry Potter, I also find the covers similar enough to be potentially confusing if you're in a hurry or don't read the actual words.
     
  7. Jared Porter

    Jared Porter Auditioning

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    I work weekends at a Movie Gallery video store. In the cases of somebody renting a title such as Ringu or the first Harry Potter film, I do try to politely confirm that that is indeed the title they want. Not so much because of the possibility of an error on their part, but because it is not uncommon for an unattentive employee to stick the rental copy behind the wrong cover box if the title is similar. Many people don't bother to check that the disc behind the cover box is the correct one. I'd rather safe the customer (and my self) any hassles later.
     
  8. Sean Moon

    Sean Moon Cinematographer

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    Dont take offense to the subtitle comment or the Harry Potter thing. I believe you may be a little sensitive to what the clerk was actually doing.
    As a veteran and former store manager of blockbuster I can say that the person telling you those things was going above and beyond their job. They were warning you of potential things that could bother you before you left the store. When crouching tiger came out I had to refund almost half the rentals the first week it was out because most people honestly do not like subtitles. The clerk was merely used to having so many complaints about certain things like suntitles or widescreen that he was merely warning up front about it before it became a problem, just in case those were problems for you. The Harry Potter problem is also common, as at my current job a lot of people grabbed the first one instead of the new one on several occassions.

    So next time a clerk somewhere informs you about the disc you are buying or renting, dont take offense to what they are saying or call them stupid. They are merely trying to do their jobs and are trying to look out for you. It may not be what you want to hear, but they might hear so many complaints about those issues that they are trying to stop problems before they happens.

    On a little side rant...
    Can we please stop with all the clerk bashing on this site. It seems almost everyday there is a new thread about how stupid clerk A is from major store B. Then these things spiral out of control and all of a sudden it turns into a "most people who work for these companies are idiots" thread. You may not be naming names, but by indirectly attacking clerks from retail chains you may be inadvertinly offending members of this form who did and still work for these major chains. Like me. Personally, it pisses me off when I read things like "another Best Buy or Blockbuster drone said another stupid thing to me today", then everyone else chimes in on how stupid we retail clerks are. Then someone comes to the defense about how since someone here works for them, we are the rare few who know a bit more. But how about we just not go bashing clerks in general. Sure it is good to vent horror stories, but please lets restrain ourselves from bashing threads. I guess since we dont name names of actual members its ok to bad mouth clerks.
    Well I for one am sick and tired of reading things like this. I love this forum and have for years, but little threads like this just piss me off to no end as I feel belittled indirectly for being employed by these big companies. So can we please stop with the clerk bashing?
     
  9. Mark Silver

    Mark Silver Stunt Coordinator

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    I moved to a new area and found a local mom and pop store. They carry DVD, but anytime there is a dual release they carry fullcreen only. One day I decided to rent The Sopranos and asked about why they chose to Order the fullscren only. The high school kid behind the counter made the comment, "That's the only way they make them now a days".

    I feel sorry for this poor kid, because I unloaded on a five minute diatribe about how if you are going to say something, you should have a clue as to what you are talking about. (I felt like Pacino unloading on Spacey in GlenGarry Glen Ross.) I attempted to educate him before stopping to realize he has no say in what his boss orders.

    Anyway I've come to realize we are the educated minority. Most store owners see a title and order the SKU number, not even recognizing that dual releases will have different SKUs. The is not to sound elitest, it is just sad that people don't invest the time to know their craft.
     
  10. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    It was a while ago, so I may be a little fuzzy, but wasn't CTHD released in a dubbed version? I know the DVD has an English dub and I'm 99% certain the VHS I rented for my Mom was in English. So what's with all the returns/complaints?

    I happen to like most of the staff I've dealt with at the Movie Gallery and Blockbuster here. The new MG manager isn't real friendly, but the regular staff is nice. And Blockbuster has been really outstanding service-wise since opening. Maybe I'm lucky. [​IMG]
     
  11. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    good point Malcolm,

    but possibly the default track on CTHD is the OSL.

    the MG manager sounds like someone I know [​IMG]

    ps. before we drown in topic - how many clerks/managers/owners here???

    could we form a sub-forum or something for discussion? doesn't have to be formal or anything...any takers or other suggestions?

    When we started, we used to point out subtitled DVDs, ESPECIALLY if there was no indication it was a foreign movie - biggest offender was BUENA VISTA.

    Now with so many of them, we treat and expect customers to be more savvy, to read the back legend, or to ask.

    What happens mostly now, is with customers who have lost their remote, and either can't turn on the subs or can't switch tracks (if dub is available :b ). And who have no onboard navigation :b

    No credits are issued, as there is nothing wrong with the disc. Hence likewise (when customers realise credits aren't issued) THEY themselves ask to confirm specs, which is a refreshing change. Works, ya know.

    It helps when they sign up, to show them the basics of DVD, if they are new to it. Something I ask my staff when they mis-shelve foreign (language) titles - "If you're not sure, what do you do? WHAT do YOU do?" "LOOK ON THE BACK!"

    Gotta stop referencing SPEED [​IMG]

    Anyway, as a result, some customers will actually rent only the foreign titles, lol. Again, works well.

    Movie series...we keep them together in a row, to make it obvious it is part of a series.

    The most confusing we find is X-Men 1.5, but ironically it is young kids who pick up fastest, often chiding their parents, which is always a chuckle.

    What helps as well are customer kiosks, as they will spit out lists, making it easier to compare editions (and also have genre listings - FOREIGN).

    The definite warning that is mandated concerns RCE titles, grin. Or any title known to give problems on a customer's player.

    ..."um, how would the store know that?"

    easy. track disc issues against their registered player.
    the wonders of customisable databases! [​IMG]

    Anyway, good topic.

    And I feel yer pain Sean, but again good to see you 'coming out', lol!

    darn, they make Sopranos in FS???
     
  12. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    I'm a former buyer for Tower, So I'm going to say that counts. I would always point people toward the OSL version and never say a word when they bought the wide. [​IMG]
     
  13. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

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    I gotta agree, I think those first 2 warnings are good of the employee to do. Not so sure about the widescreen one though, being a WS advocate and all. On the other hand, why deal with a pissed off customer coming back complaining about the black bars, if you can prevent it with a small warning.
     
  14. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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  15. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Not sure, but I think Mark's renting The Sopranos was unrelated to his posing the question about why this store orders FS only on dual releases.

    Sounds like this was the first title he rented from the store because so many of their titles are FS and while checking it out, inquired about their FS only policy.

    At least that's my reading.
     
  16. Marvin Richardson

    Marvin Richardson Supporting Actor

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  17. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Being that this is a Spanish-speaking country, all American and European movies available in rental stores are expected to have subtitles. But the place I rent from usually stocks a few un-subbed R1 discs, so they warn costumers of the opposite: "You do realize this film is in Eglish, with no subtitles available?"

    It's fine with me, since I do speak English, but some people get pissed: "Why the hell would you have English-only movies?? Piss off!" :p)
     
  18. Vic_T

    Vic_T Stunt Coordinator

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    I WISH the clerks in my local video stores at least knew enough about the movies they stocked to even offer a warning. If they paid closer attention to the movies they stocked they could at least stock ONE wide screen version of a movie next to the ten full screen versions (I mention it at times, but the owner is seldom there anymore and the people he hires are clueless).

    Once, I went in to rent Close Encounters. I checked out the box, yep, two disc collector's version. I tried to rent it and the clerk just gave me disc one. I asked, "Uh, is it possible to get the second disc? It is a two disc set, you know." The clerk replied with, "Some of them SAY they have two discs ... but they really don't." So I politely put the movie down and asked for my money back. Sometimes it's painful to live in a small town [​IMG]
     
  19. Nick Graham

    Nick Graham Screenwriter

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    I've got no beef with Blockbuster clerks issuing the warnings, they are only trying to make their day go easier. Working tech support the last few months has really reminded me how an angry redneck moron with no life can really dampen your day, and I can only imagine having to put up with the same thing IN PERSON.
     

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