An Entirely Over-Dramatical Redbox Misadventure

2:20 PM

Last  night, as every night I have Redbox movies due, the realization hits at about 8:45 that, A.)The DVD's I rented need to be back in their wee red beds down the street at 9:00, and then B.) It's outright insanity for one to be expected to leave the warm confines of their home after sundown.

There are three of these movies here somewhere, and I find two right away; I'm clearly off to an optimistic start. I promptly rescue the third from under a stack of unread magazines. (Some may think it difficult to lose DVD's when they're only in your possession for 20 hours. Let's be honest; It IS. But I don't let such obstacles keep me from succeeding.)

With three DVDs in hand, I grudgingly enter a car in which the interior temperature rivals that of a meat locker, and travel the quarter-mile to the nearest building that houses a Redbox. I have approximately 9 minutes before these movies will be considered late. This, for me, is doing extremely well. I'm feeling quite responsible. Some would say I "haz proudz", even.

Facing the massive robotic vendor, I shift the first case into its proper return position. In doing so, I notice the DVD disc is absent. (Of course.) I contemplate returning the empty shell to its mother ship as a "good intentions" offering, but then I remember they pave the road to hell with good intentions, and so I withdraw the soulless shell of a case. Angering the Redbox is one problem I don't need.

On to the next. This one contains both the pre-requisite parts, so I am relieved and proceed as usual. I wait (what seems like) the four-and-a-half-minute eternity for Redbox to engage "suction mode", and then dutifully insert the DVD. The machine thinks for a few seconds, then displays a series of easy-to-read graphics, gleefully detailing the fact that I'm an idiot who can't understand simple directions of how to properly do ANYTHING, let alone return a Redbox DVD.

I accept this as truth and move on. Rotating the case, flipping over the DVD, and every combination therein. I tried this with both the remaining movies. At the end of this battle I stand, DVD's still in hand, glaring at my towering crimson nemesis. I know what I have to do. "I'm telling," I murmur at it, giving it one last mildly displeased glance before heading off to find someone willing to listen to my tale of woe.

The 9:00 deadline is looming, but I arrive back with two staff members who clearly assume I'm the low dot on the evolutionary timeline, and that this problem will be easily solved by those with developed neocortical activity and 15 extra seconds. With mixed emotions, I watch as they take problem-solving to a whole new level. Which is to say, they tried everything the same way I did and failed just as respectably.

I figure, at this point, I'm in the clear. I have contacted the proper authorities through the correct channels, and they will testify to the Redbox's overlord that I, humble servant, attempted to return the movies before the contractually agreed upon time. This means, naturally, I will NOT be charged the extra $2.14; I can leave the movies in their trust, re-enter my traveling meat locker, and end up back on my couch in just under three minutes. Oh, but wait...

Even with all their advanced knowledge of the machine's inner workings, the two staff members are having difficulties extracting the phone number needed in order to resolve this horrifyingly first-world problem. A deep-rooted fear of needlessly spending money slowly creeps in, and is soon realized; after 30 seconds of deliberation so intense it renders their brains useless, they inform me I must take these particular DVD's and deposit them at a different location.

That's it. They walk away, unfazed. I try to argue, but it's clear there are some cigarettes calling their names from afar. They've sentenced me for my crimes. What would my mother have to say about this money squandering? She raised me as though the 1980s, in all their economic glory, were the coming of the second great depression.

The only ending I have planned for this story is to relay one simple thought. The film "The Other Guys" is greater than a one-dollar rental fee, but less than a two-dollar one.

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