Jason Davis: There’s a right way and a wrong way to Redbox

Oct. 06, 2013 @ 10:07 PM

With the rise of Netflix and Redbox for people’s weekend entertainment needs, the neighborhood video store is quickly becoming an endangered species.

Aside from Sevierville’s Popcorn Video — which is an excellent brick-and-mortar video store by the way, perhaps the best I’ve ever frequented — actual video stores are largely a thing of the past.

That’s why I had to write this column.

We’ve got to have a serious chat about Redbox etiquette.

“What’s Redbox etiquette?” you might be asking yourself.

If you’ve used the convenient and inexpensive DVD and Blu-Ray rental system now found at most grocery stores and drug stores and don’t know about the associated etiquette of the machines, you’re probably exactly who I’m gearing these next statements toward.

Tip 1: Do not stand at the kiosk reading each and every movie description like you’re studying for college finals. It’s not that big of a decision. In fact, if you don’t know about a movie from the cover alone, go home and research them. It’ll be much better for everyone else waiting in line. Just the other day I waited 10 minutes in line behind what appeared to be a grandmother and granddaughter that were dutifully reading through every movie summary looking for a film they’d deem just right.

As my blood pressure rose, a couple emerged from the adjacent grocery store and also began waiting. “This’ll speed things up,” I hoped, knowing the pair at the Redbox had noticed the growing crowd. I was wrong.

Three minutes later we were still waiting, with no end in sight.

I decided to abandon ship and take a stroll through the grocery store. Normally, I’d have punted and gone home, but my 4-year-old had mentioned wanting to see a video that I knew was in stock (I’d seen it on the screens as the slowpokes surfed through the titles).

After a bit of walking through the store, probably five minutes, I went back to get the video.

Lo and behold, the dawdling duo was still there.

At that point, I’d had all I could take. We’d simply have to find something on cable.

I’d almost bet they’re still there, trying to decide between Air Bud 8 and some faux-Disney cartoon, produced to play upon kids’ wishes to see a not-quite released animated blockbuster. Ugh.

Tip 2: If you simply can’t decide on a movie in a timely manner, step away and allow the people behind you to make a selection.

A good way to avoid this is to use the Redbox website. It lets you browse movies, choose your selection at home and find an area kiosk that has it in stock. It’ll even reserve it for you with a few easy steps.

Tip 3: Maintain some distance from the person in front of you in line.

It’s not rocket science. Like any public situation, you should only get so close to a stranger.

Probably three months ago, I had a woman literally looking over my shoulder from less than a foot or so away, watching to see what movies were in stock.

Jason from 15 years ago might not have minded the invasion, especially if the intruder was cute, but on a hot summer day this hulking, linebacker-sized mama was not welcome.

I’d never violate someone else’s private space like that — I can’t even imagine the nerve it would take — but apparently, for some people, it’s not even a consideration.

Tip 4: Revert to your elementary school training. Remember walking in lines and waiting your turn?

It seems there’s a growing trend for potential renters to wait in their car next to the kiosk. This does not constitute a line.

Mrs. Janice Hicks taught me in kindergarten how to wait in line. Sitting in your car and listening to music does not count.

When I pull up to a parking lot at a Walgreens store to use the Redbox, I’m not going to inventory all the cars within 10 spaces of the machine to see who might be waiting. I’m going to get out and wait behind the person using the machine (from a distance, of course).

Obviously, there are exceptions.

If it’s raining, that’s different. That’s a logical reason to wait in the shelter of a car for your turn. Just because you’re lazy and don’t want to stand isn’t.

Also, speaking of lines, don’t cut.

I’ve seen people skip several times, saying only “I’ve just got to return this...”

Really? Since when is your time more important than everyone else’s? Who does that? It’s ridiculous.

As you can tell, yes, I’m a geek, and yes, I love movies.

But I also appreciate manners, and some people need to learn.