Can I ask a simple question? When did video shops become high security establishments? When did it become necessary to possess a barcoded ID card AND a password AND give over all your personal details just to rent a 15 year old copy of The Three Amigos?
I recently decided to try out the video shop around the corner from me because, well, it's around the corner from me. Seemed like a convenient idea. Although, as it turns out, it wasn't really.
Went through all the videos, finally picked the one I wanted, took it to the counter, and thus the drama began:
ME: I'd like to become a member please.
VIDEO SHOP MAN: Sure no problem, just fill this form out.
VIDEO SHOP MAN: And this one.
VIDEO SHOP MAN: And also this one. Sorry, they're all basically the same form but we need three.
VIDEO SHOP MAN: We also need two contact phone numbers on there, one for your home and one of your next of kin.
ME: My next of kin?
VIDEO SHOP MAN: And they can't be mobile numbers. Although we need one of those too.
VIDEO SHOP MAN: And we also need some photographic ID.
VIDEO SHOP MAN: And also some ID with your current address on it.
ME: Ah. I don't have anything like that, I've just moved here.
VIDEO SHOP MAN: Oooh...well then we have a problem. Have you got a gas bill or something with your name and address on it?
ME: You want to see my gas bill?
VIDEO SHOP MAN: We need to verify your current address. A gas bill or a phone bill or something official looking, you know, that can't be easily forged or copied.
Let's stop right there: what MENTAL person would be SO OBSSESSED with the idea of renting videos at a particular store that they would FORGE a gas bill with a false address in the local area just to get a member's card?
What are they thinking? I know DVDs are expensive but my NEXT OF KIN? What are they going to do, hire some goons to go round and rough up my mum until I return that copy of Blade 3?
"ADMIT IT! THIS GAS BILL HAS BEEN FORGED, DAMMIT!"
A few years ago I was desperate to see Jumpin' Jack Flash again (long story) and tracked it down to one video store in North Adelaide. Of course, this required me to become a member. Same story:
ME: I'd like to become a member please.
VIDEO SHOP MAN: Sure, can you fill out this form?
ME: No problems! (fills out form)
VIDEO SHOP MAN: Hmm, I notice here you've only listed one contact phone number.
ME: Is that a problem?
VIDEO SHOP MAN: Well, we're supposed to get two. Have you got another one?
VIDEO SHOP MAN: A mobile number?
ME: No. (reaches into pocket, turns off mobile phone to prevent potentially embarrassing, lie-exposing ringing)
VIDEO SHOP MAN: A work number?
ME: I work from home.
VIDEO SHOP MAN: Your mum's phone number?
ME: I live with my mum.
VIDEO SHOP MAN: (completely perturbed and traumatised at this point) I really need two numbers!! What about a friend?
A friend? Yeah, I can see how that would go down:
VIDEO SHOP MAN: Hello, are you PetStarr's friend?.
VIDEO SHOP MAN: She has an overdue video.
VIDEO SHOP MAN: So...can you tell her?
FRIEND: I guess.
VIDEO SHOP MAN: Cool.
Excuse me, but since WHEN did society become SO TOPSY TURVY that it became a requirement, nay, EXPECTED for people to have TWO phone numbers? Is this really normal? Isn't it POSSIBLE that someone might only have one number? They might not even have one at all! Should these poor luddites be punished for their lack of acceptance of modern communication technology by not being allowed to rent DVDs? (Although if they don't own a phone, the liklihood of them owning a DVD player is fairly slim.)
NEWSFLASH, VIDEO SHOPS: we don't want to give you more than one phone number, and ESPECIALLY not our mobile phone number, because we know you're more dial-happy than a drunk ex-girlfriend on a hens' night whenever we forget to return our videos.
I for one don't especially LIKE being called up 3 times a day when Kerry, Kylie and Jason each start their shift at 9am, 1pm and 5pm and consult the list of DIRTY NO GOOD OVERDUE RENTERS and decide to buzz me with a reminder. I also don't like answering the phone to a computery voice that says, disjointedly "Your copy of NAKED STUDS TWO is now overdue."
Not that I rented that one.