The Rules of Redbox

Redbox rental vending machine

The movie industry has been demonized for years, cited for affecting our culture in negative ways across the board, from sexuality to violence. But recently I have witnessed exactly how movies inspire violence on a whole new level...through Redbox.

Blood Redbox

Redbox is a DVD vending machine. They are located in stores of all sorts and they offer a fairly decent variety of new releases and a few slightly older movies. You can find Redbox from convenience stores to grocery stores. The great thing about Redbox is you can get a movie for $1. That's right, $1. Not bad, given that the next best thing you can buy for a dollar these days is a McDonald's Sweet Tea.

Woman renting a DVD from Redbox.
Easy way to spot a cheap date.
The bad thing is that it's a vending machine. I'm sure you remember the old days of perusing the local video store. We've all gotten stuck searching for movies with that annoying stranger who just happens to be looking at the same movies. The scene looks like a slow-motion race with plenty of "excuse me's" mixed in. You both amble your way through the "New Release" section as you try to either speed up or slow down, only to run into that person again in the H section.

A Million Times Worse

Now, while it is annoying to look at movies with someone who happens to be hovering around your general area, you always have the option of moving to the "Sci-Fi" section for a few minutes to avoid walking the whole alphabet with your new movie pal.

Woman renting DVD from Blockbuster.
People still do this?
But with Redbox, you're stuck—doomed to stare at an ugly outfit while the person in front of you spends 5, 10, 15, sometimes 20 minutes clicking through page after page of movies. Then they'll do it again. And if they're getting more than one movie, well, good luck with that...you're in for quite a wait. And that's only if there is one person in front of you.

Set Phasers on "Stun"

Set of sharp knivesUsually, I'm a fairly non-violent type of person. I can hold it in when confronted with your average challenging situation. But Redbox sends me over the edge. Recently, I was behind a mass of indecision that cost me 25 minutes before my turn at the thing. I had two families in front of me. Total time per family: 12.5 minutes. Total time of my transaction: 46 seconds.

Now I know why they don't have Redboxes in cutlery stores.

The Rules of the Redbox

What did that experience teach me? Not to rent from Redbox for one. But it also showed me that we as an efficient society need to lay out some ground rules for this new vending machine rental method. I call these rules, Redboxiquette:

  1. Do not come to Redbox with no clue of what you are going to rent.

  2. Do not search for movies that have not been released in the past decade. No, Ernest Goes to Camp is not in there.

  3. Do not go back and forth between pages numerous times thinking something else will appear. Unless the Redbox stocker has interrupted your browsing and asked you to step aside while he reprograms the machine and stocks additional DVDs, it won't.

  4. Do not search for your movie by genre if it has not come up in the A-Z category. It's not in there, and your optimism is borderline psychotic.

  5. Do not choose your browsing time to bone up on general movie knowledge. Yes, there is info on every movie. No, you are not an aspiring film critic.

  6. Do not put your email address in the machine. Hit "No Thanks" and remember you rented a movie for a dollar!

  7. Do not call your friends at home and ask them about movies they like, liked, or might like if it happened to only cost a dollar. This is not Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The only lifeline you'll be needing is the one in the ambulance after I smash your face in.

  8. Do not answer your cell phone while picking a movie and then absent-mindedly continue touching buttons on the screen to kill time while you concentrate on the phone call and not the movie rental process. Hey, remember when people made it through the day alive even though they didn't even have the luxury of talking on a phone every second? Yeah, hang up and call them back again while you're driving home alone on a windy road by a cliff.

  9. Do not look at the person waiting behind you and say "I'm sorry." If you were really sorry you would hurry up and choose, let the other person go before you.

  10. Do not use this time to go over all of the movies you have seen and discuss, in detail, how much you liked them with your partner-in-procrastination. They have these things called "chairs" and "Starbucks" now where you two can gab your faces off so anyone within 50 feet can hear the spoilers to every new release.

These simple steps should allow you and the people behind you to have a pleasant and memorable Redbox experience. Should you choose to deviate from any of the aforemetioned rules, a mob mentality may arise from the line which follows you and you could very well be subjected to some very serious movie violence.


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Casey Freeman's picture

i've been doing Netflix. it's maybe the best thing that's ever happened to me. better selection, no late fees, no film student counter clerks and best of all -- i don't need to leave my house. my only complaint is that i'm not the paid spokesman.

J.B. Hour's picture

You forgot to mention the part where you can avoid everything you wrote by simply logging into their website, choosing a movie from the list, and reserving it for yourself. This way you can just show up at a time convenient to you when it may not be busy within 24 hours to pick up your movie.

www.redbox.com

Court Sullivan's picture

Yeah, but that's the same thing as showing up without a reservation only to randomly encounter a line at Redbox. You can always go to the machine whenever you want (even without a reservation) to try to avoid lines. The slowdown isn't YOU, it's whoever may be IN FRONT of you.

www.blueballs.com

What's even worse is when you're trying to return one of those things, will only take you 10 seconds, but you've got to wait while a woman with 7 kids looks at every single movie

J.B. Hour's picture

Court,

I ask that you take your logic and sound reasoning skills elsewhere. The internet is no place for well phrased, coherent thoughts and responses to my otherwise faulty comments and logic.

Thanks in advance.

can u return the movie to any redbox, or does it have to be the same?