A few years ago The Wife and I welcomed a new bedfellow into our home.  By that I mean we became a part of the ever expanding Redbox community (what else would I have been referring to you cheeky bastard?).  What started as a few free passwords as a Secret Santa gift quickly has become a part of the Chi-Guy family routine, as be it a work night or a weekend with no plans, the Redbox provides an evening’s entertainment for the price of a single shekel. 

While the Redbox kiosk has done wonders for minimizing our social interactions with video store desk-jockeys who take pride in their similarities to the comic book guy on “The Simpsons” (who for the record happens to have a striking resemblance to Mario Batali), it’s not perfect.  I’m not referring to the somewhat limited selection, nor the sun-flap that annoyingly hangs over the screen forcing you to complete the transaction with your remaining free hand.  No, my complaints go much deeper and delve into the one area that the device was designed to eliminate.  You still have to deal with people.

I’m not sure if it’s my own poor luck or just the nature of the beast but I can’t remember the last time I stood at a Redbox and had a moment to ponder my selection.  Now I’m sure that this is music to the proprietors ears, as again, it speaks well to the success of the business model when people are willing to stand in line in inclimate weather to use your product.  The problem is the people that make the line exist in the first place. 

I can’t imagine I’m alone in this.  No one likes waiting for others to make decisions, it’s human nature.  With that in mind I offer the following rules of engagement for we connoisseurs of “the Box”.          

  1. If you get there at the same time, or if the person in line behind you has a DVD to return, the returnee gets to go first.  It’s common courtesy.  The return effort literally takes two button pushes and all of ten seconds.  Standing in line behind someone while they take five minutes to peruse the entire catalogue while you have a simple two step task to complete before returning to your still running car… hell hath no fury.  Chivalry aside, the returnee has the right of way.  Can we all just agree to this rule and move on? 
  2. If you are standing in line, please feel free to use the display next to the machine that shows the DVDs that are in the kiosk.  This would be the most efficient thing people could be doing during this entire process, however time after time it appears that people walk into their transaction at the machine as if it’s the first time they’ve seen a color monitor.  I fully understand that there are times when the machine is sold out of the particular movie you came for and for that I am sorry.  With that said however, maybe you should have settled on a plan B while waiting your turn.  If you spend more than two minutes looking through your options – while other people are waiting behind you – please step aside and let natural selection take its course.
  3. While flipping through the menu of choices, you might want to be filing a few ideas for future visits away and creating a bit of wish list for yourself.  You’re here for Moneyball because that’s what you and your family decided before you left the house, but what’s that, The Help is also here?  If you remember that for next time then you do not have to make a decision on the spot.  You can tell it’s a good idea if a few days pass and you’re still thinking about that movie that you passed on.  At that point it’s probably time to make a return trip.  Having a plan in place when you arrive will dramatically reduce the duration of your next transaction.
  4. When you swipe your credit card, the magnetic strip should face away from the monitor.  Redbox could be more clear about this in the picture they provide, so you’re not entirely at fault, but that’s the way it works.  Now you know for next time.
  5. I mentioned the sun-flap above and the more I think about it, the first person to come up with some sort of snap or Velcro that can keep that thing out of the way of the screen while I interact with it will get a big shiny gold star from yours truly.  The condition of course is that we all agree to put the screen down when we’re done and there’s no one else waiting to use it.  Is that too much to ask? 

That’s all I’ve got.  It’s not that bad really.  All I’m looking for is a little efficiency people.  Let’s just all agree to work together on this one and everyone’s evening on the couch with their family can get started that much earlier.  Who doesn’t like more time with their couch/family (in that order)?  So it’s agreed then, we’re all following these rules from this day forward.  Capisce?