Redbox Rage

Do you ever think you’ve got a great idea—something that will be quick and easy—just to have it blow up in your flippin’ face?

This was my day.

After skipping church (see previous post), I had grand visions of getting the Christmas decorations put away and doing some much-needed organizing. Since I knew this would be difficult with Boys #2 and #3 hanging on my coattails, I said, “Hey, guys, how about if I rent a couple movies for you to watch today?”

Yes, plunk them in front of the TV. Such a good mom am I…

So we huddled around the computer as I perused to see what movies we could find nearby. After mediating some heated discussions about which movies to choose, I finally settled on 3 for them and 1 for Husband and me. (Boy #1 was hanging out at his best friend’s house, by the way. We haven’t banished him from the home or anything.)

With the boys excited about their picks, I bundled up in my coat, boots, and Husband’s wool cap and went to brave the weather in search of cheap entertainment for the kids. And of course to pick up McDonald’s for lunch. Can’t quite pick up movies at McDonald’s without hitting the drive-thru as well…

So I got my food first and then pulled up to pick up my reserved movies. As I swiped my card, the screen flashed to something I’d never seen before: Warming up. This will probably take 3 minutes. Hmm, that’s weird, I thought. It was after noon; I doubt I was the first person to use that redbox terminal today. But I stood in the single-digit Arctic air and waited for the computer to warm up (wishing I could warm up as well). The 3 minutes soon became 10 minutes, and I realized that I wasn’t getting my movies.

A bit grumpy, I drove home with our now lukewarm food and no movies.

After digesting my highly nutritious meal, I dialed the redbox toll-free number. It seems I wasn’t the only one having “issues” today as I sat on the line for at least 15 minutes, hearing “We’re currently experiencing high call volumes. Please stay on the line” at least 3 dozen times. Finally a redbox CS dude answered and I gave him the low-down. He told me that he’d send out a technician, but it could take up to an hour. I said I’d go back later and pick up the movies. He kindly offered two free rental codes for my troubles and we parted ways.

I managed to get one of my Christmas trees put away and the other at least stripped down to nakedness when I figured I should probably go out in the elements AGAIN to drive to McDonald’s AGAIN and pick up the movies. When I pulled up 10 minutes later, I could tell it wasn’t good. Several cars were pulled up near the outdoor kiosk, and the people inside were just staring at the computer screen. I could tell that it said the same damn thing it said when I was there 3 hours earlier. Grrrr…..

I’m pretty annoyed now. I thought this was going to be a way to keep the kids occupied while I got a bunch done, and instead I was wasting the day making extra trips and phone calls.

I knew the boys would be pretty disappointed if I didn’t come home with a movie, so I headed to the next-closest redbox at Walgreens. I pulled up and stood out in the biting wind while I waited for the woman ahead of me to choose her movies. Then I approached the computer and searched the available movies.

Wouldn’t you know. Out of the THREE movies the boys picked out, this redbox didn’t have even ONE. And it’s not like they chose the most popular, sought-after titles. I’m pretty sure Space Chimps, Pokemon: Diamonds and Pearls Vol. 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog Vol. 2 aren’t what most people are clamoring to watch.

So I tromped back to the car and decided to drive to the OTHER McDonald’s in town to check THEIR redbox. I had also promised Boy #1 and his friend that I would drop off McFlurries to them, so it was either go back to the same McDonald’s nearby with the dead redbox or drive a few miles to try my luck at the other.

My heart was now pounding as I entered the “other” McDonald’s. At least this kiosk is inside, I told myself. I crossed my fingers and pulled up the list of available titles. Scanning…scanning…JACKPOT! Space Chimps! I’d never been so happy to see aeronautic apes in all my life! However, I struck out on the other two. I did see Snow Buddies and thought the boys would like that, so I added that to my cart, along with Step Brothers for Husband and I. (Nothing like a little Will Ferrell to brighten the day.) And I breathed a little sigh of relief as I pushed “Check out.”

Wouldn’t you know…I breathed too soon.

Instead of spitting out my movies, the computer gave me a little notice on the screen: “You have exceeded your daily rental limit. You may only check out 5 titles at a time.”

“Are you kidding me?” I asked the inanimate object, and there may or may not have been an f-bomb thrown in there. Okay, I know the computer didn’t know that I COULDN’T GET the other 4 movies I had paid for, but that didn’t make me feel any better. If the kiosk had shins, it would’ve gotten a swift kick in them. So I had no choice but to delete everything but Space Chimps. Nothing like paying for 5 movies and getting 1!

So the computer vended my Oscar-winning movie, I shoved it into my purse, and ordered the boys’ ice cream treats. Noticing that the sun was starting to go down just made me more irked. I felt like I’d spent my whole day chasing after redbox. And now I’d have to call them AGAIN to ask for my money back.

As I pulled around the back of McDonald’s, then, I realized that apparently there wasn’t enough McMoney for IceMelt and that the parking lot and driveway was, indeed, an ice rink. And as I turned my wheel to navigate the corner, my car continued to go straight…straight toward two parked cars (THE ONLY cars in the entire parking lot, of course!). And I heard myself swear as I prayed out (which I’m sure the Lord really appreciates): “Dear God, don’t let me hit a car!”

And juuuust at the last moment, my car responded to my frantic wheel-cranking and I avoided having to go BACK into McDonald’s to tell one of the fry cooks that I’ve dented his wheels.

…AND it didn’t get any better when I got home and couldn’t find my debit card (for the third time today, no joke). After the fourth trip to the car to search there AGAIN and dumping out the entire contents of my purse (which was in dire need of being cleaned out anyway), I finally found it wedged in a flap in my checkbook cover about 25 minutes later…

By this time, it was dark.

And guess what? I totally forgot to call redbox back.

It looks like the saga continues tomorrow…

P.S. The boys did think Space Chimps was “awesome.” I’ve promised to watch it with them tomorrow. Can hardly wait! 🙂

UPDATE!!! First off, I’d like to apologize for being a BIT out-of-control about my redbox ordeal yesterday. I realize in the whole scope of life, it wasn’t THAT big of a deal. However, yesterday, it was enough to about drive this medicated mama over the edge! I’d like to thank redbox for their customer service. I just called back to inform them that I didn’t get to retrieve the movies I rented, and I was given the choice of getting my money back or 5 free rental codes (plus the 2 I got yesterday). I took the free rentals, so I’ll be taking my chances at the kiosk another day! Also, I thought I’d tell people that HAVEN’T tried redbox that it really is a pretty convenient and cheap movie-renting experience. Rent online, pick up from your chosen location (unless, of course, it is “warming up” for 5 hours…) and watch new movies for just a buck! Then return them to ANY redbox location. This is a great idea for families who are driving long-distance. You can scope out the redbox locations ahead of time, and the kids can watch new movies every few hundred miles!


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