Sometimes, you have to wonder what goes through some the mind of some corporate web designers or the big shot executives who tell them what to do. Lately, any time Redbox has decided to tinker with their web site, they manage to really muck it up.
I’ve always had my little quibbles with Redbox. Many of their practices are hardly consumer friendly and they seem to be totally unwilling to make the effort to change. Make a complaint and you’ll get a brush off. Oh yeah, occasionally they’ll try to give you a free rental when what they should be giving you is a refund for their incompetence.
You may know that drill. You reserve a movie and you go over to get it from the machine a few hours later and the machine is broken and not working. And since you have no clue as to when it might be working again you can either accept your losses or call the Redbox number where the poor patsy on the other end of the phone will try to shove that rental credit on your ass, even if you have no idea when you might get to use it.
Refund? That would be too much trouble. After all they don’t really want to give you your money back even though its no fault of yours the machine wasn’t working. Because that would inconvenience them, and one thing corporate big wigs don’t like is to be inconvenienced. Better the customer put up with their lousy policies and bullshit nonsense instead of issuing a damn credit on your Visa.
I can hear them now:
Yeah, I think that’s the same attitude Blockbuster took for years and look at them now.
One time I had four movies on reserve at a particular store that has two Redbox machines. They were in Machine B. Of course when I went to pick up the movies, it was machine B that wasn’t working at all. It had even been unplugged to keep people from trying to use it.
This time I called the Redbox number on my cell phone right there in the store. Basically their answer was that I was shit out of luck. Could you switch my movie rentals to Machine A since all four movies were in that machine ready to be rented. Nope, couldn’t do anything like that. That would be too difficult.
Could I get a refund? Nope, and you could almost hear the person on the other end chuckling to themselves over that idiotic notion.
What they could do was give me a credit and I could rent the movies. Well, eventually I could. The problem was that their computer, which must be a Commodore 64 the way they run things, would continue to show me with four movies reserved until that reservation ran the clock out. And the limit on movie reservations at one time is 5.
Therefore, I couldn’t even use the credit until after 9:00 the next night when I would have no use for the damn things because we in the real world have to work this thing called a job.
There have been other instances as well and if you do a few searches on the internet, you’ll read some real horror stories. But honestly, with their latest act of corporate stupidity and uselessness, I think I’m done. You finally have to draw the line somewhere just to keep your sanity. You can’t say, “What were they thinking?” because obviously they weren’t, and they don’t. Sometimes policies are invented just to annoy you.
It used to be when you went on the Redbox web site, after having saved “your locations” you could click on one of them and see what was in that particular machine at that location at that moment in time. If a movie wasn’t showing either it wasn’t in the machine or all copies were checked out. If they were all checked out you could scroll to the bottom of the page and see a somewhat faded entity marked “not available.” Pretty simple. Then you would just click on one of your other locations (if there was one) to see if the DVD or Blu-ray was there, or just choose something else.
In my case, there are three Redbox Vending Machines within a half mile or so radius from where I live. One of these is just two blocks away. After that, you have to travel eight miles to the next Redbox and unless you have Quaker Oats for brains, you’re not going to make that trip. You’ll just wait for the movie to arrive or be checked in or whatever.
But now you no longer know if it’s in or not because Redbox Executives in their infinite wisdom decided to no longer make it readily apparent whether a movie was at your chosen location or not. Now, they simply list all their movies available at all locations, whether it’s checked out or not or whether its in the machine or not. In my town, which seems to be last on the delivery list, this often happens. What a machine in the big city may get on Tuesday, we may get by Friday, if we’re lucky.
So now when you click on a title that’s not even at the location you are browsing, it says “Find DVD nearby” instead of just telling you the damn thing wasn’t there in the first place. And just checking one certain movie right now, I’d have to drive 30 miles to get it. Some recommendation that is.
Why the change? Why not just tell you up front that a movie is not at the location you’re browsing and let you make your own choice as to whether to check a box that isn’t 30 miles away? It worked for me just fine.
Because like politicians, Redbox thinks you’re too stupid to do that. And I guess they think somebody’s willing to spend $10 worth of gas to drive to a Redbox and get $1.20 movie so they might as well make that sales pitch for the stupid people. It’s just idiotic and unnecessary. And worse, you still don’t know if all copies of that movie are all just checked out or if it even arrived at that location yet. IF ITS NOT AT THAT LOCATION JUST SAY SO INSTEAD OF ME JUMPING THROUGH HOOPS TO FIND THAT OUT!
Really, I think I’m done. I’ll just order them from Netflix. It may take longer sometimes, but at least I can watch them at my leisure and not deal with the frustrating antics of Redbox and their total disregard for customer convenience. I can only be annoyed jumping through corporate hoops before I change the game plan. Having helped do Blockbuster in, I don’t think copying that company’s little regard for their customers is a great idea. I’m sure with all their customers, Redbox won’t miss me. But I won’t miss them either.