Monday, July 1, 2013

Stick to the movie screens

The last time I made a complaint about Redbox, they responded. Let's see if it happens again.

I was at a Redbox terminal yesterday afternoon doing the usual song and dance of picking out a movie. (We ended up with No, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, which we liked.) There's no literal song, but there is a literal dance because of an inescapable feature of the Redbox kiosk with which you must grapple whether you like it or not:

The sunscreen.

The sunscreen is a red flap of material that hangs from just above the screen, that allows you to see what's on the screen if it's a sunny day. Which happens, you know, a couple times a year in Los Angeles.

Good feature, right?


In fact, it's just something I have to push out of the way every time I rent a movie from Redbox. And because the kiosk has nothing that will allow a hands-free pinning of the sunscreen against the kiosk, it requires the use of one of your hands ... throughout the duration of your rental experience.


It was especially annoying yesterday, as I used my one available hand to dig my wallet out of my pocket, dig my debit card out of my wallet, and also negotiate the piece of paper on which I'd written the code that would give me 50 cents off No.

It was the guy waiting behind me, though, that prompted the writing of this post.

"Pretty annoying that you have to hold that thing the entire time, isn't it?" he said.

"So annoying," I responded.

And it is. I'm not sure what my experience of looking at a Redbox video screen would be like without the sunscreen, but I'm not even sure it's doing what it's supposed to be doing right now, anyway. Clearly, by lifting it entirely out of the way, I'm getting no protection from it at all. But what am I supposed to do to utilize it correctly? Am I supposed to hold it out at a 90 degree angle from the machine, so it's parallel to the ground? Am I supposed to be a foot shorter so I can stick my face absurdly close to the machine and have the sunscreen come to rest against the back of my head? I honestly don't know.

I do know that it's a major nuisance. I get so that I'm stacking things on top of the kiosk to assist in the logistics, like my cell phone and keys. Things I would not want to leave behind. It'd be pretty hard to leave my keys behind, if I'd driven there, but I could easily leave my cell phone behind. And since my company just rolled out iPhones to us, with the price being that we have to pay for them if they are lost or stolen, that would make the cheap movie-renting experience that brings us to Redbox considerably more expensive. In fact, just last week I left my phone atop one of those kiosks at the post office that allows the buying of stamps and the shipping of packages. Fortunately, I did the pocket slap looking for my phone before pulling out of my parking space, and scurried back inside to find it before someone walked off with it.

I suppose I could let the sunscreen flop down over the video monitor while I'm doing activities like rifling through my pockets, activities that generally benefit from a second hand. But it's not ideal. Besides, the fact that you have the sunscreen pulled up is what lets the person behind you know that you're in the middle of a transaction. With it down, you could just be some fool standing in the wrong place while rifling through his pockets.

Don't worry, Redbox. I still love you. I'm just trying to make you a more perfect version of what you are.

It worked last time. Maybe it will again.

1 comment:

Travis McClain said...

I tweeted Redbox. They replied:

Thanks for the feedback! You can actually fold the sunscreen into a crease above the box for a "hands free experience".