This story was originally posted in September 30, 2009, in the good old days when there were places called "video rental stores." Well, I feel old now...
I'm a closing manager for a video store. That means, my work day generally starts at about 5pm, give or take, and is heavily supported by the coffee shop in our shopping complex. I arrive at work while the rest of the world is going home from it.
Then you come in, Mr. High and Mighty omnipotent ruler of customer service workers. You stumble through the door, being dragged by your 6.4 screaming children, and my employee and I know you're coming by the tell-tale "chirp chirp!" of the car alarm on your Suburban. Your children scramble like so many field mice, spreading their numbers evenly acrossour video games, candy, and Family film sections.
You make your way to the New Release Wall. You stare, dumbfounded for a moment at a spot reserved for the movie you were looking for. A spot that has been empty since that particular movie came out on Tuesday. It's Wednesday night. Where is your movie?!
The look on your face as you storm up to the register area speaks volumes to my fellow employee and myself. We already know what you're about to ask.
"WHY IS THIS MOVIE NOT ON THE SHELF!?!!" you bellow needlessly. We can hear you. The store has fantastic acoustics.
"That one has been all checked out since it came out yesterday, sir." I inform you.
"Did you check the drop box for it?" You ask, the smug look on your face suggesting that I have no earthly idea where the drop box even IS.
"My coworker just emptied it," I reply, pointing to the stack of movies he or she is currently scanning in, "Unfortunately, no one has brought that one back yet. I'll let you know if I see one, though!"
"Check. The. Box. Again!" You demand.
I open the door to the drop box cabinet so that you can see for yourself that it is completely empty. Meanwhile, your kids have completely destroyed my video games section by tossing all of the cover boxes onto the floor, and the rest of them have set up camp in the candy aisle and are using it as their personal buffet.
Your wrath growing ever hotter, you decide that we do indeed have several copies of the movie you're looking for stashed somewhere underneath the counters, and/or on our persons. You stand there staring at me, as if pulling a copy of any movie title thrown my way out of thin air is a part of my performance repertoire. I stare back. Because, well...Your shit aint here, dude.
Finally, your precious little hellspawn decide on a game. They inevitably bring me the wrong box, so I have to send them back out to the shelf to get the right one, You discretely yank the Push Pop that another one has opened and is happily drooling on out of its gaping maw, and you put it back onto the display. My co-worker will find it after we've closed that night and swear off restocking candy forever.
Your kids come back with the right game box, and perhaps you even allow the others to rent a movie they're whining to you for. You pay grudgingly after complaining first about the price, and then mentioning how you should really be getting it all for free since we didn't have the movie you were looking for. I smile genially, and I tell you that I wish I could do that for you. Though really, what I wish I could do for you involves a whole lot more cursing and my foot up your ass.
You wrangle up your gaggle of pre-adolescent demons, and you herd them into the parking lot and back into your car. But not before you stop not one, but TWO other customers on their way into the store to ask them if they're returning the movie you were looking for!
Just as your ginormous gas-guzzling vehicle leaves the parking lot, there's a soft thud against the inside of the drop box. My co-worker opens it to retrieve what was dropped. And there, as though the gods of karma were smiling down upon us, is a solitary copy of the movie you wanted so badly.
And do you know what I do with that movie, good sir?
I recommend it whole-heartedly to the very next customer I see.