Written by: Dean Hua

Reading Time: minutes

Please bear in mind that 10 minutes before this, I had some red wine and some spicy Thai Food for dinner at a restaurant. The following is a conversation I had with the video clerk at Blockbuster as I was checking out “My Super Ex-Girlfriend”

Me: Hey, what’s going on.

Anthony (Blockbuster Video Clerk): Not much. Was everything ok? (Customer service sales associates ask this all the time at retail stores. I never understood why.)

Me: Yep, everything was fine. (But I wanted to know how he’d react if everything wasn’t fine with me. So I asked the following) But what if everything wasn’t fine? What would you do?

Anthony: *puts his hand to his heart, while processing my ID* I’d feel hurt if it wasn’t.

Me: Oh, I see. *smiling*

Anthony: Do you know about our newest video rental program where you can rent 5 videos a month from home? (he’s talking about the program that you can rent videos online and have them delivered to your home. It’s just like the NetFlix programs)

Me: (I knew he was gonna ask me this as I heard him pitching the same offers to the previous customers in line.) Yeah, actually I do know about the program. Not interested.

Anthony: Are you sure? C’mon now, it’s a great deal.

Me: (This is where it gets interesting because I know he is just trying to do his job. And yet I admire his tenacity and charisma in trying to pitch me. He’s probably just a high school student) Dude- I don’t HAVE TIME to watch 5 videos a month.

Anthony: Oh c’mon, everyone has time to watch 5 videos a month.

Me: (I decide to play along with the guy. He knows how to joke around while still do his job. I can admire that. It’s like how a guy tries to have sex with a girl by playfully joking with her. I decide to turn around and ask the following;) Does anyone here have time to watch 5 videos a month? ( I don’t think I said it loud enough because the only one who answered was another video clerk)

Other Video Clerk: Yeah- I have time to watch 5 videos a month. I love watching movies.

Me: Oh. (I was more disappointed that the customers didn’t join in on this conversation I’m having with the sales clerk than I was that another person had time to watch 5 movies a month. But again, I didn’t say it loud enough)

Anthony: I have time to watch 5 movies a month. I love watching movies too.

Me: Man, I just don’t have time to watch 5 movies a month.

Anthony: What do you do for a living? ( I guess he thinks work takes up alot of my time)

Me: I run my own web design business. And if I’m not trying to run my business, I’m out partying with sexy girls. And if not doing that, then I’m out out friends or co-hosting events.

Anthony: Oh, yeah man. Yeah, you definitely don’t have time to watch 5 videos a month.

Me: I’m glad you finally understand now.

Anthony: So, ummm…web design. Is that like graphic design too?

Me: Yeah, sorta.

Anthony: So do you know how to design video games and stuff like that?

Me: Oh no. That’s something totally different. I don’t program or design video games.

Anthony: Oh, that’s too bad. I love video games.

Me: Oh, I see. I really don’t have time to play video games either. I have a Playstation 2 and it’s been collecting dust for the past few months. I decided to put it away for now.

Anthony: Whaaaat? I have a PS2 and I love it. Dude, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Me: Yeah, probably. But you probably don’t know what you’re missing either by watching 5 movies a month and playing video games.

Anthony: *he finally process the DVD and hands it to me* Well, here is your movie. Have fun with it.

Me: (Obviously, the conversation has to come to an end now since I have the DVD.) Oh, right. Thanks Anthony. Night.

So what did we learn here?

  1. Acknowledge people by using their name. He may be 10 years younger than me, but he’s still a person. Besides, people like it when you call them by their name. Customer service people like it because they are always being abused by irate customers so something as simple as addressing them by their name makes them feel better. I can tell he felt good after talking to me too. He probably thought to himself, “That was one cool customer.”
  2. Talk to people. Put yourself out there. I could have easily said I wasn’t interested in the blockbuster program and leave it at that. But I wanted to play around with the guy and see how he responds. It was a nice little one minute conversation we had to pass the time while he’s processing my video for checkout. I’ve got quite a few other anecdotes that shows how I opened up my mouth to a stranger and an interesting conversation ensued. Sometimes, it pays to talk to strangers. Sorry mom 🙁
  3. 5 videos is going to cost you. I’m not speaking from a monetary perspective either. If we calculate that each movie is 2 hours in length and we rent 5 of them a month, then we lost 10 hours a month. That’s 10 hours that we could easily be doing something else. I could easily take someone out for a date. I could go build some new relationship with new business people. Or I could find myself co-hosting monthly happy hours for hundreds of people. Or I could be out hanging with a bunch of girls who are bringing sexy back. So do I want to sit there and vegetate for 10 hours a month in front of the tv or go meet new flesh? Hmmm….decisions, decisions.


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  1. Most people that shop at Blockbuster have no life, sir. The employees are used to this and thus know that most of them DO have time to watch 5 movies a month. There are people at some Blockbusters that rent every title that comes out every tuesdeay. that’s in the neigborhood of 15-20 movies a week; up to 80 in a month.

  2. People still go to Blockbuster??? 🙂 Netflix has been taking my money for at least 5 years now. I rent so few movies I’m probably paying $20 per video I actually watch. Maybe more!

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