(Posted Thursday 7-16-98) There's a video store in Santa Cruz, CA by the name of Westside Video. If you've come across some real idiot's in your time, wait till ya read this one. I joined this video store about 6 years ago because I wanted to get away from the big commercial giants and give the smaller Mom and Pop stores a chance. I liked Westside Video in particular because they had things like a FREE VIDEO RENTAL on your birthday. When they first started doing this, the customer got a postcard in the mail that said "Happy Birthday," and on the back it told you to bring it in to redeem your free rental. Sounds simple doesn't it! Well read on and see how pathetic this one turns into.
I don't know when but sometime over the past two years they stopped sending out postcards and instead credited your account. I didn't see a problem with that until Monday July 13th 1998. Just to keep track of things I called the store to ask if my birthday video had been credited to my account. The lady who answered the phone sounded to me like she wanted an argument. Her name was Karen and she was just plain rude. She seemed to be very defensive and interrupted everything that I said. After inquiring about the credit she informed me that I only had one birthday credit on the account. "Hang on a minute," I said, "I still haven't used up the credit from my birthday last year." "Oh, we erased that," she replied in a very uncaring manner like she'd just repossessed my car and didn't give a shit. "What do you mean you erased the credit?" I asked. "Oh, you've got to use that up within a year otherwise we delete it from your account." "That's pretty unfair isn't it? How am I meant to know about such a thing?" "Well, you should have known that as it used to say that on the back of the postcards that we used to send out on your birthday." "Hang on a minute, let me get this straight. Your trying to tell me that I and the rest of your customers are supposed to know that our birthday rental will be terminated from our account after a year if we don't use it because this stipulation was stated on a postcard which was handed over to you and destroyed more than two years ago?" "That's correct," she said.
I couldn't believe where this woman's head was at all, but I knew one thing, whatever planet she was living on, I certainly wasn't part of it. Concluding that I was getting nowhere with someone who had a mentality like that, I decided to do the next logical thing. Politely I asked,"OK, can you give me the owners name and phone number please." "Oh, I don't know. I see him about once or twice a week when he pops in. I may have an email address laying around somewhere," was all she could say. "So your trying to tell me that you've got no idea at all who owns the store, where he or she lives, what their phone number is and you've got no idea when you'll see them next?" "That's correct," she murmured, "I can tell you that his name is Gary and he pops in from time to time."
I don't know if this story has confused you too much or if it's so simple to understand that you can see the point that I'm trying to make here. This is absolutely pathetic! I can't use my birthday credit for 1997 because it expired a year later and this information was on a postcard, which was destroyed in 1996? Can you see any logic in that? Well, whether you can or can't the irony to this story is, unbeknown to our wonderful polite friend Karen, I just so happen to have the birthday postcard that was sent to me in 1995 or 96 (the two photos are on this page). It reads as follows: "Here at Westside Video we heard it was your birthday! We want to help make your birthday special, so come see us anytime and exchange this card for any free movie or game rental of your choice-new releases included! All of us here at Westside Video wish you the best birthday ever!" // NO expiration date whatsoever is on this card? Do I need to say anything else about this incident?
Thanks for your reading, Johnny Anderson.
UPDATE! If you've read this far you'll recall the following from my story.. "So your trying to tell me that you've got no idea at all who owns the store, where he or she lives, what their phone number is and you've got no idea when you'll see them next? Well the day after I posted this story up, (Friday 7-17-98) I called the store again. This time I got another employee by the name of Kelly. She listened to everything I said, totally agreed with what I had to say and even recalled the Dolphin birthday postcards that were stopped about two years prior. When I asked about Gary Bond, the supposed owner, Kelly told me that he is "KAREN'S BROTHER."