Count it as a Loss

There is a new machine in the grocery store that I have walked past several dozen times without actually giving it any serious attention. It looks like a bank machine but it is actually a DVD rental machine. There is a sign right beside this machine that is really hard to miss. It states, “New Releases $1.99”

Well, that seems like a good deal but what is the catch? Why is it a machine? Do I trust renting movies from a machine? How does it work?

All of these questions ran through my mind but I dismissed using such a service and never decided to investigate or try to answer these questions. Until the other day, that is. I paid $10 for a card and signed up for the service. It seems that you load money onto a card and then use it to rent movies from the machine. It uses a PIN just like a bank machine and once you enter it in you can search for the movie you wish to rent.

It turns out, however, that the new releases are actually $3.99 a day. The sign wasn’t wrong though, it was just deliberately misleading. You can rent the same movie for $1.99 as long as you return it within 6 hours.

6 hours??? Who would do that? I know that when I rent a movie I want to relax for the night. I don’t want to have to go back to the store as soon as it is over. That is crazy! And the way they advertise it is just wrong.

I am tired of being tricked into buying things. Why do stores need to lie to use to attract our business? And why do we put up with it?

The other thing that bothers me about this machine is that I have rented three movies from my initial fill up of the card. I rented one $3.99 new release and two older movies that only cost $1.99. Of course there were taxes added to that, so now my card had a balance of $0.97. I can’t do anything with only ninety-seven cents. And it seems that you can only top up the card in $10 or $20 amounts.

I don’t plan on using this service anymore so I guess I have to swallow that dollar and count it as a loss.

3 Comments on Count it as a Loss

  1. Life seems to be getting increasingly complicated these days. I have to take a calculator into the supermarket to work out which ‘special offers’ are really a good deal and which are designed to confuse us into paying extra. On top of which, my wallet is bulging with coupons offering me extra loyalty points of negligible value for buying things that I don’t want. I think the only way for the consumer to get their own back is to buy as little as possible. We don’t really need most of it anyway.

  2. One thing to really watch out for in the supermarkets is the “Buy 2” for “whatever” price. Normally these promotions aren’t even sales. I remember that I used to buy a bag of No Name gummy worms for $0.99. Then one day I went to buy them and they were 2 for $3.00. I immediately picked up two packs thinking they were on sale when in truth, they were actually more expensive.

    Buyer beware, and be suspicious of sales. That is what I have learned.

  3. Ah yes, semper caveat emptor. Especially if it’s made in China.

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