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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Post # 173 - Redbox and The Naughty Video Curtain - 3/24/11

Dear Redbox,

Twenty-nine years ago, my college rival, Tommy Davidson and I opened rival video stores on opposite sides of town.  His parents were supportive.  He had the hotter girlfriend and the ever-so-slightly better GPA.  However, he chose to stock predominately beta vision videos.  I chose to stock VHS.  Tommy’s business was my first victory. 

A Blockbuster moved in to Tommy’s store and thrived for years on his broken dreams.  Soon a Hollywood Video and a Family Video set up shop on the other corners.

One by one, the other stores faded.  First, Hollywood Video tanked, then Family Video, and finally, last week, the giant, Blockbuster. 

Somehow, through thick and thin, I managed to survive.  From VHS to DVD, and DVD to Blu-Ray.  I credit three things:  1) Hard work.  2) Customer satisfaction.  3) A special roomful of naughty videos with a curtain.  Until last week.

Last week, I shut my doors for the last time.  Red Box, with your $1 per night impulse vending machine video rentals at local grocers everywhere, killed me.  Congratulations and "Curse You" at the same time.

Here’s some food for thought as you move forward with my loyal customers, whose names and film preferences I know by heart.  Every neighborhood’s sex offender map resembles an M & M Cookie.  As a father of six daughters—Julie, Janey, Judy, Jenny, Jonnie, and Kim, it’s my job to know the names and faces and offenses.  I’d see many of those creepy "29-Year-Old-IT-Guy-Living-In-Mom’s-Basement-Emerging-Only-For-Pizza-Rolls" faces at my store, often coming out of the special room.  I often wondered whether the special room, the same room that special interest groups wanted removed, kept the creeps and their creepiness in mom’s basement instead of our neighborhoods, grocery stores, gas station restrooms, rest stops, and Chuck E. Cheeses.

With my store closing, there is no special room with a curtain.  There’s no outlet for the creep-o's.  There’s no "what's behind the curtain" wonderment for 13 year-old boys, sent into the store by Dad to rent “Weekend At Bernies II.” 

You need to add a tiny curtain section to your vending machines.  You owe it to neighborhoods and creeps everywhere.  And if you do, you will be rewarded financially, for years to come.

Let me now what you think!


Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2011 10:11:46 -0500
Subject: RE: General Question

Hello Jerry,

Thank you for your e-mail. I apologize for the inconvenience. Your comments, suggestions & business are important to us. I will share the information you have provided with the appropriate parties.

If you have any additional questions, comments regarding this issue please contact us at 866-redbox3 (866-733-2693) to avoid any further delay in resolving your matter.

Thank you for your valued business,

redbox Customer Care
Subject: RE: General Question
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2011 22:14:52 -0400

Dear Redbox,

Just following up.  My last grocery store visit revealed no tiny curtain area.  I saw no customers renting videos.  And to top it all off, the news truck was in our neighborhood because some 45-53 year-old creepo with grey hair and red complexion was dancing outside his late model Blue Volvo, trying to entice the kids.  Instead of watching a Red Box (naughty) video in mom's basement with the partially warmed up Jeno's Pizza Rolls and tepid Snapple.

How are the plans coming?  Do you have mock-ups?  Prototypes?  Focus Groups?  Let's get rolling!

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