Renting movies from redbox vending machines is becoming more and more popular. At first, it was convenient to grab a movie on the way out of the store or next to McDonald’s, but now it’s turning into a pain. There are long lines of people who don’t know what the heck they are doing or what movie they want. I know this article isn’t going to reach a big enough audience to really make a difference, but if I can keep one person from annoying the people behind them in line, then it was worth the time I spent writing it. Here is a straight-forward Question and Answer format to help you rent and return movies from redbox more efficiently.
Q: What do I need to rent a movie from redbox?
A: You will need to provide your zip code and a have a valid credit card. You will also be given the option to provide your e-mail.
Q: Should I provide my e-mail?
A: Well, I’m not going to tell you how to run your life, but I would. You will need to provide it anyway if you ever want to reserve a movie on-line. Plus, you will get notifications of what new titles are coming and when. You may even get promo codes from time to time for free movie rentals. Redbox claims it will not share your e-mail or personal information with any other parties.
Q: What’s the Best Way to Rent a Movie: In-person or on-line?
A: On-line, hands-down. If you have internet access at home, you will want to reserve your movies from home and then pick them up. This is true whether you have no idea what you want or if you have a specific title in mind.
If you don’t know what you want, then you can take your sweet time browsing all of the available titles, watching movie trailers, and reading reviews. This will help you make a better informed decision and you will be less likely to pick a dud. Also, no one will be breathing down your neck waiting for you to “pick one already!” People aren’t very patient and if you try to browse through every single movie before making a selection, you might end up being the victim of some pent-up anger. This is not the time to be indecisive, unless no one is behind you.
If you know what you want, it is smart to reserve it on-line. You can see which kiosk has it available and then reserve it at the nearest one. It will be held for you for one night. If you don’t pick it up in time, you will still be charged $1.00 plus tax. The nice thing about reserving on-line, aside from the fact that the movie is guaranteed to be there, is that when you do pick it up, it will be very painless. You should have already paid on-line and received confirmation, so you will just need to swipe your card again and get your movie(s). The people behind you will love you for being so fast.
Q: How many movies can I rent at one time?
A: Your first time, you can only rent two movies. After that, you can rent up to five movies at once. I guess if you needed more than that, you would need another person to rent them for you. Honestly, though, who has time to watch more than five movies in one night? If so, you might consider taking up a hobby or something, because that’s kind of sad.
Q: Why am I not getting a receipt?
A: The machines do not print receipts. If you provide an e-mail address, they will send you one. Do not stand around waiting for a receipt to print, because it’s not happening.
Q: How do I return a movie?
A: You will need to return the movie by 9 p.m. the following day. For each day you are late, you will pay the regular fee of $1.00 plus tax. This will continue until after 25 days. At this point, you will be billed $24 for the purchase price of the DVD and it is yours to keep. Aside from sheer laziness or forgetfulness, there is no excuse not to return the movie, since you can return the movie to any redbox nationwide. It doesn’t need to be the one you rented it from. This is the biggest difference between redbox and traditional video stores (aside from the smaller selection and cheaper prices). You could actually rent movies for family vacations and return them on the road.
If you want to know how to physically return a movie, here are the steps:
1) Hit “Return DVD” on the screen.
2) Hold your DVD so that the large red arrow on the case is facing you and is pointing toward the slot to return it.
3) Insert the DVD and wait until it grabs it. Do not try to jam it in there. The machine will take it from you, just like the dollar slot in a vending machine.
4) Look at the screen and make sure it says, “DVD Returned Successfully.”
5) If it says you returned it, pat yourself on the back. You just did what so many people I get behind can’t seem to figure out. I just want to grab it from them and say, “See this huge red arrow? Why aren’t you using it?! This is the third time you are trying to put it in upside-down. It is not going to work. Every time you put it in there wrong, the machine goes wacky and takes forever to spit it back out. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result!” Sorry; I guess I needed to vent a bit there, since I would never actually do this in real life.
Sometimes, though, it’s not your fault if you can’t return a movie. If you can’t get it to work after several correct attempts, there might be a jam in the machine or other problem. Contact customer service 7 days a week, from 7:00 a.m. to midnight Central Time at 1.866.733.2693 (1.866.REDBOX3). This is also who you call if your DVD won’t play, you returned a personal DVD or one from another video store, or if you have other issues (you know, related to redbox. I don’t think they really want to hear about those issues).
Q: If I use redbox, will I be contributing to the closing of traditional video stores?
A: Well, only time will tell, but I would say probably. And that would be a shame, because redbox will never work with everyone using them. It just can’t handle the capacity. And the selection is nowhere near as good as a regular video store. Currently, there are no games or Blu-Ray discs, either, although that seems to be on the horizon. So, as cheap and convenient as they can be, maybe we should still try to hit up the neighborhood video store sometimes too. But traditional video stores really need to get in the game by lowering their prices, offering better incentives and fighting tooth and nail before it’s too late.
Q: What if I have more questions?
A: What?! You mean this guide wasn’t enough for you? Man, you people are insatiable! Okay, if you still have questions, you can go to this link for the redbox help center: http://www.redbox.com/content.mvc/helpcenter.
Click here to read more articles by this author.