Sunday, July 12, 2009

Movies from a (red)box

I have discovered the joys of redbox and may never visit a video store again.

Am I the last person in America to know about this fantastic (and cheap) innovation that allows you to reserve movie DVDs online and then pick them up from a kiosk that resembles an ATM machine – or just go to the machine and use the touch screen to borrow a movie that interests you – all for just $1 per day?

I learned about redbox after complaining to co-workers about the high prices at the local video store and that we’d pretty much exhausted the collection of free movies of interest at the Library.

Actually, that’s not altogether true – but when the film advertised as “the best movie to come out of Mexico” showed two unpleasant sex acts within the first three minutes, I decided that maybe I don't want to see any movies from Mexico – whether they be best or less-best – and maybe it's time to take a break from foreign films.

(Husband No. 1 and I still haven’t gotten over “Noi,” the “best film to come out of Iceland.” I wish we’d read the reviews beforehand that revealed “Noi is one of those films in which the very lack of anything significant happening becomes the central theme and message of the work.” Geez, I'd thought the message was just: BORING. We also might have known the title character was albino instead of just another pale person in wintry Iceland. However, I doubt we would have been prepared for the 10 other characters to die in an avalanche at the end. But I digress….)

Go to and type in your zip code to learn the location of the nearest redbox kiosk. Mine is just inside the doors of the nearby Wal-Mart. I can check online what DVDs are available at that machine and reserve one if I wish. And, if you register online, they’ll send you a code for a free rental.

When you go to the redbox you pay by swiping your credit or debit card. To avoid paying an additional $1, DVDs must be returned by 9 p.m. the next night to any redbox. The machine will request your e-mail address in order to send you a receipt when you rent the film and then one when you return it. The machine has a slot to spit out the movie and also accept the return after you use the touch screen to open it.

I looked at the redbox fact sheets online and learned each fully automated redbox kiosk holds approximately 700 DVDs, representing up to 200 new release titles. New titles are available at redbox every Tuesday. That's more frequent updating than most snack machines!

Pioneered by McDonald’s (yes, the hamburger folks -- "want fries with that flick?"), redbox is now a separate company with more than 15,000 kiosk locations nationwide, including some McDonald’s restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, and Walmart and Walgreens stores in some markets.

Movies from a box for a buck? A great invention for these economic times. But it does beg the question -- what will they think of next?


sheila said...

Just discovered it myself (via the kids, of course)and not only is it convenient and inexpensive but they have a good service policy too. Pip got one that skipped, when she reported it she was given a free rental.
Does the fact that this thrills me mean I've lost my mind?

Pat said...

hmm... well, it thrills me, too.
It's the little things that count, right?