I rant you risten

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

DVD Joe…

Ohhh, what I would do for a proper DVD/Video rental store… A large well lit shop, with stacks of movies organized by genre and then organized in alphabetical order, a shop where they have at least three copies of each new release. Since you don’t have that luxury here in Bahrain yet, you need to find others means of sorting yourself out. See in Bahrain, renting movies is a very intricate issue involving a lot of relationship building, good credit, and a lot of charm… You can’t just expect to walk into a rental shop, get a membership and walk out with your movies. Allow me to explain the typical rental shop: they are much smaller than you’d think, with one guy running the show (your “go to guy”), and they rarely order more than one copy per film, so if you don’t play your cards right, you can wait a couple of weeks maybe even longer before you’ll get to see that movie you’ve been patiently waiting for…

Shmoozing is very important… the dvd “go to guy” is key to your rental bliss: he’s the guy that unpacks the stock of new arrivals, he’s the guy that always hides movies under the counter for the special customers, and if you’ve got a good rapport with him he will be your best friend and call you up when a movie comes in. My “go to guy” is DVD Joe… he has a real name, but I don’t think he minds it if I call him Joe, I’m the only guy who calls him that so it saves me trying to remind him who I am over the phone… If you don’t have a “go to guy”, don’t worry too much about it… you can always get yourself one, and no matter how bad you’ve ruined your relationship with the guy, it’s always repairable, always… Y’see it’s all about the relationship, he needs to know he can trust you with bringing the movies back on time, and he also needs to know that you don’t have a problem with coughing up a late fee (being cheap here pulls you a couple of rungs down the important renter list)… Here’s what you have to do to build or repair your relationship with the guy: rent a movie and return it within 24 hours… do it a couple of times, and then he’ll realize that you’re trust worthy… Once you’ve gotten past the trust part, then you can start badgering him about the movies… Ask him what are his latest releases, and then ask him what’s behind the counter reserved for people… I know this is pretty dick, taking someone else’s reserved movie, but hey, I’ve taken the time to build a relationship with DVD Joe, I’m his friend, we joke around, and I will take your movie… tough… As your relationship with Joe progresses, he will then start calling you with new releases, keeping them reserved for you… It’s also important to joke around and keep the conversation light.. I find discussing Denise Richards’ behind, hangovers, and good Indian trucker food stops to be good…

One problem associated with having a “go to guy” is that he’s going to want to push his taste of movies on you.. and if his taste is anything like DVD Joe’s, it’s gonna be gruesome… I think I hurt his feelings once when he tried to push the latest Steven Segal movie on me… It takes a while, but if your Joe is as smart as mine, then he’ll start to monitor your tastes and save dvds accordingly…

Dvd renting etiquette is that you can’t let everyone at the shop know you and dvd joe are buddies… See he’s lying to customers telling them this movie isn’t available or that movie isn’t available, when the truth is that he’s got the movie hidden behind the counter waiting to get picked up by you… When other customers are in the shop, it’s always good to remain quiet and quick with the transaction… you don’t want to raise any suspicion from the other customers…

Another problem you have to watch out for with renting is dvd breakups... I had a friend who had the perfect “go to guy, ” everything taken care of in terms of the newest releases, with a set schedule and all, they even used to play a couple of rounds of play station at the shop, it was a dvd match made in heaven. Only problem was that “go to guy” found another job and was leaving the rental store. I don’t have to tell you this but my buddy was gutted, no more hiding the movies for you, no more nothing … So what do you do when your “go to guy” leaves? Well you either start working on a relationship with the new guy, or you pack up and find another movie rental shop…

Before Bahrain adopted it’s current copyright and piracy laws, you could find copies of anything on VHS… illegal copies, uncensored movies, VCDs from the Far East, even movies that you didn’t even know got released in Hollywood (did you know there’s a con air 3 with Ray Liotta? I didn’t). Now if you’ve got a better than normal relationship with Dvd Joe, then you can start getting anything you want… Many of us kids growing up in Bahrain developed a vast porn empire due to the diligent copying and distribution of Johnny from a certain Video shop on Adliya back in the mid nineties (man that guy made a bundle from us kids) – oh please, like you didn’t know, everyone knew…

For some of you, everything I’ve said makes a lot of sense, others, you just can’t relate… well I feel sorry for you… cause guess what gumby? I’m watching the movie I wanted to watch, while you’re stuck having to make a decision on whether to watch a chick flick or the Disney comedy with the 15-year-old twins solving the mystery… you make the call…

9 comments:

Desert Island Boy said...

Aaaahhhh!

I'm not sure if we're talking about the same store, but I had a huge flap when my cousins came visiting from Kuwait when I was 11.

My guy accidentally slipped a copy of Dragnet (Dan Aykroyd, Tom Hanks) while my Dad and his cousin were right there. The movie was pretty funny, except that no one knew there was a strip club scene in it. Clearly the uniformed moutaches hadn't fully screened this one.

I don't ever remember going so red when the whole thing unravelled. Needless to say the rest of the trip was rather uncomfortable.

If you need to expand your DVD Joe network, I can put in a good word for you at my friend's store. Drop me an email.

Mo said...

I find that being in Bahrain is key to cultivating this "go-to-guy" relationship you speak of..
I used to be one of the main members at the local DVD store in Sanad, back when it was one of 2 or 3 in all of the land.. one of the first 50 members, in fact..

and then I left, and unfortunately the rest of the family just didn't share my enthusiasm for the moving pictures..

So my "joe" moved on.. the store grew bigger and the business expanded.. the dvd boom had hit Bahrain and even the old Riffa Video shop next to the shawarma place (opposite Nady il Rifa3 Ilshargy) we used to rent "Ernest goes to jail/gets a job/fights a crocodile" on betamax from as kids shut down and reopened as a dvd spot.

Six years later and guess what? I walk into the shop, I say hello to Joe yet he seems more interested in his more regular clientele. I try to explain that its not my fault I only visit in 3 or 4 month intervals, but it all goes into one ear and out the other. By the end of each vacation a couple of the burnt down bridges are mended, and I manage to get my paws on some semi-recent movies.. but then I get on a plane and leave again, and the whole thing goes to shit.

If you're reading this, I'm sorry Joe. I wish things were different, I really do.

Preternatural_aL said...

just like Joe, there is Jane- she is chineese and sneaks into our office with the latest relases(not relased yet officially aka pirate)copies of DVDs..she carries two "special" bags,one full of porn and the other for "special" customers... carrying all that porn and pirate dvds , walking on the streets.. I wonder how come no one has stopped her yet..oh yeah and she was telling me some of her Fav customers happen to Police Officers...

Bahraini Rants said...

DIB: aww come on... Dragnet? I thought he slipped something like Debbis Does Dallas or something like that... but I know what you mean.. there's that unwritten rule that whenever you're watching a movie, the minute the film cuts to the one nude scene of the production, an adult walks into the room.. It's like magic.. This issue has been discussed at great lengths and there's no formula for it, but it's true..

Mo: I feel your pain buddy... Everytime I came back home from college, it was usually my siblings that ruined my relationship with my dvd guy by never returning the movies on time.. it would take a lot of small talk to get him to budge. I say explain your situation to your guy and see what happens. Speaking of Riffa, whatever happened to Hashmees and their great sandwiches?

Al: I don't know what's more worrying, that a chinese lady is sneaking into professional offices selling pornography. Or that police officers don't just confiscate porn, they have to go and buy it off the street.. Listen if you can find me Adnan wa Leena on Dvd let me know, I'm willing to pay top dollar/dirham/dinar for it...

MuppetLord said...

hmm....well I am a little old school here...we didn't have DVD's when I was in Bahrain. Choice of video store - Falcon I think it was, near the Hong Kong Restaurant.

1 Dinar for as long as you have the film, and when I forgot to take one back over the 2 month holiday...no worries, 1 dinar.

Things appear to have moved on a bit in 10 years.

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I just stumbled onto your blog while looking. Seems to happen to me a lot since I am a knowledge mooch LOL

Thanks

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