Basic Biittner: Random thoughts

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Just some miscellaneus thoughts about a couple of subjects -

Last Saturday, a group of paranormal researchers (i.e., they research paranormal activities. I don't know that they themselves are paranormal) from east of here came to Cherokee to do more searching for ghosts at the American Theater. It really shouldn't have been too hard last weekend, though, because one of the three films which was playing at the American was "The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past." So I definitely think they found ghosts at the American last Saturday. You can bank on that.

But if they need help in any future searches, "Who they gonna call?" That's right - Ghostbusters!

On a different note (C sharp, I believe) - I did a little follow-up two weekends ago on the subject of one of my recent column - the Redbox. I decided to actually try getting a video from the Redbox kiosk in Cherokee. As my first step, I went to the redbox website, set up an account, and took a look at what was available at the Cherokee Hy-Vee Redbox. I was delighted to find, among the hundreds of available DVDs, a film I had been wanting to see, Cadillac Records, the story of Chess Records - Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Etta James, et al. I reserved the DVD for Saturday, and received a receipt for $1.07 (.99 + tax) by e-mail, along with instructions to pick up the DVD before 9 p.m. on Saturday, at which time the DVD would be made available to another customer if I failed to pick it up.

I went to the Redbox early on Saturday afternoon, and used the interactive kiosk to find the DVD I had reserved. I then touched the selection and followed instructions. A keyboard appeared, and I typed my e-mail address (two hints: if you make a mistake, don't hit "clear," because you'll have to start all over again. Just hit the "back" key to delete your mistake (s) one at a time; Second, there is actually a key that says ".com", so if that's the extension of your e-mail, that's a couple of less keys you have to hit.

After following these directions, my requested DVD popped out of the machine. I took it home, took it out of the case, and watched it on my DVD Player. The best news is that it was as good as I'd hoped. I had to come to town again later that evening, so brought the DVD back and slid it into the kiosk as instructed. That was that. I watched a film I'd been wanting to see for a measly $1.07.

Had I not returned the DVD by the time I was instructed to, I could have kept it for another day, or two, or three ... When I finally returned it (to that redbox, or any other), I would have received another receipt when I put the DVD back into the box. The new receipt would have been for an additional $1.07 per day, charged to the card I had on my account. The website indicates that if you fail to return the DVD within 25 days, you own it. I am assuming that means you will be billed approximately $25 for your "purchase." So, I guess if you like the DVD and choose not to return it, it's pretty much the same as if you went to the store and paid $25+ for it. Not too bad - unless there are some other hidden charges of which I'm not aware.

We rented two more $1.07 a day videos this past weekend, and enjoyed both films. We happened to rent them at the Storm Lake Redbox (also located at Hy-Vee), this time, without reserving either DVD online ahead of time, but still were able to return them to the Cherokee Redbox.Just remember, though, you must pay with a debit or credit card, no cash. So take your card to the box with you when you go to pick up your rental.

In movie review language, I give the Redbox a "thumbs up."