April 2006 Archives

Dateline: Home Study

I rented my last two movies from Movie Gallery today. Why? I do not approve of their business practices. As I was paying for the rentals I was told I did not return a movie and now owed for the movie. When was this movie rented? July 2005. Let’s see now, that was some nine months ago and I’ve heard nothing from them. You think a phone call or a letter would be in order if I had one of their movies. The truth is, my daughter rented the movie and I have no doubt she returned it (she even said it was a terrible movie). But, how can I prove that? They do not give you a receipt when you return movies (but they will when I return these two). I, the customer, have no control over how they check movies in but am held responsible if they make a mistake.

Then, as I paid for the movie and the rentals, the clerk stamped the back of my check and asked me to sign the back saying that their bank can debit my account if the check is returned for non-sufficient funds. I found that insulting and refuse to do further business with companies who have such policies. I signed the front of the check which certifies that there is money in the account but that was not enough for them. What really bothers me about that is just how stupid it really is. Think about it. If I don’t have money in the account (an account, by the way, that has been open for twenty-eight years, and the date the account was opened is on the front of the check) and sign the check, would I hesitate to sign the back of the check saying their bank could take even more money from the account?

I expect more from the companies I do business with and Movie Gallery does not live up to those standards. So, my membership card is being returned to them on Monday. According to that membership card, I was one of their first 1000 members. I was actually an even older customer because I was a member of a store the Movie Gallery bought.

If a company were truly interested in customer service, you think they would train their employees and give them some decision-making authority. Simple things like how to look at a check and see the date the account was opened before questioning if the check will be good. Or to look at the membership number and recognize that you have been a customer for many years and are probably being honest with them. Well, apparently that is asking too much of Movie Gallery.

Other businesses have tried such tactics in the past, and they were short-lived. I remember in 1980 time frame, McDonald’s tried something similar and I’ve not eaten at that McDonald’s since. I also understand they quit the practice later that same year. A few years ago Papa John’s require that you put two phone numbers on your checks. I quit doing business with them until they changed that policy. I fully expect Movie Gallery will also change its policy in the not too distant future. If they want to earn my business back, they will have to compete with DirecTV pay-per-view and Blockbuster. (Plus, they need to get a better selection of movies—of course better movies need to be made too.)

Well, Movie Gallery is asking too much of me. So, come Monday, I will be a former member. I ask you Gentle Reader, do you wish to patronize such a company or would you rather deal with people who trust you? For me the answer is simple.

Dateline: Home Study

After some comments were made to me, and I thought about some observations I've heard over the years, I wrote an article on the Presbyterian Church's Book of Order. The Book of Order (BOO) is seen my many as simply a book of rules. I contend it is much more.

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