Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fernando Shrugged

On a beautiful mid-October day, Fernando plays a bit of Torchlight because his customer flow is nonexistent and he is between internet services at the moment. The phone rings; the caller ID reveals the caller to be a rather elderly customer, someone who comes to the store maybe twice a century and only rents half the time.
Hello, Dominion of Movies.”
Hi, do you have Atlas Shrugged?”
I'm afraid I don't right this moment. It doesn't come out until early next month.”
Oh. You'll be picking up some copies then?”
Yeah, I'm snagging one.”
Only one?”
Well, I don't think I'll be needing more.”
Fernando's attempt at cordiality and not using words that belie how he really feels about Objectivism must have come off as facile, as the caller degenerated into frothy rage. “Lots of people agree with the message it has!”
Actually not so much. It only made like 5 million at the box office and money I put towards that will be money I can't put towards, say, Harry Potter, or my own salary. As an apparent fan of the, ah, work in question, surely you can understand, even though I am under no obligation to provide you a moral justification for my actions beyond 'I want it that way,' why I would look out for my self-interest like that.”
So you're biased against it!”
Ma'am, the only time I inject politics into my business life is when other people bring it up first. I find it rude to spew derp at my customers, especially given the current unhealthy division that can result from airing one's political leanings.. The only 'politics'--” here Fernando makes air quotes with his free hand even though no one is around to see them-- “at work here is old-fashioned capitalism, and not stocking vast quantities of a movie that won't make me much money. Now, I'm sorry, but I have a line of customers to help. Good bye.”
Oh. Okay. Bye.”
Fernando hangs up and palms his face.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Closing Time

It's 7.57 PM on a rainy evening. Fernando has just finished his counting out for the evening and is about to shut down the computer when the phone rings. Against Fernando's better judgment, he picks up.

"Hello, Dominion of Movies."

"Yeah, are you guys still open?"

"I'm actually just about to close up."

"Well, can you stay open for a little while longer so we can come down and get some movies?"

"How much is a little while?"

"We should be in by 8.30 or so."

"I'm sorry, I have things to do at home. I open tomorrow at 2 if you guys would care to stop by then."

"We wanted to rent tonight. Would it be so hard for you to stick around?"

"Well, closing time is at 8. I'm not waiting around for half an hour to make an extra three bucks. Sorry. Have a nice evening."

Fernando then goes home and makes delicious spaghetti.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Legal Tender

Fernando is engaged with one of his regular customers one gloomy weekday immediately after opening. He banters about the high quality and enjoyment factor of the films the gentleman had just rented (Bridesmaids and Horrible Bosses). The man fishes about in a pocket during the back and forth and dumps what he believes to be the correct amount of money on the counter. Fernando scoops it up and sorts it into the register, then notices a mild discrepancy.

You accidentally gave me a wad of pocket lint instead of a quarter,” says Fernando. He deposits the fuzzy blue ball on the countertop.

Oh, I'm sorry! Probably should get you another quarter...not unless you accept pocket lint as a form of currency?”

No, sorry,” Fernando says. “You might want to try Somalia or Eritrea or somewhere, see if you could maybe barter half a chicken for it.”

Psh,” says the customer. “I could just head over to the C-Store if I wanted to visit a shithole. It's closer.”

Fernando chortles in a most unseemly fashion at this jab directed at the nearby gas station, accepts the man's quarter, and then spends the day in a merry mood. Laughter, good for the soul.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

As the World Turns

-Ring ring ring- goes the phone one day not long after opening.

Hello, Dominion of Movies?” Fernando says into the phone.

Yeah, do you have Zookeeper?”

I don't have any copies in at the moment, but I'm expecting a bunch back. Did you want me to hold one and give you a call when it gets in?”

Yeah, do that. Do you have my number?”

Yes'm, got it in my records here,” Fernando responds.

Time passes and, joy of joys, somebody returns a copy of the movie. Fernando rings up the lady in question. You know those things where people do you the “pleasure” of “listening to the music while your party is reached?” Why is the music uniformly bad?

Anyhow, Fernando is shunted to voicemail, so he leaves a message informing the lady that her movie is in. And, yup, she never shows up to collect it. The following day Fernando puts the tag back out on the rack and income is made as that copy of Zookeeper is snapped up.

Our story continues two days after the initial reservation was made. The lady for whom Fernando was to hold the film pulls up. “Yeah, you were holding Zookeeper for me?” she says.

Fernando flicks a quick glance at his shelves, where he notices all copies of that movie are absent. “I don't have any copies in right now, unfortunately.”

You said you'd hold it for me!”

...That was two days ago. I called and told you I had a copy in. It was never collected, so yesterday it was rented out when I put it back on the floor.”

Yeah, but you said you'd hold it!”

Right. Now, I am expecting copies back later today. Did you want me to hold one for you for today?”

For a second the woman looks like she might spite Fernando's generous offer to again do the thing which resulted in him making slightly less money for her benefit. Instead she agrees to the proposition.

This time when the movie got in and Fernando called her and braved the horrible music, she was prompt in picking it up.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Clogged Tubes

Sunday's update is a mite bit early, as Fernando will find himself between internet service providers over the coming week. Fernando's current internet comes about through an arrangement he has with another local business. This arrangement is simple and straightforward and practical: they get free rentals, Fernando gets to piggyback internet.

This arrangement also crumbles to bits when that other business closes its doors.

Now Fernando has to engage with people outside his usual spheres of contact, all to assuage that hateful addiction-monkey called an internet connection. Such extroversion worries Fernando, since he generally sucks with the whole "talking with people he's never met before in those situations in which Fernando finds himself not in a position of power." It's okay, though. Fernando has written up a cheat sheet, scrawled onto one of those 3-inch square sticky notes, he plans to use in these conversations:

"Name: Fernando, calling/behalf Dominion of Movies
Internet package (if cable comp "expanding current service to include internet package")
Reason for change: Business service w/local business agreement, closing up, need new service DON'T BE A DICK ABOUT THEM ASKING
Pricing, how soon can be up"

If the calls in question are in any way interesting, Fernando will be sure to share them with the world.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wedge Issues

It's a simply gorgeous, eighty degree day, one that defies the local climate seeing as it's mid-October. Fernando makes the most of it by propping his door open and allowing Nature to fill his Dominion with the warmth and vigor of Autumn's last hurrah before the merciless claws of Winter sink deep into the environs-metaphor. In part because Fernando is a cheap bastard who refuses to shell out a couple of bucks on a plastic wedge and in part because Fernando is a practical bastard who makes use of what he has available, the object being used to prop the door is one of his countless plastic VHS rental cases.

Not once, but twice, on that day did Fernando have variations on the following conversation:

Customer: “You know that your door is wide open.”

Fernando: “Yep.”

Customer: “There's a case in there. Is that supposed to be there?”

Fernando: “Yeah. That's what I'm using to prop the door.”

Customer: “Oh. Did you want me to take it out when I leave?”

Fernando: “No, that won't be necessary, thanks.”

On a third occasion, though, the VHS case's utility was ignored, with the person in question fishing the case out from under the door and bringing it up to Fernando upon entry.

Customer: “This was holding your door open. I figured I should bring it to you and let you know.”

Fernando: “...Thanks.” Fernando then proceeded to jam the hunk of plastic back where it belonged without waiting for the person to leave.

By closing time the case was a warped and ruined mess, so Fernando rewarded its valiant sacrifice with a proper send-off; he chucked it in his garbage. The other VHS cases on Fernando's shelves were understandably envious that this lucky one had been sent to VHS Rental Case Heaven. But don't worry, Assorted Other VHS Cases. Your time will come as well.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Monumental Confusion

A guy enters the store one day and immediately comes up to the counter. “Yeah, I'm looking for the movie, I think it's called Monument.”

Fernando swivels in his chair and regards the man. “As far as I'm aware, there's no movie by that name here. Could you tell me a little bit more about it?”

Yeah, it's the one where Abraham Lincoln is there and he comes to life and give a tour to the kids.”

That...sounds kind of like Night at the Museum 2. Do you know about when it came out?”

Oh, I don't know. But a person at work told me to watch it because it's a really good movie, you know?”

It sounds suspiciously like a scene in Night at the Museum 2,” Fernando reiterates. He rises from his throne and fetches the case from its rack-domicile, then hands it to the man.

Oh, no, no, it's definitely not this. The movie's called Monument.”

Just a sec.” Fernando hops onto the glory that is the internet and does a quick Google search for “Monument (film).” The Wikipedia page for Monument Valley is the first result. “There's no movie by that name out there. I'm almost positive that you guys are thinking of a scene in Night at the Museum 2.”

Well, it's not. The movie's called Monument. You just must not have looked hard enough online.”

There's...not much more looking I can do. If a movie doesn't pop on a Google search, then it doesn't exist.”

The man ignores this fact. “So you're saying you don't have it?”

It doesn't look like I have the title in question. Sorry.”

The man leaves.

Turns out, though, that there are movies whose titles are “Monument.” They're just Estonian, Norwegian, or Serbian in origin and have nothing at all to do with Abraham Lincoln.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Equitable Distribution

A young lady enters the store and selects a few movies to rent. When she approaches the counter, she tells Fernando, “I'd like to start a new card.”

I'm pretty sure you guys still have one in there, actually,” Fernando responds, digging through his Magic Card Box for the individual's in question. Turns out it's nearly full, which would entail the lucky bearer to a free rental. “Yeah, here it is.”

Well, I'm not with him anymore so just split those up I guess and start me a new one.”

Now Fernando finds himself in a pickle. See, when the two lovebirds first started snogging each other, the female half said to Fernando, “You can just put all of my rentals onto his card.” This system had been in place for close to two years and Fernando doesn't even know how many cards had been filled in that time.

The problem is, of course, that Fernando can't really obscure a take-away yoinking of permanent ink stamps on pieces of paper. Scribbling them out belies that something sneaky is afoot, and at the gent's next appearance certain questions would surely be raised (not to mention voices, most likely. The guy's not the most restrained sort of individual).

Furthermore, the idea of giving half of a free rental to somebody grates on Fernando's sensibilities. Not because he's against retaining custom, heavens no, but because this whole current stamp card-transfer fiasco is fallout from a failed relationship that tallies to around fourteen bucks. She said to Fernando “Put them onto his card,” back then, which entails these rental-stamps were a gift. In the clarity of hindsight, ill-advised gifts, perhaps, but gifts nonetheless.

Once upon a time in legendary days or yore, Fernando procured and had procured for him assorted gift-type things for various ladies he was in the process of courting, sometimes doing silly things (when the hindsight knowledge that things would implode is taken into account) like spending money on meals or shiny baubles or what have you. Upon the inevitable dissolution of these relationships neither he nor the assorted shes up and demanded some form of equitable distribution (title drop!) of these expenditures.

Were Fernando the lady in question, he would say to him(her?)self, “Well, that was stupid of me to have dated that girl (guy?) for two years for basically no benefit to me right here and now. Instead of drawing things out by dragging the movie store guy and his stamp cards into it, let's put this mistake behind me and learn from the experience.” But Fernando is not the lady in question, so the thought experiment and internal dialogues amount to nothing.

In the end, Fernando fulfills her request to create and half-fill a new card so as to maintain tranquility and continued custom in the Dominion from both halves of the severed love-line.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tempus Fugit

Dear Reader,

By Ahura Mazda's transcendence, it's been a year already since the start of this blog deal? How time flies when fun is least I hope you, dear reader, have had fun. I certainly have, else I wouldn't very well have persisted in the upkeep of this silly corner of the internet, right?

At this juncture I think I'll be reducing the rate of update to twice a week (Thursday and Sunday, I reckon). There are only so many unique shenanigans that happen to me nowadays, and I feel a number of my more recent entries are varying degrees of phoned in. This way the content quality improves; every other update won't be just a variation on "This person is a jerk about late fees, and here's what Fernando said in response to that jerkiness. That'll show him!" I prefer to have quality content for you over frequent, albeit repetitive, word-vomits, dear reader.

At any rate, heartfelt thanks to those of you who have kept with me this past year. It's nice to know my inane, narcissistic ramblings do, in fact, reach an audience and that this audience is able to derive a modicum of entertainment from them. I hope you'll stick around with me to see what Year 2 has in store.

After all, it could always get worse.


Fernando H. Stevens
Dominion of Movies

Sunday, October 2, 2011


One evening Fernando is helping a gaggle of high school girls pick out a movie for a gigglicious high school girl slumber party thing. They come to the conclusion that Fernando's recommendation of Bridesmaids is the way to go and everyone meanders back over to the counter. Fernando sets about completing the rental slip while one of them digs through Fernando's Adopt-a-Movie box.

“What's this?” she asks as she paws through the DVD cases therein.

“The Adopt-a-Movie Box. It's unfortunate but true that there's a finite amount of inventory space in the store, but I have to free some of it up, even though it pains me greatly. I would very much love to clasp each of these movies to my bosom for eternity, but seeing as that is impossible I hope they can be adopted into loving homes.”

“Bosom? Isn't that like a butt?” asks another of the ladies.

“No. Not really.”

“Oh. I've heard the word before somewhere though. What's it mean?”

“Bosom is breast.”

This statement sets the four girls a-tittering and the first girl says, “But you're a guy! You don't have those!”

“Not that kind of breast. It's like...cuddling something against the front of your chest. Like a kitten or a duckling or some other small, ridiculously cute critter. Or, in my case, a DVD. You don't need a set of DDs to do that.”

“I bet it helps!” yells a third, which sets them all off a second time.

“On that topic I'm not going to comment,” says Fernando. They bust out yet again and are still laughing when they leave.