Everybody must've figured the world was going to end this year because prime douchebaggery was underway starting only a few planetary rotations after the ball celebrating 2012 dropped. January did not work out well at all for the sanctitude of the Dominion's inventory, and it took Fernando quite the while to calm his charges' shattered nerves after the initial wave of thefts.
The Switch and Trust: One of Fernando's semi-regulars must have contracted the stupid virus, because these two bad boys were nipped only two weeks into the new year. Why she did this thing Fernando will never know, as his calls went unanswered and his inquisitory tendrils could not turn up a mailing address. Obviously she fled the country after perpetrating this most grievous of sins. Hopefully it was to someplace comparatively nice, for the movies' sake, rather than a nasty cesspit like Somalia.
Bad Santa, Accepted, Superbad, Escanaba in da Moonlight: It bothers Fernando when thieves have the foresight to select entertaining and (mostly) quality bits of property to steal. A guy came to the store and set up an account. Fernando, having learned from past mistakes, obtained his full identification for the matriculation application. The guy rented the four movies. Obviously, they were never returned. The phone number provided was a cell phone that went perpetually unanswered and whose voicemail was Generic Phone Lady saying “You have reached five-five-three-two-one-two-four. Please leave your message at the tone.” Mailing a thing to the address on the license proved fruitless, so it was with a sad heart that Fernando accepted his parting with these four items.
Game of Thrones Season One, Discs 1 and 2: The thieving came to a close in early February and the Dominion experienced a month-long respite before this caper was executed. Here is another case of a regular customer arbitrarily deciding to sever whatever positive ties he shared with Fernando. He came down and rented two of the five discs of the DVD box set and then just never returned them, ignoring Fernando's pleas through assorted methods of communication. The bizarre thing is that this man's parents rented completely different movies about a month later and one of the outer cases upon their return belonged to the second of the two discs. Fernando never asked how this came to pass because his quarrel was not with these other people, but rather with the thief whose malice resulted in the other three discs of that box set being rendered essentially useless. Fernando suspects, but is not certain, that he is utilizing his ladypal as a proxy renter but in the absence of hard evidence he can do nothing about it.
But hey, she now owes Fernando eighteen dollars, too. Pretty soon this dude will run out of people to rent for him because his circle of friends will all be on Fernando's shit list.
Chronicle, The Mothman Prophecies: Now it's late May and a teenager comes to the store. He rents these two movies and they go the way of Amelia Earhart. The sad thing is that this kid has the most common last name in the area and Fernando has no clue as to which particular branch of this overlarge family he belongs. Rather than instigate all of them (some of whom are regular, trustworthy customers who do not deserve being accused of having reared a petty thief), Fernando held his peace and opted not to call every single family in his records who shared this surname. He had extra copies of the one movie and the other one was a decade old, anyway.
Madagascar 2: Eh. It almost never rented anyway. I just can't bring myself to get worked up over this one. Oh wait, no, they went ahead and made a Madagascar 3. Fudge.
Reign Over Me: Once upon a time a young lady set up an account here. Her parents came in a few months later and rented under it. A curious inversion of the usual way things went, but none of them owed Fernando money from years and years ago, so Fernando did as bade. The movies which were rented came back about two weeks later. Late fees were tallied against the young woman's account and life went on.
The young lady came in about three months later. Fernando told her the state of things and she apologized for her elders' poor behavior. She threw a pittance on the late fee and rented the above movie which you, Dear Reader, may have inferred vanished from this plane of existence. Now she and her parents share a place on the ban list, even though the object which they stole is a ho-hum offering from six or so years ago.
The Lorax, 21 Jump Street: Okay. Fernando has a super-duper regular customer, easily in the top five of people who put money into his pocket. Fernando makes all sorts of exceptions for this gentleman on the vanishingly rare occasions when they come up, for this man is punctual in returning his movies and swiftly reigns in his offspring on the occasions when they start to get a little rowdy in the store.
This man came into the store one day with someone Fernando had never seen before. They are speaking quite animatedly. Good customer rents a couple of movies. The other guy brings a couple of tags up. “Hey, can I rent these?”
“You'll need to set up an account.” This thing happens, the movies are rented, and so forth. They don't come back and the phone number the gentleman provided was faulty. Quite.
The next time Fernando's Best Customer is in the store, our Keeper broaches the subject of the missing movies and asks if maybe Best Customer could talk some sense into his companion.
“Yeah, I'll try to get in touch with him for you. You've tried calling him?”
“Yeah, but the number he gave me is disconnected. Does he have a new cell or something where I could reach him?”
“Don't worry about it. I'll get them back for you.”
Best Customer goes into the world and presumably makes a valiant stab at accomplishing what he promised Fernando he'd do. He returns a few days later.
“Yeah, he told me that he brought them back.”
“Er. But they weren't.”
The two exchange a silent look. “I'll try to get them back for you,” Best Customer says to Fernando.
“That would be much appreciated.” Fernando's voice sounds unnecessarily cold, so he appends, “I'm not blaming you or anything. The frustration at being lied to by proxy grates on me.”
Best Customer departs. The movies remain missing.
At their worst, things can only get better, right? Stay positive, Fernando. Stay positive. 2013 is a bright beginning, a new adventure of sunshine and roses and who am I kidding sunshine causes cancer and dandelions are better.