Those who live in the vicinity of Carlton in Melbourne may be familiar with a little independent video hire place on Faraday St, just down from Brunetti called Video Dogs
It's a nice idea. A couple of small dark rooms packed to the rafters with videos and DVDs, away from the white fluorescent light and rampant commercialism of Blockbuster, a potential sanctuary from the cold Melbourne winter outside. One of the only video hire places in the area, they attract the locals - students, yuppies, retirees - they're on a pretty good wicket as far as captive audiences go. They've got a great range and their prices are reasonable.
The only problem is that they are a pack of cunts.
I apologise to my more delicate readers, but you haven't met surly, disinterested, morally-superior service until you've had the joy of trying to deal with these people.
I've lived in the Carlton area for over five years and given the monopoly this place has on location and convenience, I have experienced their particular brand of assholery many times. Yet on each occasion, as the months pass since my last visit, I write my feelings of loathing off as exaggeration - they can't really be as bad as I seem to remember, maybe the person working was just having a bad day. Hey I've worked in retail - I know how it can be.
But even with this fairly generous approach in mind, I am still shocked by the way they treat their customers every time I walk into the place.
Not too long ago, Snooze and I planned a night in front of the tele to educate Jelly
and the Redhead on the delights of Camp
, Todd Graff's delightful 2003 teenage drama/comedy about American musical theatre nerds. A quick check on the phone by Snooze of the local video stores to find a copy came up blank - leading inevitably, and somewhat ominously to Video Dogs.
VD: *sounding bored* Carlton Video Dogs
Snooze: Hi, I was wondering if you have a copy of "Camp" available.
Snooze: ...um, it's 2003...
Snooze: ...directed by Todd Graff (/WTF!?)
VD: *snapping* I'm just looking it up *heavy sigh*
Yes we do
Snooze: Great! Is it... *phone hangs up*
Being geographically closer, I was delegated the task of going down after work to collect said copy of "Camp".
Conscious of their reputation and eager to avoid being treated like a small piece of poo, I enter with my nicest face on, in the style of Ms Fits at the Chemist
trying not to come across as a drug-addled whore. A quick search of the shelves and there it is, Todd Graff's delightful 2003 teenage drama/comedy about American musical theatre nerds.
Jauntily I pluck it from the shelf and spring to the service counter, beaming like a borderline-retarded golden retriever.
Service Girl is two feet from me, leaning across to her friend and receiving a lesson in how to use her mobile phone.
*Mobile phone lesson continues*
*Golden retriever smile fading. Desperately trying to resist the urge to tap fingers on the counter*
The conversation appears to be winding up. Goodbyes are said, friend walks out the door. Service Girl fiddles with her phone for a moment or two more, then drags her eyes up to me
SG: sorry about that *couldn't be less sincere*
Me: That's OK, *retrieving golden smile* these things...
*Friend sticks head around corner*
Friend: Did I tell you my Dad got married!?
SG: *turning away* No!! OMG etc.
*Oh for fucks sake*
*Finally friend leaves*
SG: *wanders over to register* *pokes at keyboard* *heavy sigh* Name?
SG: *taps keyboard* Password?
Me: Ooh, it's been a while since I've used it, but I think it's...Bunty? [don't ask] but I'm not completely sure.
SG: *taps keyboard* *no response to password answer* Address?
Me: *thinking I've got the password wrong* *aware that the address she is using to confirm who I am is outdated* Oh, I've moved, I think you guys probably have 123 Carlton St. Carlton.
SG: *exasperated sigh* *rolls eyes* No [dickhead!]. What's your new
Me: *confused* *wondering what happened to the password question* Ah, well 789 Fitzroy St, Fitzroy.
SG: *taps keyboard* Have you got a new credit card?
Me: New in what sense exactly?
SG: *barely contained contempt* The one we have has expired.
Me: *rummaging through wallet* Here you go.
SG: *glances at card* Have you got another one?
Me *WTF!?* Um, yes, here you are.
SG: *takes DVD box from me* *examines box* Camp?
SG: *tsk-ing* I think someone actually has this on hold
Me: *OMFG!!!!!* Oh really, it may have been my girlfriend, she rang earlier today?
SG: *looks doubtful* What was her name?
SG: Nope. That wasn't it.
Now let me pause here briefly to point out that when Snooze actually rang and discovered the DVD was in, she was in the process of asking the person on the phone (who turned out to be Service Girl) if she could put a hold on it when they abruptly hung up on her. She didn't even have a chance
to put it on hold. Service Girl is just being an officious tosser.
SG: *looks through reserve book* Oh no, it's free after all.Quell surprise!
The rest of the transaction goes through without any major hitches and I finally release myself from their evil clutches. I glance down at the temporary shop case holding the DVD, and that's
when I remember why I despise them so entirely.
The staff at Video Dogs are frequently pricks. They're generally bored, unhelpful, rude and dismissive.
None of this comes as a surprise when you look at their DVD casings.
A more condescending, patronising and morally-superior credo I challenge anyone to find.
I present to you, the Video Dogs manifesto. Click on the image to read.
So beware, all you inner-northern Melbournites, of the Video Dogs manifest and let this be a warning to you: they don't have that name for nothing.