Sunday, April 15, 2007

Renting a Movie in Samoa

We've been here for 9 months and Friday was the first time we rented a movie. We usually just borrow from people, but when you want to see a new release, you have to rent!

Samoans still haven't figured out that no-fee membership makes you more money. The top rental store in AS charges a whopping $10 lifetime membership fee for renting movies, and the movies are $3 after that! Who wants to pay $13 for their first rental?

Our friends figured they'd open a rental store. They named it CTR, after the ring (go figure). I thought they might go without rated R movies, but no. Maybe that's why they call it CTR (choose the R movie?!). CTR has $5 lifetime membership, which is better, but still not quite Blockbuster.

So finally I ran across a store that charges $1 lifetime membership. At $1, what's even the point of having a membership fee? I mean, they're making practically nothing on membership. Anyways, I figured this was the best I could do in AS (why didn't I just get Netflix?).

Their selection was horrid, but at least they had the new releases I wanted. I had to wonder, however, if a store that charges only $1 per membership could afford to hold actual DVD's. ;) I looked around, wondering if the video I was renting was a bootlegged copy (it's happened here before!).

After I picked my pix, the lady at the counter told me, "the movies are due back tomorrow. But we have a special on Saturdays, when the movies are due back in 2 days!" Wow. Not much of a special, considering that there aren't many (if any) video stores open on Sundays, and this lady's "special" was just a different way of saying, "we're closed on Sundays."

I had to show ID when I signed up for my $1 membership, but I was stupid and gave them my Samoan driver's license (with my SS# plastered on the front). I realized my error when she had written my information--with social security number--on my membership sheet that they kept at the store. I asked her, "you don't really need that number" or "why do you need that number?" or something like that. She just laughed. Partly in jest, I told her I didn't want anyone stealing my identity. She laughed again. "Oh, Samoans don't do those things." I didn't know if she meant "don't know how," or if she was playing me for the fool by pretending that Samoans would never dream of stealing someone's identity. The bad thing is, either way, I think she convinced me because I left the store without ever complaining again.

After I paid ($3 a movie, $1 membership fee) she handed me back the $1, saying "your membership is free this time." Huh? Only this time, of course.

Why didn't I sign up for Netflix?


Elizabeth said...

Here's the thing with Netflix . . . it takes about two weeks. One week to ship another to get it back to you. Unfortunately, the numbers don't add up. I kept my membership up when I moved here. I averaged six movies/month for 18.00 $3 a movie-which is what you'll pay here. I am doing the one out at a time deal for movies that I can't find here. I think you should just stick with your $1 video lady.