Monstermatt Patterson: Video Store Clerk

Ghoul Mourning, Maniacs!!!!

It is I, Monstermatt Patterson!

Gravedigger’s Local brought me here to annoy, I mean,entertain you. (Umm…that’s the problem.Me and entertain don’t really go together,so I’m told.By my agent!!) Anyways,I think you’ll dig what I’m about to share, here. Some of you, might of had the same experiences,so you’d defintely be able to connect.

In The Monstermatt Minute,on Episode 28 of the 6 Foot Plus podcast, I gave you a biographical truth, in a rancid rhyme. The line was “I too,was a video store clerk …” This is true. I worked for a time at Video Factory, a long gone regional chain of video stores, from the eighties and nineties. One of my brothers -in-law, an action/adventure, comedy film fan worked there a few years before I came into the company. I remember seeing the store for the first time, shelves jammed with every movie you could think of!

Each of us video clerks had to wear a tuxedo shirt, tie, cummerbund and black slacks. Yes, I said slacks! It gives that touch of class, yes? We had our personal  favorite genres, which enabled us to make recommendations to our clientele. I’m glad to say that if you were looking for a good horror or sci-fi flick on VHS or BETA, I was the “go to” guy.

I couldn’t wait for each wave of potential garbage or gold to be delivered, every week. A lot of new releases were found in the pages of Fangoria. Using those titles led to finding others in our buyer’s catalog. I would suggest  to our manager which films could do well as rentals.

Pointing people in the direction of the aroma of Troma, the numerous titles of Roger Corman, the mind blowing H.G. Lewis titles, various stomach churning video box cover art and just plain old shlockfests was worth dealing with an occasional customer that insisted on renting a BETA tape with a VHS player.

They say the customer is always right, but not when trying to force very different media formats together.

Even renting out a snooze fest, like Pretty Woman, was not a total loss if I could persuade that customer to also take Lunchmeat or Faces of Death. It didn’t always work,but the ashen look on some faces and newly deranged on others, as they returned the tapes (not rewound,of corpse) was a victory!

We would play videos on the monitors to get people interested in the new releases. These were mostly the non horror selections. We did have some films that were strictly forbidden to ever be played in the store in front of the public. But, we did play them while closing and opening the store. One hour per each was just what the doctor ordered. Luckily, I did work with a like minded person or two. This was interesting — when the two copies of Frankenhooker or Frankenstein Unbound came in, guess who fought over them?!

One of the duties of working there was calling up customers when they were severely overdue with their rentals. There were usually two groups: video games and horror films. I felt that I understood the horror renters on this one. It might not make sense to the average joe, but to some of us, it means a ton to watch Chopping Mall or Mausoleum, over and over again! I couldn’t blame them. We didn’t have streaming video to cue up a horror favorite at the snap of virtual, wireless fingers.

We had our regular customers, that waited for each week’s “new video release day!”  They were harmless, but I tell you, at times they meandered out in the parking lot like zombies. They groaned out,”Give us Steel Magnolias! We want Julia Roberts!”

The regulars had clerks that they wanted to  deal with. We had customers that wouldn’t set foot in the store if their favorite wasn’t there. Yes, I had my share of customers. Mostly older women that loved my undying politeness. What was I, 19 or 20—so anything over 25 was older, then.

The chain of stores was bought out by Blockbuster at some point. It was a fun gig at the time. In fact, two of the girls I worked with back then stuck with the job, through the buyouts and became some type of managerial people (regional managers, I would imagine) within Blockbuster.I wonder what the rest of the crew is up to?!
Until next time, Maniacs…
Be Kind, Rewind.

Monstermatt Patterson
Monstermatt’s Bad Monster Jokes Vol.1
Monstermatt’s Bad Monster Jokes Vol.2
The Monstermatt Minute

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