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It looks like Redbox is finally addressing one of the biggest concerns expressed by it’s customers in recent months – slow returns. There has been a lot of speculation on ways to do this over the past year or so – adding a separate return box/slot, or allowing a return while someone is browsing for a movie.

It looks like Redbox has decided against these options, and is going with something that they believe will be even better. They are calling it the BoxButler.

According to the Redbox press release, “BoxButler is an innovative new way to ensure our customers get the best service possible, without having to wait in long lines or deal with full kiosks that slow down the return process. With this new system, we have reduced the return time to just 2 seconds.”

The system is quite simple really – Redbox will add new employees whose sole job will be to be stationed at each Redbox kiosk and take the returned discs from customers. They will then return the disc to the kiosk when it is not busy or full, completely ending any wait time for customers returning discs. It also has the added benefit of speeding up the rental process, since customers coming to rent movies will no longer have to stand in line behind those just there to return their discs.

Overall the system sounds really cool, and to get more details I called Redbox and was put in touch with Ms. Deferst, the VP of Customer Happiness (I know, cool job title, right?). She filled me in on all of the details, and I must say, I am very impressed. The transcript from our call is below.

IR: Thanks so much for taking my call. I was just notified about your new BoxButler service, and had a few questions for you to clarify some things and get more details for my readers.

AD: No problem, Michael. We are very excited about this new service and really hope we can save our customers time and make their experience with Redbox a better one.

IR: Yeah, it does seem like a great service – one that has been needed for awhile. With the popularity of Redbox increasing so much, returns have been a big issue for those in the Inside Redbox community, and I assume this extends to many Redbox customers.

AD: For sure, Michael. We get quite a few calls and emails that revolve around people having problems with returning their discs due to full machines and long lines. We really think BoxButler solves all of these issues.

IR: Great. My first question is one of logistics. It seems like adding a new employee for every Redbox kiosk is quite the task, and could be very expensive. How exactly is this going to work?

AD: That’s a great question, and the answer is one we are really proud of because not only are we going to be serving our customers, but we are going to be helping those who are recently out of a job and looking for work as well. As you know, there have been quite a lot of layoffs recently, with more being announced all of the time. We wanted to soften the blow for many of the families affected by this so that they could meet their needs, too.

IR: Sounds good, so far…

AD: We are inviting all who want to apply to do so, but are specifically targeting recently downsized employees from our competitors such as Blockbuster, Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video. There are quite a few of these folks out there looking for work, and they have the added benefit of movie knowledge and may be able to help our customers in others ways other than just returns. In addition, we will also be looking for employees being downsized from the Postal Service due to the changes there with our “Gone Postal? Go Redbox!” campaign. It is all very exciting.

IR: Wow, that is quite the plan. I love the idea of you saving jobs and making the best of a bad situation, especially considering some of the criticism Redbox recently received over the closing of the Downers Grove call center.

AD: Exactly. We want to make it right, and continue to do our part in this difficult economy.

IR: That is very noble. I do hope it works out. What is the pay going to be like for these positions? Will there be any other duties as well?

AD: There will not be any other duties associated with these positions, as we want to keep things as simple as possible. The job will simply consist of being there to handle the returns and put them back in the box. For those with movie knowledge, they will be able to answer some customers’ questions if the need arises. We are also excited to announce that these employees will be able to watch all of the Redbox movies they want for no cost, as well.

IR: Wow, very cool. Everyone loves free movies, that is for sure. So, how do folks apply for this position?

AD: That is another point of innovation in this process – there is no need to apply at all. To get started, all those who are interested need to do is go down to their nearby Redbox kiosk and start taking customer returns right away. (update: read all the way to the end for full details.) All we ask is that they wear a solid red shirt (and/or jacket, depending on the weather), and that they choose a location where there is no other BoxButler present. And, that’s it. From then on, they will be part of our BoxButler program and receive all of the Redbox movies they want to watch, free of charge. Great, isn’t it?

IR: That does sound very innovative, indeed. Faster returns, saving jobs, and free movies – a lot of people are going to be really happy about all of this. I will share this with my readers right away. Thanks so much for your time, April.

AD: My pleasure, Michael. I look forward to talking again soon.

And there you have it. Redbox is doing it again, changing the way the industry works and helping others in the process.

I want to thank April again for her time, and I hope this service works out. If you are interested in a BoxButler position, you can get started right away by following the instructions above too bad because it is NOT real!

What do you think? Do you like this new way of doing returns? Is there an even better way? Be sure to share your comments below, and let us know your experiences with BoxButler at your local kiosk.

[If you haven’t realized it by now – yes, this is a joke. Happy April Fools Day 2010!]

203 Responses to “Redbox to Speed Up DVD Return Process, Save Jobs”

  1. Member [Join Now]

    As far as the Box Butler goes.Good Idea but not pratical.Redbox needs to reconfigure the box in the future. Returning customers can return their DVDs at the side of the machine while others renting or picking up won’t be disturbed. This way the machine can perform two functions at once.

    • Member [Join Now]
      Cypherdude [cypherdude]

      Yes, I agree that there should be 2 slots and 2 screens. 1 for renting and 1 for returning. However, Redbox would have to pay for R&D, and I think they’re probably already doing so, plus they would have to replace all of their machines. This would be very cost prohibitive.

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    Josh R [visitor]

    Um, so… Youre supposed to apply for the position by just going down to a redbox and take returns dressed as “someone-who-looks-like-they-might-work-for-redbox-but-also-may-just-want-to-steal-a-bunch-of-free-movies”?

    How do you get paid after spending 8 hours taking customer returns, for example? Very confusing.

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    Blaze [visitor]

    APRIL FOOLS……you all are. This is a joke and would never happen! SO STOP LEAVING COMMENTS THINKING THIS IS TRUE!!! lol Ignorance Is Bliss

    As for a separate return slot, I much vote for this option. Obviously this would require a new machine, complete rebuild of old ones or a new separate machine just for returns. On top of that only the true hot-spots of activity should need these initial return devices, as the old machines work just fine for returns as long as you don’t leave yourself less than 60 seconds from the point you exit your vehicle, preferably 5 minutes to allow time for 1 or 2 customers to return or rent movies. Not to mention you can always ask the people in front of you nicely if you can return your movie real quick (cause it takes 10 seconds) unless they’re trying to return one themselves and there’s limited time left until 9pm.

    Ultimately instead of dealing with all that just put more redboxes in the hot-spots of renting/returning activity and your problem is fixed. Other than that. REDBOX ROCKS! GO REDBOX!

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    adelmar [visitor]


  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    Erik N [visitor]

    I like this idea.

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    J. Dudley [visitor]

    LOL – I fell for it last year but this year I think I will go in another direction. I pledge to devote 1 hour a month as a Redbox Butler (providing RB will throw a free rental my way every month). I challenge every hard core RB fan to do the same! Let’s work together to make the Redbox Butler a reality!

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    tiffany [visitor] guys fell for that?? seriously???

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    Stephanie [visitor]

    Thanks for waisting about 10 minutes of my time.

  9. Visitor [Join Now]
    Joe [visitor]

    I do think redbox could come up with some kind of “redbox butler points program” where say you sign up on the redbox website and they can run a background check on you to make sure you don’t have a history of theift and then they send you a points loadable credit card in the mail where say everytime you return a dvd you get a point added to your card. Return atleast 15-20 a week for people and get a free rental code emailed to you. You would have to build a trusting relationship with the redbox customers but it could work.

  10. Visitor [Join Now]
    Shellie B [visitor]

    I am so disheartened by your pitiful attempt at an April Fool’s Day joke. You can bet I’m unsubscribing. Not funny, not even amusing.

  11. Visitor [Join Now]
    tara [visitor]

    this is soooooooo not cool…… i thought somehow if u could make this work without stealing the movies it would be a good idea who knew it was all an fn joke…. you got me….

  12. Visitor [Join Now]
    Tim [visitor]

    As they said in the movie “Mama Mia”: “Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke.”
    – – – –
    After all, it is [was] April 1st – April Fools day, wasn’t it?
    And, are people going to quit using Microsoft products because
    they didn’t the $10,000 from forwarding emails for tracking?
    … C’mon, guys – grow up!

  13. Member [Join Now]

    It was an April fools joke. Geeez people, where is your sense of humor. You all are going to die young if you don’t laugh every once is a while.

  14. Member [Join Now]

    I’m sure michael doesnt give a s$*# about your feelings or “unsubscribing”
    He made this website as a service to all us cheap bastards and look what has happened, just like every thing else in the world…..

  15. Visitor [Join Now]
    kimheid [visitor]

    You got me, lol, I was thinking come on now, u know how many peoples cards will be charged for movies that never got returned, LOL, good one!!!

  16. Member [Join Now]

    SO was delaying the email notification THREE DAYS an attempt to disguise this obviously transparent joke?

  17. Visitor [Join Now]
    Mary [visitor]

    No! I do not think it is good idea to give someone a tape that i want to return, I feel it to be SAFE knowing I put it in the machine and have a receipt sent to me in email…

  18. Visitor [Join Now]
    Michelle [visitor]

    Thanks for the joke and the great job you do with the site. Mine was in my inbox on April Fools Day!

  19. Visitor [Join Now]
    ian [visitor]

    the box buttler is a crazy idea . as one said above you could be giving your movie to some one that dont even ” work ” for red box then what YOUR STUCK PAYING FOR THE MOVIE OR MOVIE”S . i think a second box just for returns would be great but it has to be linked some how to the rental box so that a movie that is in it can be rerented and just come out the returns box instead of the main ” if its not in the main box ” . this can be accomplished by a simple usb connection or even eithernet cable thats made to be out side ….. that way it wouldnt require much if any mod’s to the main redbox and reduces the down time to install the new box on site …..

  20. Visitor [Join Now]
    Steve [visitor]

    If they would fix the return problem I might switch back to Redbox from Blockbuster Express.

  21. Visitor [Join Now]
    Bob [visitor]

    Also apparently no one noticed that the VP’s name was April Deferst.

  22. Visitor [Join Now]
    connie [visitor]

    LOL….Funny but I knew it was an April Fools from the beginning. I do like the notion for a box on the side for return. Especially for kiosk’s that are outside. When it is cold or raining it really sucks waiting in line just to return and sitting in your car waiting can be a bummer cuz people come up and get in line. I hope that redbox will consider an alternative for returning.

  23. Visitor [Join Now]
    MovieBuff [visitor]

    Just drop them off at my house. I’ll stand in line and return them for you after I’m done with them.

  24. Visitor [Join Now]
    Bear1k1 [visitor]

    Nice, I am close to retirement, I would not mind being a redbox butler, just as long I would not have to wear a red bowtie

  25. Member [Join Now]

    HMMM I have never seen a busy or full Redbox, where I couldn’t return a movie. Although I wouldn’t mind doing this on my days off.

  26. Visitor [Join Now]
    Roger King [visitor]

    I’m never in that much of hurry. Although employing more people in this day and economy is a service to everyone. Thanks

  27. Visitor [Join Now]
    Suzanne [visitor]

    April fools joke aside, I can tell you that I am really getting fed up having to wait in line just to return a movie…and it seems I always get behind someone with 3 snotty nosed screaming kids that have no idea which movie they want to see so of course they have to scroll through the entire movie index not just once but several times (and the parent always seems to think this is “cute” or at least normal and is oblivious to the people getting angrier behind them).
    The last time I returned a movie however, was the absolute worst experience. The area where I live has only 2 redbox locations within the zip code, (17112) with only 1 of those an outside location. Easter Sunday night I waited in a line of no less than 15 people just to return a stinking movie!!! Arrrrrrgggghhh!!! :(

  28. Visitor [Join Now]
    cooldru2 [visitor]

    That was not cute or funny. There will be someone who will leave their movies with someone dressed in red and end up paying for a movie that has never been returned. Redbox could post a sign on the box that suggest that those allow the people to return their movies first. That’s just redbox courtesy. They may have the movie that they are looking for anyway. Red box is not being fair. When I used my code to rent a movie . My grandson could not use the code with his card to get his free movie . Even with a different credit card we use different emails. I think if they encourage you to share the code with other people why not with family?

  29. Visitor [Join Now]
    Deborah [visitor]

    Wow! What a waste of 5 minutes of my life–April fool’s. But, what a good idea!! Should I get my red shirt out and go down to the local kiosk and stand there and collect all the movies I want to watch for free????? I could pretend to be the new redbox employee and take all the movies and watch them and return them at my leisure (or not all all)–sound like a plan???? I bet there are a lot of stupid people out there (in a rush) that would hand over their movie to someone posing as a redbox employee. Too bad I am not into anything illegal.

  30. Visitor [Join Now]
    kevin [visitor]

    I dont think this is funny someone will not realize this is a joke and leave thier movies with some one and be taken and it seems like redbox could have thought of this problem before in the r&d before the program was released and fixed the machines to acccept more than one customer at a time , not smart buisiness on redbox behalf , seems they wernt thinking before they released the program

    • Member [Join Now]

      Oh just think of all the times i’ve come up to a kiosk and found a
      return DVD sticking half way out!!!
      ( Some poor mother who was in a hurry or let her kids
      return it in the slot, and of course they put it in backwards);

      nonetheless, there sits a FREE DVD.

      I pull it out and look at the title,
      and if I have seen it I will put it back in the return slot,
      the right way, but, if not, well, sorry “mommy in a hurry”
      it’s going to cost you another nights rental;

      (I am honest and will always return it;
      I always think about if this had happened to me
      and I was out $20 some odd dollars)

      But, I think of those people who aren’t honest,

      and just KEEP it?

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        Terry [visitor]

        “I pull it out and look at the title,
        and if I have seen it I will put it back in the return slot,
        the right way, but, if not, well, sorry “mommy in a hurry”
        it’s going to cost you another nights rental;

        (I am honest and will always return it)

        But, I think of those people who aren’t honest, and just KEEP it?

        Lumin, you think watching a movie at someone else’s expense is being honest? I hope this is an April 8th joke.

        Of course, maybe you could just keep the movie. After all, it you don’t take it, some thief might!