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In just a few short years, Redbox has gone from a quirky little afterthought of consumers’ McDonald’s visits to one of the major players in the movie rental market.
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It has bartered and battled with titans of the movie industry, and had its share of both victories and setbacks. Through it all, the concept has remained elegantly (and maddeningly to some) simple: rent a DVD for a buck a night.

My introduction to Redbox came in late 2005 or early 2006 when the McDonald’s down the street from me installed one of the red kiosks. My brother had been raving about how he and his wife had been getting movies cheaply (or for free) from these boxes that I’d been seeing at a few McDonald’s stores, and I decided to give it a try.

I had been getting into the TV show House, and wanted to catch up on the first season, which I had missed. It cost me all of $3 to rent the entire season on DVD from Redbox, and I was hooked on this cheap, convenient new way to rent movies. The same number of rentals would have cost me $15 from Blockbuster, which would have been about half the cost of purchasing the DVDs outright. I later did buy the discs, something I probably wouldn’t have done without my cheap Redbox “preview.”

And so it goes. I still find myself constantly picking up a movie from one of the ten or so Redbox kiosks within a few miles of my house. Yes, the codes aren’t flowing as freely as they once did, but the value proposition remains superb.
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I’m really looking forward to when my local Redboxes start stocking Blu-rays, and am cautiously optimistic on what Redbox can do to keep pace with its streaming and subscription competitors.

Over to you, Insiders. What was your first experience with Redbox? What got you started, and what has kept you visiting Redbox’s ever-increasing army of kiosks? Take a few minutes and share your first Redbox experience in the comments.

23 Responses to “(R)editorial: Your First Redbox Experience”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Farva [visitor]

    I’m all for the site being cleaned up some as long as you two above are part of the “few others”.

    And with regards to my first Redbox experience I remember seeing my first kiosk about 3 years ago and saying to myself, “Who is actually going to rent movies from some machine sitting outside?”

    Apparently a lot people, myself included.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Farva [visitor]

      Apparently the first two comments on this thread were deleted…making my “I’m all for the site being cleaned up some as long as you two above are part of the “few others”. “comment look like I am talking to myself. Ha.

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    nailedher [visitor]

    my first experience i was 14 she was 16. she let me hit her right in the redbox then i rolled her on her stomach and got her in the flon. a night i will never forget.

  3. Member [Join Now]

    My “first time” (hehe) was in late 2006 when I saw a box in my local Shop n’ Save grocery store. I wanted to try the machine out because it seemed really cool. I remeber the first time I used it I rented two movies, Crank and the awful Employee of the Month. At first, I was unsure about Redbox. I always liked the video store because of the experence of renting movies that it brings. This didn’t stop me from using the machine, however. Thanks to Redbox, I haven’t stepped inside of a video store in a while. I used to go to a couple of local non-Blockbuster video stores as well as Redbox, but they eventually closed. (How I miss Iggle Video :(.) I do still miss the experence of the video store (the experence was best when VHS was still around) but now Redbox is a great part of my life!

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Yinzer [visitor]

      Iggle Video [Giant Eagle’s video rental department]

      Fond memories. Was it $1.49 per night? I can’t remember.


  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    Robert [visitor]

    All I remember about my first time is that I booked online. So when I went to the machine, I saw the “online rental pickup” button, swiped my card, and got the movie. When I went to return it the next day, however, I must have put it in the slot the wrong way 3 or 4 times before getting it right. I felt like a total idiot, especially since I am quite tech savvy. Now any time I see someone in front of me struggling to return a movie, I smile. Yet I still think to myself, “What a moron.” :P

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    Rojas [visitor]

    My first experience was pretty bad in fact i stopped renting for about a month.

    first i don’t have a car and my Walgreen store is about 8 blocks away from my house,it was a new Redbox machine at the time, I went to the machine picked
    two movies and swipe my card, and got my movies, so far so good.

    But the next morning when i went to return the movies the machine was full.
    i dial the number to complain and was put on hold for 20 minutes.
    all they could do was to ofter a few free rental codes.
    and put in a work order for the machine….

    so that night hopping they have fixed the problem i went back to the machine
    only to find it was still full, On real…..

    the next day i went back after work, and this time there was a disc stuck in the slot inside the machine.

    At this point i jumped on the bus went half way across town and return it at a
    different redbox, that one worked, and that was it for me….for about a month.
    it was Netflix only.

    So about a month later i gave my local redbox a second try and been using it
    for a 4 months now with no return problems, looks like they got their act to getter.

    A small metal return box like the one Blockbuster express has would have been very helpful at the time…

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      justme [visitor]

      Blockbuster “express” does not have any “small metal return boxes”. You have to put it in the machine to return it just like Redbox. Unless you mean Blockbuster stores which is a whole different thing entirely.

  6. Member [Join Now]
    Joe LittleBear [joe-littlebear]

    I really get irritated when I have more than one movie to return,,,,waiting for all the bells and whistles to cease and to be allowed to insert another movie to be returned….why don’t Redbox modify their machines by incorporating a “box magazine” device which would take the movies immediately and stack them…allowing the customer to be on their way…or to rent more movies while the machine sorts and categorizes the returns at it’s own pace… The customer could just pop the returns into a slot,…like a mail box, taking only seconds ..then the machine could feed them back into the holding racks …taking whatever time necessary…

    • Administrator
      Michael [administrator]

      My Redbox has recently updated their interface, which makes the return process A LOT faster. Once you put the movie in it takes less than 5 seconds and pops up a “continue” button, which will allow you to browse movies and rent right away. Have you not see this change in your area?

      It also has buttons to filter “DVD” or “Blu-ray” (although I don’t have Blu-ray yet). Has anyone else seen this update? Perhaps I should shoot a video of the process and post it, unless someone else has already done so.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        Joe Littlebear [visitor]

        No sir, …… If there is such a machine in MY area,,,,it is a well kept secret… Most, if not all of the machines I regularly deal with, are so slow, that my washing machine changes cycles in less time… and, they lock the door on the return slot and will not allow another movie to be returned until it has gone thru all the bells, whistles, and screens….then it says “Your DVD has been successfully returned ” for about a half of a minute… If I have more than one movie to return,….I have found it less flustrating and time consuming to return one movie and drive a couple of blocks to the next machine while the first one is still ruminating…..

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        SeanDavid [visitor]

        Yeah but that still is no help at all if you are returning 2 or more movies. It says “continue”, you push it, the screen goes back to the beginning, you push “return” again and it says “just a moment…” or something like that. Still takes the same amount of time as always.

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jo Anne [visitor]

    I had a coupon for a free rental. When I went to the Shop ‘n Save I was nervous cuz I don’t handle machinery very well. Turns out the machine was being stocked at the time, so the tech gave me a lesson and I’ve been renting ever since with no bad experiences. I just wish the gas station next door would get one so I don’t have to go 4 blocks for my movies.

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    Michy [visitor]

    I had a problem returning the movie I first rented from Redbox. I swore it off for a while but have again returned as a once-in-a-while movie renter.

  9. Member [Join Now]
    indian wolf [indian-wolf]

    My first experience has been the recent “FREE” movie rentals for buying products from pepsi-cola and other companies. I was charged for each movie even though they were returned in time and I will contact each company to let them know redbox is stealing from them and robbing their patrons. Redbox sucks a big red pole and I will never use them again.This info will go out on every Veterans admin blog and warning I can find. DO NOT USE THE RIP-OFF REDBOX SCAM MACHINE!
    I can only hope that somehow some =one gets the idea that there is a FREE SUPPLY OF MOVIES IN EVERY BOX. These boxes are not strong. I watched one get refilled and a crow bar would probably pop it open easily and Krogers DOES close!!! Call it a scavenger hunt boys FREE movies is thge reward. GET THAT BOX OPEN!!!!!

    • Member [Join Now]

      when you use a code they have to validate the credit card you are using. the dollar charge drops off after you return the movie on time. that’s a VERY common practice. even some restaurants do that. if they didn’t authorize the card, people keen on stealing, which you obviously seem to be, would just take the movie and never return it. i take it you just starting using Redbox in the past couple of weeks since Monday was a promo day and the pepsi offer is still pretty fresh. had you taken the time to look at your bank statement before losing your mind, or perhaps just even…wait for it…CALL THEM AND ASK, you would know that. depending on your bank it can take a day or even 5 for the charge to drop.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      MovieBuff [visitor]

      “These boxes are not strong. …a crow bar would probably pop it open easily…”

      Sounds like you prefer the ATM to the drive up window as well.