Is Hollywood Video Bringing Back "Silence Is Acceptance" Magazine Subscriptions?

An anonymous disgruntled employee sent us a long list of complaints about Hollywood Video, which can be summed up with “we’re desperate to earn some money, so any tactic is fair game.” Among them is this gem.

The Entertainment Weekly scam is coming back.  Next week, the company is planning to roll out the EW “Free 8 issue, silence is acceptance” trial and force us to ask every guest if they’d like Entertainment Weekly.  This is a practice which requires 100 percent compliance, so they’re firing and writing those people up who aren’t asking, and cutting the hours of those who don’t get people to sign up for it.

Here are more of the tipster’s complaints, which may not upset those of you who haven’t worked in retail—but those who have will feel his pain:

  • Store-level employees are sometimes sent to cover shifts at other stores at the district manager’s request. They’re threatened with write-ups, reduced hours, or termination if they don’t agree. The employees aren’t reimbursed for mileage or gas, however.
  • Quotas are being stringently enforced on upsells including the $10.99 bundle, movie sales, late fees, and Playguards (rental insurance).
  • The Starlight Foundation no longer gets a cut of the Playguard fee (“The Playguards are pure profit to the company,” he writes), but employees aren’t allowed to mention that when pushing Playguard.
  • Late fees are no longer “tracked,” but dollars per ticket are, “so for people low in those numbers, forcing people to pay late fees is very helpful.” Employees can no longer remove late fees.
  • “If a guest returns a movie more than 12 days late, it goes to a separate screen, which serves to frustrate guests who believed that they’d paid all of their fees.  We’re basically allowed to keep them confused to a certain point, as long as they’re not outright lied to.”
  • “They’ve also stopped printing receipts in certain stores for certain purchases, so it’s beneficial for those who choose to shop there to make sure the transaction happens on their account rather than on the Cash Sale account (MR. CASH).”
  • And, finally, the magazine “offer” is supposedly coming back.

We don’t know if these complaints pertain to every store or just the one where our tipster works. For the most part, they sound like the sorts of things a company does when it’s desperately trying to generate revenue, so we’re not really that surprised. But the magazine offer? Really? Has that ever been well-received by a customer who didn’t expect to be signed up for it?

If you’re in Hollywood Video next week, let us know if you get the magazine offer.

(Photo: Sister72)

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