Another Hollywood Video Employee Contests Earlier Claims

A second Hollywood Video employee has written in to counter the claims made last week by an anonymous employee—he writes, “It sounds like whoever wrote in initially has a particularly evil district manager who is instituting his own policies,” and says that person should “go over his DM and talk to someone at corporate.” But for the rest of us, what matters is that “The EW [magazine subscription offer] never went away, they just stopped requiring employees to push it. They’re actively promoting it again. There’s no ‘silence is acceptance’ however, and we need to scan your credit card (an additional time) to activate the offer.”

Hi, I just read your article about Hollywood Video’s policies and most of it is flat out not true.  It sounds like whoever wrote in initially has a particularly evil district manager who is instituting his own policies.

1. Store level employees covering at other stores: This is pretty much retail chain standard, especially in chains with a small number of employees per store.  Hollywood video will reimburse mileage, you just need to fill out a form.  As far as write ups for refusing, must just be that district, it’s not policy.  

2. As far as the quotas go, yes and no.  At hire all employees are told that offering these things are “must see behaviors”.  They can, and will, fire you for not offering.  There are quotas for Playguard percentage (somewhere in the range of 1.5% for employees, and 5% total for the store, off the top of my head), though employees can’t be fired simply for failing to meet the number.  (You can’t /make/ people buy stuff)  Store Managers /can/ be fired if their store fails to meet the target two periods in a row.  

3. There is no policy that prevents employees from telling people the money from Playguard does not go to charity.  I will admit it is pretty shady to just stop donating the money however.  

4. Employees can’t remove late fees?  Weird, I did it this morning. This may be a policy local to a district if it was getting out of hand.  My best guess anyway.  

5. After 12 days the late fee does go to a separate screen, this has been true for a long time.  It’s not to frustrate and confuse people however, and employees see both screens when an account gets pulled up, so if a customer is confused it’s solely the fault of an incompetent employee.  The reason for the two screens is that after twelve days, only the store manager (or assistant) can remove or alter the late fee (IE you better have a good reason for being so late).  

6. Receipts don’t print for cash transactions that only have rentals or concessions on them.  This is just to save paper.  An employee can print one if it’s asked for.  

7. The EW thing never went away, they just stopped requiring employees to push it.  They’re actively promoting it again. There’s no “silence is acceptance” however, and we need to scan your credit card (an additional time) to activate the offer.

The conditions described by the previous tipster must be local, because I don’t deal with anything like it.  I’d advise he go over his DM and talk to someone at corporate.

“Is Hollywood Video Bringing Back “Silence Is Acceptance” Magazine Subscriptions?”
(Photo: Sister72)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Parting says:

    Question : what is Playguard then ? If it’s not charitable donation any more….

  2. Kounji says:

    Once again this is a case of chains gone wrong. Retail needs a “hire intelligent managers” initiative.

  3. detraya says:

    playguard is insurance.. if you break a disk, you can return the pieces and its fine.

  4. Kajj says:

    @detraya: I wonder who that’s targeted at? “Yeah, I plan to be doing a lot of off-roading while I watch this DVD…” I know kids like to mess with electronics, but in my experience their capacity for damage with a DVD is limited compared to VHS in days of yore.

  5. durkzilla says:

    @Kajj: You don’t have kids, do you.

    My 6 year old son can render any DVD/CD unreadable in a matter of seconds.

  6. bloodhound96 says:

    I work at hollywood also, and yeah, there really isn’t much of a reason to get playguard. the only time i really recommend it is when renting xbox 360 games, because if you accidently move the xbox while the disc is spinning, it will cut a deep circular scratch into the disc, sometimes leaving it unplayable.

  7. kathyl says:

    and we need to scan your credit card (an additional time) to activate the offer

    Wasn’t there something in the other post about the tactic around this being “Oh, there was a problem scanning your card. Can I have it back to try it again?”

    Now, I’m a supremely suspicious person, but I honestly might not second-guess that, since it’s not completely uncommon for there to be a scanning error on a card, especially an older one, on the first try.

  8. As a former “Hollywood” employee I can safely say it is all “Half” true. Back in 2000 My district enforced a “No F10” policy which meant that we were not “allowed” to delete items from the transaction screen. There was not a “force field” around the keyboard keeping people from doing this. It was however a matter of position, meaning that us managers were allowed to do this if the “CSR” could not talk their way out of a situation. This trickled into the late fee area where it was an unofficial policy that only managers could delete, again as a last resort. Bottom line, all policies that come down from corporate are obscured by the chain of command. Wether its a nasty DM or a lazy Shift Leader, it is Managements job to enforce policies as they see fit. I was a horrible employee. Bias as the day is long. Nice people got breaks on late fees and jerks had to pay. It is a corporate Mandate that you do everything you can to get people to pay late fees, but it comes down to demographic. Case in point, in an “inner city” store you have to make sure everyone is not stealing and not worry about promos and fees so much, whereas in the suburbs you are REQUIRED to push the bundle and whatever current promo all in the same breath. As a Manager you MUST own a car and be willing to go work at any store in you district at a moments notice. Yes, to be reimbursed for travel you can file a form, but my may have to dispute this bases upon district budget, if you can even get your hands on the form. I’m certain that someone will dispute my claims here. When and if, all I have to say to you is … Enjoy the windbreaker, it will not fill the whole in your heart. Nor will all the booze.

  9. TechnoDestructo says:

    “though employees can’t be fired simply for failing to meet the number. (You can’t /make/ people buy stuff) Store Managers /can/ be fired if their store fails to meet the target two periods in a row.”

    So employees can’t MAKE people buy stuff, but managers can? You don’t think some managers are going to ensure that, as the saying goes, shit rolls downhill?

    “There’s no ‘silence is acceptance’ however, and we need to scan your credit card (an additional time) to activate the offer.”

    So you’re going to start having this happen more often:
    “Hmm…that’s odd, the credit card didn’t go through. Let me try it again. Ah, that’s got it.”

  10. edosan says:

    It’s hard to blame a lot of this stuff on the employees — they’re just doing what their manager makes them do, who is in turn being made to do it by corporate.

    Don’t get in some seventeen-year old’s face because they’re asking of you want an add-on. Call the corporate office and complain.

  11. grimparrot says:

    I work for Game Crazy, which is part of Hollywood Video, and please note I certainly don’t speak for the company, but in my personal opinion calling the must see behaviors a quota is really off base. We are required to offer everything to every customer. High pressure sales is actively discouraged in every training session Ive been in, and the company encourages a much more “soft sell” relationship/meet the needs of the guest approach. The store managers can be disciplined up to and including termination for failure to hit certain metrics, but the minimum performance levels are so low in order to not hit those numbers you have to not even be offering the product.

    No corporate policy can make employee dishonesty go away, but if something unethical like a “silent acceptance (company policy mandates that the customer knowingly buy any service or product)I would encourage you to call Hollywood corporate and report it. I’ve never worked for a company that takes calls to corporate more seriously.

    I love the consumerist for the most part, but sometimes it seems you guys post any crap some disgruntled employee or someone who worked for a company years ago says, and just throw it out there. How about asking the company for their side of it first? Or perhaps a story about the AWESOME things we at Hollywood/Game Crazy/Movie Gallery do in our neighborhoods? I love working for a company that not only encourages but actually *requires* that I be involved in my community.

  12. @edosan:

    Hai! 私はもっと感謝する同意できなかった

    This can never be said, written or typed enough so I will quote it.

    “Don’t get in some seventeen-year old’s face because they’re asking of you want an add-on. Call the corporate office and complain.”

  13. arachnophilia says:

    i used to work hollywood video, but that was a long time ago and before the magazine thing. however, i can verify that what was said above about requiring employees to offer whatever deal is on, upsell, etc is quite valid. and somewhat dependent on the DM. store managers and DMs do indeed have quotas to fulfill, and this does affect their personal end-of-year bonus. as do voided late fees. and, well, anything that goes on there, actually. inventories, losses, everything. it’s all a great “pass the work down, pass the money up” kind of system. the SMGR is rewared for good performance of his employees, and so depending on that manager, there could be a lot of pressure on employees to sell-sell-sell.

    the structure of the system, and all that pressure, can and does encourage a lot of dirty things to happen within company, most of which the customers will probably never see. some of best managers i had at that company, well loved by customers and good to the employees, were fired for really stupid reasons. some of the worst managers i’ve ever had, period, remained in the company for years because their cheating and manipulation of their numbers saved the company money.

    re: #1: i never got written up for refusing to cover shifts at other stores, which i very frequently did. i worked where i did because it was walking distance from my house, and “i don’t have a car” is a good excuse. :D

    re: #4 and #5: yes, your lowest level employee can indeed void out late fees, at least on that first screen, and at least from what i remember. the second screen, however, needs a manager password to void. though if memory serves it can be bypassed? i forget, it’s been years. either way, the two screens can and will cause confusion, especially with newer employees who will give you the first total, and then “oh, wait, there’s more.” this always, always leads to disputes and unhappy customers. they’re using some of the worst designed software out there. when a customer get’s told “i can’t” it’s almost always because the store manager has told them to say that so they void fewer fees, and because the store manager wants to be able to control what gets voided. it’s more of a “my manager doesn’t want me to have that authority” response.

    re #6: i’m glad they changed that, actually. hollywood is still using dot-matrix cog-wheel printers from the 70’s. they’re horrible, noisy, and screw up more often than not. and they wasted paper. we had a particularly awful one that once replaced, we… well, you’ve seen office space.

  14. jspeed04 says:

    As a Hollywood employee, some of the things from the previous post are all determined by your DM. Things like being required to work at any other store, that really has to do with your store manager. If they have no one else to work for them you cannot be required to work at another store, also their store manager has to call and ASK first, and yes, you will be reimbursed and if not, that’s when you call corporate.

    Playguard is not worth it for guests save for those who rent Xbox 360 games, or those who have children that view movies on their own. Yes, Xbox 360 games do get broken all the time, and kids can f up discs in mere seconds, trust me.

    As for the ability to delete late fees, yes, GSRs can delete fees at the discretion of the manager, if they give all employees what are known as “rights”, but that is something that employees should use good judgment when doing. You should have a good reason as to why you shouldn’t pay fees when everyone else does, and it’s in the TOS.

    But yes, Hollywood does have some very conflicting ideas of how it should be run, and consequently, that is why the company is going through some VERY tough times.

  15. PinUp says:

    I’m guessing that Hollywood Video is much like the rest of the retail industry in that “policy” often varies depending on the location, the manager, the employee. In ((almost)) any situation where you’re not happy, you’ll get much farther by asking for the manager and making your case like a civilized adult than by jumping down the throat of the minimum-wage-earning kid at the counter. Even if the manager turns out to be yet another MWE kid with no interest in your plight, be the bigger person and move on to contact the corporate office with your complaint; the rest of us behind you in line don’t care to listen to you have a temper tantrum.

    ..and if you didn’t return your movies on time, just pay the fee already.

  16. chrisjames says:

    #2 is kind of confusing. How do you require a 1.5% upsell quota on employees, but then demand a 5% quota on the store? If you’re firing managers over the 5% figure, I guarantee you they’re firing employees over it too. I’d also wager that that was corporate’s intention with the policy.

  17. Zaos says:

    I worked there previously.

    1. I was asked to work another store once, in addition to reimbursement they also offered time and a half for every hour worked (in my district) and that was to shift lead/AM no regular.

    2. Yeah everyone has targets they want to meet. I believe our target was 10% on bundles on friday/saturday or you get a talkin too. My guys were usually pretty good about it on fri/sat/tues, other days are rough.

    3. wasn’t there for playguard.

    4. can’t remove latefees? i used to do it all the time – and i had someone remove some this weekend for me

    5. yeah if something is really late it goes to a different screen, common sense why is your movie 2 weeks late?

    everytime something like this “list” comes out you have to take it with a grain of salt that its just not some pissed off customer. only true way to verify something along those lines is verify it from within the company. verify their email address or get a public statement.

  18. Rbastid says:


    With all my experiances the ones that had stupid managers (Suncoast) are now dead and gone. This is how the market needs to work, idiot managers = closed stores.

    Two best places i’ve worked (out of 3 total retail) were Gap and Gamestop, both places did everything very well, they also protected the customer and employees well, or atleast gamestop did when I was there, now it seems they treat customers like shit. But both hired the best they could and they both are tops in said industry.

  19. OldHVEmployee says:

    As for mileage reimbursement—it’s a hassle. Most employees never get it or they have to wait three months or seriously bug corp to get their money back. It amounts to crap with today’s prices anyhow.

    I know of a manager that it took nearly a year to get reimburseed for mileage.

    The EW never went away as the person claims. They just didn’t “force it” again until recently.

    As for a responder who said scan your card. There have been many times when the card didn’t read or the transaction didn’t go through. This happens for a variety of reasons. The majority of which is not a malicious or scam attempt.

    I would *never* scam a customer to just make my quota. Nor would most employees.

    What you do is, is you get your friends and family to buy it. Get the issues and then cancel it after the 8th issue.

    HV and MG employees are expendable. Always a college kid looking for some cash.

    I did it for 14 years and all I got was a lousy $1 extra for closing the store down and given a pat on the back with a “see ya later.” Not that I would have continued to work for the company. I had not intention of staying anyways. But still, 14 years of service is at least worth something, don’t you think?

  20. OldHVEmployee says:

    I should also mention the reward “program.” You store wins a contest. The store manager gets the kudos. The employees get a shout out. Heh. Justice.