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Carol Perkins: The Red Box

A sad story with a happy ending. How an innocent Grandmother ruse, a pretend call to McDonald's to ask why the Red Box had given her an empty box instead of the little boy's movie, prompted him to coach her, saying, 'And tell them you have a boy crying, too,' broke her heart, too, and no effort would be too great to get the movie.
The next earlier Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins: Just One More Time

By Carol Perkins

I am a frequent visitor to the Red Box at McDonalds. Even though I am a subscriber to Netflix, sometimes I want a movie when I want it, and the Red Box rental is only a dollar per movie.

The last time my Tennessee grandson came to visit, I rented "Marmaduke." We watched it a few times and I boxed it up and returned it. A few days later, I was dusting the dresser and under the TV was that movie. So what did I return to the Red Box?

I went to McDonalds to talk to the manager to explain what I had done and she said that she didn't have anything to do with the movies, and that if I wanted to straighten it out, to come by on Tuesday to try to catch the guy who filled up the machine. "The machine shouldn't have taken the box back if the movie or some movie wasn't inside." That's what I thought, but I have the movie and the box has a copy of Santa Buddies, I think. So if you think you are renting "Marmaduke" at the Red Box, you may be surprised.

Another Red Box episode happened after Christmas when all four of our youngest grandchildren were at our house at the same time. I promised them they could each rent a movie if they ate their burgers and fries. What I failed to realize is that a person can only rent two movies on the same credit card per day. Here I am with four movies chosen by four children and I can only rent two.

I decided that the oldest two would be the most upset, so I rented their choices and hoped the other two wouldn't notice. I was so wrong. When it came time for the movies, being shown simultaneously in two different rooms, the next in age wanted to know where his movie was. He was carrying around an empty red box because I had just put a movie in the machine. I used this chance to form a "story."

"Well, Joseph, look at that. They gave us a box with no movie in it."

He began a wallop of a cry that shook the house. His little heart was broken. The only way to get him to stop was to pretend I was calling McDonald's to tell them what happened. As I was holding the phone as if I were actually talking, he said, "And tell them you have a boy crying, too!" I promised him he would get his movie the next day.

Before juice and breakfast, he said, "Are you going to get my movie?"

With his cousins and so much to do, he moved away from that subject, but it would return. Around late afternoon, he said, "Have you forgotten my movie?"

Since Guy was going to the grocery store, he said he would get it, but the problem was none of us knew the title. "It has a fish and a submarine on the cover," I described. He came home declaring there was no such movie. I knew he wouldn't be able to find it. He will stand in front of a pair of shoes and vow they are not in the closet.

On the way to Glasgow to an actual movie later that afternoon, Joseph said again, "Are we going to get my movie now?"

"We'll get it on the way back. I promise." He kept talking about how we got a box with no movie. I felt badly that I had made up that story and tricked the boy, but he would not let it go. He was getting that movie or else!

Kids used to be easier to trick. Once they latch on to something, they don't let it go without a struggle, whether it is a toy in the check out line or a movie.

He fell asleep watching a little fish and a submarine and the New Year began with a satisfied boy.

This story was posted on 2011-03-06 05:31:00
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