Target + LA vs Pirates?

targetpirate.jpgLast weeks discussion about movie piracy makes my experience at Target in Culver City yesterday that much more interesting. Now at this point I’m still pretty skeptical of the whole situation because it was so weird, but this is exactly what happened. My birthday is this week and Caryn bought me a copy of The Departed on DVD. By accident she grabbed the full screen version, but thanks to the gift receipt I assumed exchanging it for the wide screen would be a simple swap. Not exactly. I took it back to the same store she purchased it at, still shrink wrapped and with all security seals in place. I explained the mix up and asked the woman if I could exchange it for the wide screen version. She explained to me that she would need to open the movie to verify that the DVD was still in the case and that I’d only be allowed to swap it out for the same film (wide screen was not a problem). I suppose it’s not entirely unthinkable that someone would buy a movie, swipe the actual movie, then go through the trouble of faking all the security seals and return the empty case to try and get their $15 back, but it seemed like a lot of work to me. However, once she got it open she only looked to see if there was a disk in there. If I’d gone through the trouble of faking all the security seals, I probably would have a DVD printer as well. Anyway… She told me to go get the other one and come back to her.

I walked over to the movie section, grabbed the wide screen version, and was back at the desk in under 60 seconds. The same woman I’d just spoken with took the new DVD from me and explained that she would need to open it to verify that I hadn’t swapped the DVD with another movie. That’s right, I was being suspected of running over to the movie section, grabbing two movies, opening them both, swapping the disks, faking all the security seals and re-shrink wrapping a box to bring up to her, in under 60 seconds. I asked if they’d ever caught someone trying to make that kind of a swap and she said no. Since this whole thing had really sparked my attention I asked if this was official Target policy or just something they did at this store and she told me that it’s just an LA thing. Because, and I’ll try and quote her on this “so many people pirate movies so much here because of Hollywood we have to be extra careful.” Ah. Right. Because of Hollywood. Since she’d just told me they’d never caught anyone trying to pull this specific switch out she was working so hard to protect against I pressed a little further.

“Really? Lots of pirates buy movies at stores here in LA?”
“yeah, lots”
“But you’ve never caught any of them?”
“well, no, because we’re so careful about it”
“So this is more of a preemptive measure?”
“We don’t support piracy”
“ok, thanks, bye”

12 Replies to “Target + LA vs Pirates?”

  1. I dunno, if it’s this big of a problem, I think I’d want to actually open the DVD case in front of them, pop it into a DVD player there at the store and make sure that it was a real copy of the movie. You know, because of Hollywood.

  2. If I didn’t know you, I wouldn’t even believe this story. It is THAT RIDICULOUS.

    …Actually, I’ve spoken with local Target employees. Never mind.

  3. I regularly load up eleven or twelve discs from different movies into one DVD case then replace (very carefully) the security seals and re-shrink wrap the case. I do the deed in the shrink wrap sealers department.

    Then I pirate the hell out of these PsOS. Typically I pull in $10,000-$15,000 doing this. You might think that with such a profit I wouldn’t add to the risk by stealing a dozen or so movies from Target. But it does keep a couple hundred bucks out of my expense column.

    Thanks for the tip about the Culver City store. Usually I’m at the one on La Brea and Santa Monica. No problems there.

  4. Maybe she meant that a lot of Hollywood people get on Target’s case, and so, they implement these pointless rituals to appease their security-ignorant customer base. Because if anyone really wanted pirated movies, they could get them for $5 all around town, and, usually, they are the movies about to be released in the theaters.

  5. Well, to each their own but I thought the movie rocked and saw it 3 times in the theaters. Any movie I can see my self wanting to watch more than once is worth buying.

  6. Not to get off topic… but can I just say that while the production values and acting were great, any movie that ends with a climactic shootout in a factory with catwalks and steam is a bit too “24” to be considered oscar-worthy?

    (not to mention the ringing “second mystery” cellphone)

    IMHO the original was a better flick, but granted it didn’t have Jack or the incomparable Ray Winstone.

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