The Popcorn Laws


Xtra-vision closed its 80 stores across Ireland four years ago

Via Reddit Ireland.

Xtra, Xtra!

Read all about it.

Ex-Xtra-vision staff recall popcorn snaffling, Golden Movie Ticket Pass madness and other oddities of working in the video rental behemoth.

Momalloyd writes:

‘Bringing home left over popcorn every night was a perk, until the audit department found out and lost their shit over it.

One of the stores I did cover shifts in had nearly everyone let go over that, even the manager. One guy was fired because there was security footage of him eating a single piece of popcorn as he was emptying the machine into a bin.

In the end the utterly useless union had to get involved to stop the madness, before it spread to other stores. Most people were offered their jobs back, but few took it.

Funny thing is, it was my store that was due to be audited that day, and for some reason they went to a different store first. So when they did get to our store and asked about the popcorn, we knew to shut our mouths.’

MorroCleawater writes:

‘it seemed every store had a different level of seriousness when it came to popcorn. I used to have a small box in the back for snacking away on throughout the day. We ran a quiet store though, although I expect every store was crazy quiet in those last few years.

The most fucked up shit my store had was when the company put quotas on pre-orders where every staff member needed to get 5 a day on the newest [insert generic AAA title here]. We only got about 10-15 customers in the store each day, and some staff only had 2-4 hour shifts.

If we didn’t make it “we’d be fired”. I obviously didn’t expect we would, but the stand-in manager at the time forced us all to fake pre-orders. He got in a lot of trouble for it iirc, but it didn’t matter when the whole company closed down like 3 months after.’

Richie131 writes:

‘I was let go for eating Xtravision popcorn! So were two other lads working in the same shop. I ended up taking them to the Labour Relations Commission on grounds of unfair dismissal, and I won. I always joke that I kicked em while they were down, they were already in receivership at the time.

Got a few grand out of them but I would’ve preferred to have my job back for the summer to be honest.. ‘

Momalloyd adds:

‘The whole concept of having to up sell confectionery with every sale was a totally unheard of. You would have up to six people working on a shift for absolutely no reason. You could just go into the music vault and pick out a CD to listen to. What a magical time.

That all came to an end when our DM found the stack of 100 loose CD’s in a pile by the sound system all scratched to shit.

Other dark times were when we were told we weren’t allowed tell a customer that a movie was bad. It was around the time they brought in the first Golden Movie Ticket Pass, the paper one. It was a disaster. They tried to force us to up sell them with no training. On top of that a local kid nicked a box of them from our store, and sold them outside.’


Balfe writes:

‘I once got into shit from the district manager after they reviewed security footage to discover me standing outside of the counter and watching practically an entire movie. Gotta admit, it was quite funny watching that footage in fast forward.’

Ah here

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16 thoughts on “The Popcorn Laws

  1. Micko

    I did a telephone interview with Xtravision for a contract position with them after their merger with HMV.

    During it I asked them what their plans were to counteract Netflix and would they be bringing out their own streaming platform?

    Needless to say I never got a call back

    1. goldenbrown

      well Micko I’ll give ye a good one
      back in 2005, when online Netflix was but a twinkle in some fellas head I worked in a team that pitched an identical streaming idea to their US owners…which got us laughed out of it

      I also remember the scam they tried to pull with XBox One


  2. Clampers Outside

    My favourite Xtra-vision moment was going into the shop, which I did maybe 4 times a week, that was opposite the old Dundrum Shopping Centre circa 1995/6 when I asked the most ridiculous of questions…

    “Do you have, em, oh, y’know that film with yer man in it?”

    The lady behind the counter named a movie…

    And I said, “yes, that’s it”. I turned immediately puice at realising what I’d asked, but we both laughed at her self getting it right.
    Still raises a smile today thinking of it :0)

    1. Slightly Bemused

      It was a pleasure when you got someone who really knew their topic, and their customers.

  3. Slightly Bemused

    I was really sorry to see them close. I spent many hours perusing the shelves looking for something to watch. And I have to admit that their sales of older stock has really boosted my DVD collection.

    Of course the down side to that is those that were ex-rental have an advert and the piracy video at the start that you cannot always skip past. So that is a good time to put the popcorn in the microwave :-)

    1. Oh...

      Local video shop had a deal where you could rent a movie and return it by 6pm for a euro, so I used to go in about noon and rent 5 or more dvds for a euro a piece, go home, rip the discs to hard disk and then return the dvds before 6pm. Was also able to skip those annoying mandatory notices. “You wouldn’t steal a car”, no, I wouldn’t steal a car, but if someone let me copy their car 1:1 for a fraction of the cost while they still get to keep their car, then yes, I’d do that.

      Only got questioned once by one of the older staff, “are you really going to watch 6 dvds in the next few hours?”. “Absolutely not, but I’ll rip the disks and return them before 6 as required”. I presume he then asked one of the younger staff what that meant.

  4. fez

    I worked in a chartbusters, and as long as nobody shat in the tanning booths it was a great place to work. A McDonalds cup was great for adding vodka to

  5. Walter Ego

    I once asked a staff member of Asian descent “Did they have The 40 year old virgin?”
    He went in the back and came back with a small card and handed it to me. I asked “What’s this?”
    He replied “A 40 euro voucher”. The customer beside me and i burst out laughing to the quizzical looks of the staff member.

  6. Chris

    Worked in Chartbusters. When I was like 17 or something. There would be a stocktake and the employees had to pay for any stock the customers didn’t return. I was too young to realise this was completely illegal but I was pissed about it. Dropped my €20 “missing dvd tax” in 1c and 2c on the manager’s desk the next day. Jumbled up of course.

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