Firstly, this is what it’s marketed as:
“Answering needs for improved cost efficiency and prevention of tampering, the One-Time™ CD cases feature a totally new internal locking mechanism, along with double overlapping walls that seal the entire case. The One-Time™ CD cases allow for quick and effortless unlocking procedure at checkout and they protect assets and EAS/RFID tags as neither consumers nor internal staff can open it. The cases open with low-profile, small-footprint intelligent key for a large variety of retail products. Red and green color coding clearly signals whether case is open or locked. Optional snap-in disc tray for holding an additional CD disc is available.”
While the above statement sounds great, like most things in life that sound too good to be true, nine times out of ten they are and the ‘One-Time’ Security Case is no exception. Mr Video, the largest movie rental franchise in South Africa has decided (in all their wisdom) to start using these cases instead of the vastly superior older generation security cases that the business has been using for years. My question is why?
The idiots at Mr Video HQ don’t seem to have a clue about how ineffective and shoddy these new cases really are. As a customer (and I’m not alone in this) I can’t recall how many times these devices have lead to rage and frustration. I’m going to break down the marketing bullshit into a neat bullet-ed list that debunks all their lies.
- “Improved cost efficiency and prevention of tampering” – At roughly R9.50 ($1.20) these cases are not cost effective in any way, generally they’re sold to Mr Video store owners in boxes of one hundred, that’s R950 which is extortion especially if you’re trying to run a store that has several thousand titles and while you may be thinking “Yeah, but they’re lockable”, ‘lockable’ does not stop them from being tampered with, in fact the easiest way to bypass these cases is by taking a (not necessarily sharp) razor blade/box cutter and just slide it down one end of the spine where it creases, giving you complete access to the disc. Which leads me to my next point.
- “A totally new internal locking mechanism” – And poorly designed too, the biggest problem is that once they’ve been opened, they won’t necessarily stay that way. The security strips inside tend to fall into the locked position more times than I care to mention, and just to ensure that I wasn’t the only person experiencing this problem, I asked one of the clerks that I’m friendly with just to make note of whenever a film is returned locked. Not only that, the tags tend to jam in the cases and cannot be opened even with several swipes through the decoupler unit. “Quick and effortless unlocking procedure” indeed. Nothing more frustrating then getting home to discover that the security tags have slipped into the locked position.
- “The cases open with low-profile, small footprint intelligent key” – I did some research and went to quite a number of stores questioning staff members who were willing to participate in regards to the locking mechanisms and another frequent complaint was that oftentimes ‘intelligent keys’ were snapped or even removed completely, once this has happened the cases are rendered useless and even though the security strips are difficult to remove (without damaging them) many parents leave the boxes around in the reach of inquisitive children who break or remove them. The older generation of cases required you to remove the locks first before issuing them to customers.
These cases are also meant to be structurally superior in order to curb the frequency of damage. This is not true, the cases use a brittle, sub-standard plastic that shatter and break with little effort and the centre release mechanism that holds the discs in place now has four prongs instead of eight and if even one of them breaks the disc ceases to be held in place and moves and shakes around inside the cases, scratching the discs. Customers (myself included) generally struggle to open the cases once they’ve been opened as the locking mechanism sticks and you really have to use force to open them.
On the whole, I don’t even think there should be a need for any of these cases. The best method to employ would be a behind-the-counter system, whereby the films are stored behind the counter and not on the shelves like Mr Video’s. The covers remain on the shelves for the customers to see and and if they want to pick something they could bring perhaps some sort of token to the counter. A system like that would reduce shrinkage to zero, Mr Video stores are quite susceptible to theft, a sad reality and one that happens often. Perhaps Peter Scott (founder of Mr Video) should take some time from his ‘life of leisure’ and pay heed to these problems that persist.