Now for a local take...
When I lived in Bellevue, I used to go to the Blockbuster across from the Wendy's right near GoAhead. Very convenient. But it sure felt like there was a late fee scam going on. It seemed that every single time I went there, someone in line ahead of me was being charged late fees. Most people feign a bit of indignance, then cough up the dough because there is usually a long line and they don't want to embarrass themselves arguing over over a few bucks. The system is designed to use social pressure and people's general discomfort of arguing to charge them an additional few dollars.
But this happened so often that I suspect that there was something else going on. So I made sure to never ever return movies late to see what would happen. Eventually, while renting a movie, I got the tap: "You have unpaid late fees..."
Thought to self: "HERE WE FUCKING WELL GO!", like an enraged Bigby in Trainspotting: pulls out knife, carves clerk's heart out of chest, and shows still beating organ to clerk with a witty, "No, I don't, actually."
Back in the real world, though...
I made a bit of a scene claiming that I most certainly did not have late fees. They gave me that deer in the headlights look and shrug and the infamous line, "... but the computer says..."
Oh. The computer says, does it? Well, those fancy computers are never wrong, are they?
The drone made me wait while they called up the floor manager (another, slightly older teenage drone) that gave me the same routine about the infallible computer, and all the while not one of them looked me in the eyes. I persisted in my claim and they eventually gave in. The manager drone said that they'd let it go this time, but that they made a note of it in the computer.
[ Side note: the way the people in the service industry refer to these 386 terminals, it's as if it was some all knowning vengeful deity, laying random smite upon the masses... ]
This was all done with a boatload of people standing behind me, making me feel like both a criminal for keeping a movie overtime, and a cheapskate for arguing about it.
I could never prove any conspiracy, and really, without the access to the actual source code running on THE COMPUTER, you'd never know if they were attempting to scam people by claiming their movies were late when they were actually returned on time. It would be so easy for someone to do if they were so inclined... choose:
Now add to the above, the fact that Blockbuster makes $300 million each year from overdue fees! Starts to look a little suspicious, doesn't it?
I now avoid Blockbuster at all costs and I use Netflix, but even that seems a little ridiculous: delivering digital content (DVDs, Games) on a physical media through the mail! Uh, hello! Internet, anyone?