Thursday, July 20

Local video outlet relies on unconventional late fees to punish tardy renters.

Heath, OH, — Heath resident Brad Webb is learning a harsh lesson in timeliness, thanks to the efforts of local video rental house Eastern Blocbuster.

Webb, a movie buff and longtime patron of the store, has been sentenced to two years hard labor in a gulag-style work camp on the corner of Irving Wick Drive and Amber Lane. His crime? Returning the Andrei Tarovsky sci-fi classic, Solaris, two days late.

"I love their selection ... Ivan Vasilievich Menyaet Professiy, Dvenadtsat, Beloe Solntse Pustyni — you aren't going to find those anyplace else. I mean, you walk into Family Video and ask for Pokolenie and they look at you like you're nuts. They point out some crap like The Battleship Potemkin. Please. I watched that in the fifth grade."

Webb was accepting of his sentence. "Rules are rules for a reason. You can't defy the state."

The store's dreary, grim facade belies the commerce generated inside. Several Heath citizens were even unaware of its existence.

"They rent DVDs?" exclaimed surprised resident Lisa Platzsky.

When informed that the majority of Eastern Blocbuster's inventory was in Betamax and Laserdisc format, Platzsky shrugged and walked away.

Not everyone is a fan of Eastern Blocbuster's harsh practices. Longtime rental 'dissident' Chris Stolz, originally assigned to a labor camp on the west side of Heath, smuggled out several written tracts criticizing the store's late fee policies and Piatiletkas — five year economic plans for growth.

Stolz's whereabouts are currently unkown.