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Although it lacks the nostalgia and some of the purity of the video rental store experience, the convenience of modern streaming platforms cannot be understated. One of the many benefits afforded by streaming is that you don't have to worry about late fees on movies you rent. And while streaming is now the dominant force over physical media, there are still places where video rental stores endure, and thus have late fees. One man found this out the hard way, as he is now facing jail time or a hefty fee for a long overdue copy of the 2012 comedy Ted.
Lonnie Perry of Tulsa, Oklahoma rented a DVD copy of Ted way back in 2014 for around $5 or $6 on the way home from work. Shortly thereafter, he became homeless, and when he was packing up all his belongings, he threw the rented copy of Ted into a box and forgot about it. Recently he was abruptly and unhappily reminded of it when he received a phone call from the Rogers County District Attorney's Office and a letter in the mail. Forgetting about the DVD is proving to be a costly mistake, because now Lonnie Perry must pay $218.07. If he fails to pay it could result in a warrant being issued for his arrest. He has said that he doesn't have the money to pay it right now, but will somehow find a way to pay it if he isn't given any sort of leniency or forgiveness.
As KTUL-TV also reports, the video store says that they tried to get in touch with Lonnie Perry several times, but when they couldn't they passed his information off to the DA since the Ted DVD basically constituted stolen property. So now the hefty $218.07 will net the store $19 for the DVD itself and $25 in lost profits while $174 goes to the DA, in accordance with a state statute about unreturned movies.
Forgetting you have an overdue movie and late fees were one of the elements that soured people on the video rental experience and made streaming so appealing. Yet the stress of this situation pales in comparison to becoming homeless. While Lonnie Perry should have returned Ted so that others could enjoy its crass humor and Flash Gordon references, I'm guessing that wasn't his foremost concern when he no longer had a place to live. Obviously the video rental store has to recoup its losses, but hopefully there is some leniency or forgiveness and a payment plan can be worked out so that he pays the amount in full without it subjecting him to undue financial hardship.