What's that? You have a late library book? No need to punish yourself over your 3rd grade reading level. It's totally understandable. You have an overdue DVD rental, too? Well, I'm sure all that estrogen splashed into your face like acid when you opened up that case for Mona Lisa's Smile. I have a few ways to con your way out of those late fees. Of course, we take no responsibility if this fails/gets you in trouble. It's not our fault that you suck at reading directions.—James Y Lee
This is the no-brainer answer in getting rid of your late fees. However, if you don't have a good personality, the likelihood of charming the cashier is close to nil. Oh, and "personality" is my codeword for "breasts." If you're a young guy, try to hone in on the older woman and act like their beloved son and set-off their motherly nature. And if you're a hot young girl, well, you should have to pay for your tardy rentals because life is too easy for you anyways.
Call it In
You've returned Office Space three weeks late. Are you fucked? Maybe. Most chain video stores have flaws in their systems and aren't connected. Do some research to check if you can pay for your late fee at another location. If the coast is clear, here's what you do: Call one of their branches that is NOT the store you rented from and got that hefty late charge. Chit chat with the person there and take note of their name. If you're super smooth, try to get a last name and position. Once you know that, let's say, Craig Glassman on their video store on Bush St works there, ring up the place where you returned that damn DVD and say, "This is Craig Glassman and I'm over on Bush St." They'll be all fake happy to hear from a coworker and ask you what you want. To give yourself some leeway, tell 'em it's your first day on the job. If it was me, I'd go about and ask, "can I get an account verification on James Lee?" and pretend I'm having an off-the-side conversation with myself. Then say, "He'd like to pay for his late fee here." Hopefully, this will get you away scott free.
Get it Checked Out Again
OK, this is probably the best way to make sure you don't get charged up the wazoo because we know your wazoo is very sensitive. When you have an overdue book or DVD, do not return it. Instead, sneak back in and place it back on the shelf. The security gates are made to only beep at you for sneaking things out of the place, not sneaking them in. Mosey on over to the shelf and put it back up there. This is what happens: When the next person goes to check it out, the computer will say that it never got checked in and read it as an employee error (they forgot to scan it in), then automatically clears the late charges. You'll want to make sure it's something that somebody will check out again in the near future, though. If it's a copy of The Bridges of Madison County (book or dvd), you may want to make sure somebody checks it out by borrowing a video/library card and doing it yourself. However, that is as far as I can go; I can't give you advice on how to live with the shame of your shitty taste in movies and books.