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Casual Saturdays: How to Ensure that a Movie Theatre Employee Will Hate You (Or, What Not to Do at a Movie Theatre) June 7, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Casual Days, Other Random Stuff.
Tags: , , , , ,

Note: the following is supposed to sound like a documentary, so please imagine that you are hearing it in the stereotypical documentary narrator British accent voice.

Today, we are going to examine a rather odd creature: Homo Sapiens Movie Fanicus (henceforth referred to HSMF), who sometimes go by the name of Average American Movie-Goer. The HSMF are a rather stupid lot, as we will see evidenced by their actions in their native habitat, the Average American Movie Cinema. Before arriving to this habitat, an HSMF will usually attempt to find out what time the movie they wish to see is playing. Assuming the HSMF is up to date on current technology, they will usually look it up online. However, more often then not, there will be two theatres of the same name in the town, such as Bill’s Cinema North, and Bill’s Cinema South. Those who live on the South side of town will click on the listings for the North theatre (since it is listed first alphabetically) and find out the incorrect times for their movie.

Before arriving at the theatre, the HSMF will stop by the local feeding area (sometimes referred to as McDonald’s) and buy themselves a meal to take to the show. Upon arrival (approximately 1:30 PM), the HSMF will approach the box office and request a ticket for their 1:45 show. The cashier will then inform that the last showing for that movie was at 1:15 and the next show is not until 4:15. The HSMF will argue that “their website” said 1:45 and blame the cashier, who has no control over the correct website anyway, for getting it wrong. When the cashier shows the HSMF the page, printed directly from the internet, showing them the correct times for the South Cinema and then shows them their show time was for the North Cinema, the HSMF will insist what they saw was right, and say that paper must have been printed after they looked at the site. The disgruntled HSMF will then purchase the 1:15 ticket, knowing they’ve missed the first minutes of the movie, but not before taking the time to stop and complain about how high the movie prices are to the cashier, who once again has no control over movie prices. What most HSMFs fail to realize is that the electric bill for one month alone at most cinemas is more than the entire year’s salary of the general manager of the cinema. This does not include the many salaries, bills, and royalties that each cinema has to pay. Cinemas do not “rip their customers off” with high prices, they need those prices to make an understandable profit.

Of course, some HSMFs will not even take the time to look up any movie information before arriving at the cinema, and will simply arrive hoping to find a good movie and a convenient time when they get there. Approaching the box office, they will then ask the cashier to tell which movies are good, and a brief description for each (often giving disregard for the long line of customers behind them). This is of course making the assumption that the cashier has seen every movie simply because they are allowed to see movies for free. In order to watch every movie, the cashier would have to watch two to four movies every week. Of course, the cashier is just as busy as the HSMF and therefore has probably only seen two or three of the movies currently playing. When and if these HSMFs are able to find a movie they want to see, they will also complain about prices and purchase a ticket.

Then, there are the third group who know the show time of their movie, but do not know it’s proper name. For example, if one were to examine a group of HSMFs at the cinema today, they would hear thing’s such as the following: “Two tickets to that one movie that was made by that really famous director.” “Can I get a ticket to Raiders of the Lost Ark?” “Three tickets for Prince Narnia” (or Chronicles of Caspian, or once yours truly even heard a rather old woman ask for two tickets to “Prince Lesbian” oddly enough) “One for the Zoltan movie” “Can I have four to Karate Bear?” “One ticket for Metal Man” And the potential list goes on and on.

Once the HSMF has successfully made it past the box office (always a rather amazing feat, giving their often high level of stupidity) they will approach the concession stand. Here, the will be even more shocked by the high prices but proceed to buy food anyway, but not before complaining, once again, to this cashier about the “incredibly high prices.” They will then proceed to leave their straw wrappers on the counter despite there being a trash can only ten feet away from them.

Approaching the ticket taker (or “the gate” in cinema lingo), the ticket taker will ask them to throw away their leftover milk shake from the aforementioned McDonald’s. Despite there being several obvious signs on the front doors of no outside food being allowed, the HSMF will be very upset by this and ask for an exception this one time. The ticket taker will remain resolute in their decision, the HSMF will throw the shake away, and be very angry at the ticket taker for doing what is necessary to maintain his or her job. The HSMF will then reapproach the gate, only to realize that their ticket is in their back pocket, place all of their concession snacks on the gate, pull out the ticket, have it torn, be told where to go, and finally pick all of their snacks back up.

The HSMF, who was so disgruntled that they were not paying attention, will go into the theatre for the correct show, but the wrong show time, instead proceeding into the theatre which is already halfway through the movie. The HSMF will sit and watch for about five minutes before realizing this, then proceed out of the theatre, back to the gate, yell at the ticket taker for directing them to the wrong theatre, after which the taker will look at their ticket and once again direct them to the correct theatre. The HSMF will then finally proceed to the correct theatre, find a seat, and attempt to enjoy their movie.

At the conclusion of the movie, the HSMF, who hated the movie (the HSMF was too inept to research and find our the movie got horrible reviews), is angered at the high prices, and, in their eyes, the idiotic workers at the cinema, who caused them to be late, sent them to the wrong show, and did not tell them that the movie sucked, and will leave all of their trash on the floor and in the cup holders, and occasionally even spill their remaining popcorn on the floor, just to punish the cleaners of theatres for all the wrong things they have done, and for causing the HSMF to have a horrible movie experience (when in reality it is actually the entire fault of the HSMF.)


Okay, so I realize this was a little harsh, but as I have mentioned before, I work at a movie theatre, and experiences mentioned here are things that I see happen every day. Please remember that cinema employees are given crappy pay already, and be considerate the next time you go to a movie (such as Incredible Hulk next weekend! 😉 ) And yes, I really did once hear an old woman ask for two tickets to “Prince Lesbian.” (I also heard “Spider-Man Chronicles” back when Spider-Wick Chronicles were out, and countless other hilarious incorrect names for movies.) So please, please, don’t be the stupid HSMF next time you see a movie.

Next week: something a lot less preachy!




1. Agent Mulder - August 1, 2008

I’ve heard “One for that “B” movie” back when both Beowulf AND Bee Movie were out… so the guy (with enough holes in his face from piercing to sink the Titanic) got a ticket for Bee Movie. I hope he enjoyed it.
Seriously though, where I work, we’re pretty considerate about customers being incompetent. Or at least I am; some employees act like they’re doing the customer some big favor by putting butter on the popcorn; it might be crappy pay, but we are being payed.

2. lotrking - August 1, 2008

I might want to clarify, while this post was supposed to be somewhat of a rant, I wasn’t just trying to complain about stupid customers. No, the main point was to encourage people to be smart when they go to a movie and be considerate of the employess putting up with stupid customers on a regular basis.


3. Stefanie - September 5, 2008

I’ve worked at a movie theatre for 5 years, and i could not agree more with what you said! I’ve done both box office and ushering. I hated it when people complained about the prices. I have no control over that. And then, they don’t pay attention to where you direct them. So they go to the wrong theater (you’d think they would realize that they were sitting in a movie that was already playing, when their movie isn’t supposed to start for another 10 minutes!). The proceed to WATCH that movie then come out and complain that YOU sent them to the wrong theatre, and they wish to speak to a manager and get their money back. Sorry, i have other people to help. I can’t make sure you go to the right theatre. I figured by saying ‘ down this hall, 3rd on your right’ was enough info.

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