Movie Theater Hell: When Everyone Breaks The Rules, Give Up.


1 Movie Theater HellFrom MilkThyPeg, TalesFromTheTheatre

My theater is rental driven and sometimes we get really interesting clients. This one time though, we had a nightmare.

The production was a Hebrew children's musical. The show was entirely in Hebrew and the audience was full of young families with kids 5 and under. My theater does not allow food or drink except for bottled water--but you can eat in the lobby just outside the theater.

This particular client requested that the audience do not take photos/videos of the show. Also, they only sold about 30 tickets for the balcony so the client decided to not spend the extra fee for that and told us to move any balcony patrons to a few empty rows in the back of the orchestra.

When doors opened we had to deal with some kids running around that didn't want to listen to us when we asked them to stop; a couple of my coworkers asked a few of the parents to please have their child sit down, it worked for only a couple of minutes before the children started running around again. There were some parents taking out snacks for the kids and so any time one of us noticed that we'd inform them that they couldn't eat in the theater but they could eat in the lobby. A good amount of them listened to us and moved to the lobby to eat. Most tried to hide their food but we kept informing them of the policy.

Freddy baldThe people who were moved to the orchestra from the balcony had mixed reactions. The ushers at the doors informed them that they were upgraded to the orchestra, but many people complained that the seats were worse than what they paid for, which was understandable but we couldn't open the balcony at this point.

When the show started the sounds of people eating were everywhere and far too many people were clearly taking photos/videos. My coworkers and I continuously went up and down the aisles telling people they couldn't do that (it was past the point of being nice when informing them of the rules).

As soon as we'd turn around to return to the back of the theater the person would whip out their phone/food again. Some people tried to pretend they couldn't speak English but it was obvious they just didn't want to listen to the rules. By the time intermission started my coworkers and I were so exhausted with telling nearly everyone in the audience they were breaking the rules that we just gave up. We spent the rest of the show just trying to figure out what was going on in the show (it had no suuper-titles translating the performance) and helping people return to their seats if they left for the bathroom.

When the show ended and the theater cleared out we tried our best to move as much of the garbage out into the aisles as we usually do to help our custodian. We repeatedly apologized to her because the entire place was just trashed. She ended up spending an extra three hours after the shift just cleaning up, it was horrible.

That client has never returned to the theater.



Movie Theater Hell: When People Try To Exploit My 'Stupidity' To Get In


4 movie theater hellFrom Benson_Abigail, TalesFromTheTheatre

...except I'm not stupid.

Have a story for you guys. This was sometime last year, Logan was out, I remember that.

Three Letter Devil has a no 6 Under 6 rule. For those unaware, it means that no children under the age of 6 are allowed in Rated R films after 6pm, no exceptions, except if you are angry enough and a manager decides to let you in to avoid a bad review or a call to corporate.

I'm greeting. Majority of people are coming to see Logan, lots of IDing. I hate the living shit out of greeting so I'm probably already ticked off. Family of 4 come in, parents and 2 kids. I ask the father how old the kid in the stroller is. He says 5. I tell him the spiel about the no 6 under 6 rule. He then comes up with an elaborate plan:

"Oh, then she's 6."

I gave him that did-you-just-fucking look and something inside of me cracked a bit. I went out of character and said "You can't lie to me."

He probably didn't expect my reaction and went "What?" as if he was caught off guard.

I turn to the wife and ask her straight out.

"Is she 5 or 6?"

"She's 5 and a half."

Gave them their tickets back and told them to go across the hall for a refund because they aren't getting in.

Do people really think the Jedi Mind Trick is real? Or do they think that, because it works in movies, they can say one thing, get called out on it, say something else, and then what they said the first time gets immediately forgotten about? Do I have to pull the Law and Order trick and ask them the birth years of their kids so they can't lie to me?

I swear, parents are the most entitled assholes that walk through the door (behind 12 year olds who pay in $50s and $100s). I am terrified of Deadpool 2 in May based on what happened during the first Deadpool. Luckily, I wasn't here for it but I did hear a lot of crazy crap from my coworkers who were there. I better learn some Martial Arts before May, I'm gonna need it.



Movie Theater Hell: Smuggling Drinks


3 movie theater hellFrom GetTheBigOneDavid, TalesFromTheTheatre

First of all, I'm gonna point out that I've only been working at a theater for a month. But one thing I agree with customers on is that everything is overpriced. They, however, don't know that a lot of theaters make the majority of their money from concessions and not box office (at least, the one I work at does).

So, naturally, sarcasm comes into play often. Once a lady spent around 30 bucks buying popcorn and soda for her kids, and when I asked if she wanted anything else she said "no, that's all 500 bucks I'm spending here today" in the most sarcastic tone you can imagine.

Another time, I had a customer come up to me and go "why is there only one popcorn machine running?" Later that evening he (I'm pretty sure it was the same person because the coincidence is too unlikely) posted a Yelp review saying all the employees were waiting around for the corn to finish popping.

For the record, if we had more machines running, quite literally ALL the employees would be waiting around to make sure the corn doesn't burn because you, dear customer, won't post a good review in that case either. Also for the record, for the two poppers in one machine we had only two of our ~10 concession employees waiting during max rush hour. Some of us may be high school students, but if not us then our managers know how to distribute work at peak times.

So the next day I worked the podium, and as per policy was checking people's bags. Most of them complied when I told them outside food was impermissible, but man can some people be petty. This one lady brought a big black bag, which was suspicious so I asked to take a look. She opened it and it was pretty much empty save for a Starbucks cup. Not a bottle. A Venti cup waiting to tip over and spill coffee everywhere, placed in a way that showed that it was only in the bag so the lady could get it past me.

So I told her, "We can't allow outside food."

But she was prepared for this because she immediately stated "I'd like to see a manager."

Vampire I, not wanting to (and technically not being allowed to) mess with some customer, radioed for a manager and was told to send the lady to guest service (which was right across from the podium). I went back to letting people in while I watched her discuss something with the manager before leaving.

Twenty minutes later I went to ask the manager and, sure enough, she'd decided that she'd rather not watch a movie than finish her coffee or buy one inside. And yes, we sell Starbucks coffee inside.

So that's my rundown of interesting theater customers. From sarcastic to ignorant to petty people, all sorts of guests patronize the theater. The last thing I wanted to note is that people keep writing reviews saying we're going to go out of business because of our prices. But I find that moderately humorous considering the reason we're still running at high prices is because MOST people enjoy patronizing us enough to not care about costs.

Then again, that IS most people and not all.



Movie Theater Hell: You Sold Us An Icee!


2 movie theater hellFrom Candlestick413, TalesFromTheTheatre

I work at a 2nd run cinema. Basically we fill the time between a movie leaving the big theaters, and it going up on Netflix or on DVD. As such we are a discount theater, and our prices are lower both for tickets and concessions. Because of this, we don't have cutting edge stuff, and our ICEE machine will often overheat before the end of a big showing. The standard for this is to let it cool down and tell people to come back in ~10 minutes. That's the story with Angry Dad [AD].

When his family was up at the counter, I told them that icees were down and to come back. They also ordered popcorn and drink. I rang them up WITHOUT CHARGING FOR AN ICEE. They left, looking mildly irritated but ok, I'm busy and went to the next person. After my line was done his wife asked me if ICEES were up and I said, yes, you can come and buy one now. Queue the following discussion:

AM (angry mom)- we already bought the icee, we just need to pick them up.

Me- Ma'am I didn't sell you an icee. They weren't working.

AM- yes you did!

At this point AD stepped in:

AD- you sold us the icee, now give us one!

Me- sir, I didn't sell you an icee, I sold you popcorn and drink, and said come back for the icee. I'm sorry if I made you think differently.

AD- why you [gets cut off]

AM- we will just check our bank card balance

They walk into the movie. I get a feeling and tell me manager what happened. About 5 minutes later, I see AD walk out of the theater. Ok, I think, he's either here to talk to my manager or buy the icee. I'm helping a customer, but a co worker calls him and asks if he can help him.

AD- no thanks need to talk to him for a second

Me (internally) called it, here we go.

AD- I'm telling you I paid for the icee and I want to see your manager

Me- ok, I've got one in box and the other one's right there.

He walks to the one not in box and complains. My manager pulls up the history for my register and shows him I haven't sold him an icee. After a minute, he looks at my manager, thanks him for his time (refuses to look at me) and walks straight for the theater.



Movie Theater Hell: Douche From Another Theater


1 Movie Theater HellFrom LordSparko, TalesFromTheTheatre

It was a quiet night at our theatre, roughly less than 10 people in each movie. The last movie to go in at 9:30pm however, had sold no tickets. The movie in question: "Molly's Game". The staff and I were crossing our fingers hoping nobody would come, only because this is such a long movie, finishing over 40 minutes later than every other film playing. If the theatre was empty, we could all pack up and go home early.

And of course, 9:30 comes around, and I see two young people walk through the doors. "Damn," I think to myself, but oh well. Some paying customers, can't really be helped.

The guy saunters up to the counter and says, "Can I have 2 staff tickets to Molly's Game please?".

Now on a slight side note, I work at a cinema chain - our staff have an online movie club where they get free tickets loaded onto their account each month, and they can use them to book tickets through our website. We're not supposed to process staff tickets over the counter, only if the website is down or at the manager's discretion (which just so happened to be me on this occasion).

And on another side note - since I first started working at this theatre many many years ago, we've always been told that if we try and use staff tickets for a movie that hasn't sold any tickets, you might just be turned away or refused. Especially if it's the last movie of the night, as you're essentially costing the business more money to pay the staff who have to wait for you to leave (as well as running the projector, power costs, etc).

SCAMMERSSo I try and explain this to the guy, in the most neutral tone I could possibly muster (I've been told in the past that sometimes I come across as rude or smug inadvertently), but he doesn't want to listen.

He says "alright then, I'll call Janet or Mike and they can sort this out" (fake names used, but you get the idea - Janet and Mike are essentially my superiors).

He spend a few minutes on the phone to (I'm assuming) Mike, and then comes up to me and says the following: "Yeah so Mike said that you have to process my tickets or you'll basically be fired. I'm a manager at my site, and I know that we're entitled to these tickets, we've driven over 40 minutes to get here, you have to put them through."

Well you know what? I was too shocked by his rudeness to argue. And I figured if I did argue, it would only really make things worse at the time. So I processed his tickets, he paid for his ridiculously cheap staff popcorn combo, and him and his girlfriend went on their way - me feeling red-faced and flushed.

So of course, first thing I do is send an email off to Mike explaining everything from my side of the story. How I've always been told to do things this way, and maybe it's actually supposed to be done that way. Essentially I'm just asking him for clarification. But in my eyes, these two staff from another site in our franchise were costing our business time and money, and we only made a measly profit from their tiny combo.


So when I arrive at work today, I check with the other managers to see if Mike had replied to my email (see linked post from above), and although he hadn't, Janet had. Now I'm a manager at my site, and Mike and Janet are basically my superiors. But even between the two of them, Janet is the head-honcho, and Mike is her number-two.

So Janet tells me that if any situations like this happen in the future, I should just call her straight away to see what I should do. In hindsight, I probably knew this already - at the time I was just so taken aback by the staff member's rudeness that my mind had gone blank.

DouchedAs I'm talking with my manager colleagues who were packing up from the day shift, I found out one of them used to work at the other location alongside the guy who'd given me grief. She brought up his picture on facebook, and my other colleague said "Jeez, he's just got a face you want to punch, doesn't he?"

I then find out that the guy is actually a bit of a prick at the site he works at, thinks his excrement doesn't smell (you know the type). And upon discussion with other managers, they all agreed that my original decision to deny him free entry was justified.

But here's where it gets interesting.

It turns out, there isn't actually any policy regarding the staff club tickets in print anywhere, or online. The online staff club has a very brief list of terms and conditions, but nothing specific about when staff tickets can and can't be used. Apparently it used to be an unspoken rule that you just don't use staff tickets for otherwise empty sessions, but the young staff these days tend to take their benefits for granted. I would think it's just common sense, but apparently there's a substantial lack of that these days.

Anyway, Janet said she would inquire with her superior, and see whether other sites in our franchise have the same issue, and what they do in the situation. I'm going to try and make a push for some kind of printed policy to be made up so that there won't be any confusion in the future.

Thanks to those who read both this and my original tale, and to those who agreed with me. I'm still curious to hear what other theatres would do in this situation, so please enlighten me.



Movie Theater Hell: A Ticket And A Receipt


4 movie theater hellFrom w1shful_th1nking, TalesFromTheTheatre

Me: ...and here is your ticket and receipt, enjoy your show.

Customer: What! You charged me for an extra ticket! Why did you overcharge me?! This is ridiculous!

Me: Sir, I only charged you for one ticket, says right there on your receipt.

Customer: Then what is this second ticket for!?! I'm not paying for this! Give me my money back!!!

Me: Sir, like I said that is a ticket and a receipt.

Customer: (still pissed off) Well fine then! (And walks away huffing)

Does this happen everywhere or just at my theatre?? Like, have you never gotten a receipt before? It is so frustrating.