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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Ticket scam (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Ticket scam
Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12398
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-12-2001 06:36 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just reading the new issue of "Stuff" magazine.... it has a short bit about a ticket scam that's supposed to be real popular.

What happens is, two guys buy tickets. They go in. One guy takes both stubs and goes outside. He gives one of the stubs to a friend, then goes back inside. The friend waits a few minutes, then goes in. The process repeats until a bunch of people are let in on the same two tickets.

Sounds like it could work in some of these bigger places. Has anybody ever heard of this working?

Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 02-12-2001 08:36 PM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, common. Another common one used to be splitting the Pacer or automatickets in half, and getting two people in on a single ticket while someone distracted the doorman. Another is the guy passing tickets out the auditorium fire exit to friends. Another is the janitor or crew that picks up tickets from one show and lets people use them for the next. Another is the guy who comes to the window and buys one adult and five kids tickets, then shows with himself and five adult friends. ("I've got five kids tickets? Really? The cashier must have made a mistake!") The cashier can also downsell tickets that way and pocket the extra cash, so he could be telling the truth. There are all sizes and shapes of scams, both by customers and employees. Very little of it is new.

Both kiosk and internet ticketing lend themselves to scams, and the role of the good doorman is becoming tougher.

Any owner that doesn't do random head counts of auditoriums is opening his or herself up for scams and theft.



Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 02-12-2001 10:18 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Have the doorman mark the tickets with a big PUNCH as he/she presents them for admission. Or, better still, a big red mark with a magic marker so some scammer would not be able to cover it up with their thumb. Pain in the butt during a rush, but anyone else have another suggestion?

Jeff, after reading your post below, There may not be a firm solution to the problem in your theater. Seems to me all one can hope for is the doorman has a good memory, and can recognize the person leaving for and returning from the restroom.


Jeff Newman
Film Handler

Posts: 14
From: Fenton, MO, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 02-12-2001 10:51 PM      Profile for Jeff Newman   Email Jeff Newman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was sitting here discussing this issue with my sister who thinks its "cool" to sneak into a movie, apparently the kids get a thrill out of saving some cash. Anyways, she proudly says to me "It is SO easy to sneak into the movies at your theatre! In fact I dont think I have paid for one movie there" So I ask her how she does it. Apparently, there is the following setup:


| RR |---Concession----| RR |
| |
|=================UU================|
| |

Kind of hard tgo represent, but to the sides
are where the different screens are, and
the concession is at the back end of the
theatre. Anyways this "scam" only works
when there is an Usher in the middle (UU)
and no ushers to the side of the RR (restrooms) They just tell the Usher they need to use the restroom, and they let them. Now if there is an usher taking tickets on the sides, they wont b e able to get in, but on slower nights, with just the usher in the center of the lobby by concession, it works every time. Pretty lame. Guess we just cant let customers use the restrooms anymore for fear of ripping off the theatre.

Hope my explination of the scenerio made sense, if not, let me know and Ill explain further..

-jeff Newman

Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17664
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 02-12-2001 11:36 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
I see theaters built all the time with "exit hallways", when in fact what they REALLY are is "free admission" hallways. Since the typical theater's doors never actually close and latch properly, the kids just open them from the outside and enter through the exit hallway. This puts them AFTER the doorman and they are free to see whatever they want. When asked for their tickets, a simple "what, I threw them away" always works.

Some theaters (notably older UAs) actually have double exit ramps accessible from the front of the lobby!

Evans A Criswell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1579
From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 02-13-2001 08:25 AM      Profile for Evans A Criswell   Author's Homepage   Email Evans A Criswell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One simple measure of security that I have used is "How easy is it to see a movie and get out without having my ticket stub torn?" I have an untorn stub for every theatre in my area except one.

The theatre in my area that has the best security is the Regal River Oaks Cinema 8 in Decatur, AL. Often, when I'm expecting a crowd to show up for movies, I buy my ticket at least an hour early and walk around in the mall (the theatre is behind the mall) for a while. That way, if a crowd shows up, I don't have to wait in the ticket line. Every time I've returned to the theatre to get into the auditorium, someone has always approached me to ask for my ticket stub so they could tear it, even though they know who I am. Everyone there has been trained to make sure every ticket is torn. This theatre would probably be the most difficult to sneak into. One time, someone came into the auditorium before a show and asked to see everyone's ticket stub. I heard later that a kid had bought a ticket for a different show and went into the R rated movie. If they're cracking down on that, you know they're checking everything very well.

However, that theatre has one flaw. There are two sides of the building. The two entrances to halls leading to auditoriums are to the left and right of the concession stand area in the back of the lobby. The restrooms are behind the concession stand and one can go into the restrooms from the left side and come out on the right side, and vice versa (they go all the way through!). I used this to my advantage one night when I went to see "Wizard of Oz". There was a huge line to get into that side of the auditorium because "Waterboy" was playing that night (on that same side of the theatre). I went to the restroom on the left side, walked through, and came out on the right, walked in front of the huge line, and went into my auditorium. I was the only one who saw "Wizard of Oz" that night and I escaped having to wait in the "Waterboy" line to get into it. My ticket stub had already been torn, though.

On slower nights, they tear the stub when they give it to you at the box office (which is just inside the lobby). I think the staff there have good memories and know if anyone tries any funny business.

Evans

Jeff Newman
Film Handler

Posts: 14
From: Fenton, MO, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 02-13-2001 08:54 AM      Profile for Jeff Newman   Email Jeff Newman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, we do try and watch for the funny stuff even on busy nights. We can always tell if someone is going to sneak in (i.e. they buy a ticket for themselves to buy an R rated movie, and since their friend isnt old enough, they buy a ticket to a different movie) We trail them and if they try to go to a different movie, out they go. The bad part is we have TWO box offices. SO they can always buy one from us, and then walk over to the other box office and buy another for their friend. of course we watch for this and catch them about oh... 30-50% of the time. We can only catch the ones that have not caught onto it and are obvious. We would never be able to catch someone that walked up alone, bought a ticket, then just walked way over to the other side. To combat this for R rated movies, the ushers have started checking ID's before they tear the tickets :-) Stops a lot of them!!

One thing I read from the post above "I threw my ticket stub in the trash" We will usually boot someone if we dont think they belong there, even if they threw their ticket stub in the trash. If it was an adult, we usually give them the benefit of the doubt, but a kid will get kicked out We post a sign saying to keep your stub. I heard a story though of one guy who went ballistic and said he threw his stub away, and he screamed he wanted to go find it, so he went to the restroom trash can, found his ticket, and went back to the Guest services desk, WITH the trash can, showed his stub, and threw the entire contents of the garbage can at the managers.. hahaha.. I know it sounds sadistic, and it probably is, but one of my only joys of working at the theatre (OTHER than watching the movies and playing with the projectors haha) is watching people snap. Its a brilliant example of humanity at its best...

-Jeff Newman

Dustin Mitchell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1865
From: Mondovi, WI, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 02-13-2001 11:24 AM      Profile for Dustin Mitchell   Email Dustin Mitchell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Carmike tickets say "Patron Copy" and "Theatre" copy on the respective halves. Makes it easy.

Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 02-13-2001 11:25 AM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"I heard a story though of one guy who went ballistic and said he threw his stub away, and he screamed he wanted to go find it, so he went to the restroom trash can, found his ticket, ..."

Similar story, Shadowood theatre in Boca Raton. The manager and staff were sticklers for stopping the crossover traffic. A man and two sons, as I recollect, pulled the same "I threw our tickets in the restroom trash!" routine. The usher escorted them to the restroom, where they triumphantly pulled three ticket stubs out of the trash bin. "You see! I told you we threw them in the trash!" They exited the restroom tickets in hand and waved them in front of the manager. She took them, asked "Are you SURE these are your tickets?" "Oh, yes. Absolutely!" She than said something to the effect of "I believe you. These were for the last set of shows, which have all exited. Furthermore, they weren't even for the auditorium the usher saw you entering. Now leave!" The response? "I'll have your job! We bought tickets and didn't realize you were going to be so nasty about our sitting in some empty seats! There was no reason for you to be so rude about it." The manager looked over at me, smiled and said "I think I can save you some trouble. Let me introduce my district manager." I smiled. They left.



Tom Ferreira
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 203
From: Conway, NH, USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-13-2001 08:48 PM      Profile for Tom Ferreira   Email Tom Ferreira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Which is why I'm really going to enjoy my new position as a district manager.

Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 02-13-2001 09:05 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jerry, your story about the father and his two sons....Now we know why some of the young people are they way they are! They learned it from their parents. Tragic, isn't it?


Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 02-13-2001 09:51 PM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Paul, I totally agree. At that theatre some of the worst offenders were people who were well past the age when they should have known better, and had enough money that the money they scammed shouldn't have been an issue.

Part of the problem was a GCC theatre across the street where the management had wimped out and allowed the customers to have free run of the facility. I don't particularly blame the manager of that theatre, because GCC policy was to make the customer happy at all costs. (I worked as a GCC manager for a blessedly short time.)

Jesse Skeen
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1498
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Aug 2000


 - posted 02-14-2001 03:42 AM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The easiest way to prevent theater-hopping would be to have an usher at EVERY auditorium door, but since that's not always practical what about some sort of automated system, where the doors will open for one person when they insert the PROPER ticket? BART trains in the San Francisco area sort of work that way. Yes, it would take longer to get a lot of people in, and they'd have trouble going back out to the lobby- after the movie they'd be expected to leave through the back exits- but something like this would solve some problems!

Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

Posts: 12859
From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: May 99


 - posted 02-14-2001 08:42 AM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Is the problem crippling or industry that much to go to that extreme?

Jim Ziegler
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 753
From: West Hollywood, CA
Registered: Jul 99


 - posted 02-20-2001 03:21 AM      Profile for Jim Ziegler   Email Jim Ziegler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, the problem is that bad... I can't really detail specific incidents, as they are security related, but I can tell you that in the last 12 months we have increased closing ushes on weekend nights from 1 to 7, and that during the late rounds, theatres are typically patrolled in 2 or 3 man teams...

I only wish the crowds we had tried ticket scams like were mentioned above. My crowds just rush the podium and try to push their way through, or they think by threating to kill us we will let them stay.



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