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Author Topic: A Christmas Eve Rant
Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2199
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 12-24-2015 03:07 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The movie going experience in Montgomery. (no yelling was involved).

Decided Christmas Eve is a good time to go see a matinee. Spent an hour or so at work and had nothing else to do and I wanted to see The Big Short.

So I go out to Carmike (the newer multiplex) for the 12:30 show. I get there about 12:32. I see a long line at the concessions stand to buy tickets because that is how it is set up. Go back out and try the ticket machine, but it says it is 12:50 and won’t sell tix for the 12:30 show.
Go in and wait. Get my ticket and get in the theatre.
There are two people going in right in front of me and that’s it in the theatre. How do I know? Because there is no show running and the house lights are all the way up. I say I’ll go tell them and run into about 5 other people coming in.
I go tell the only authority figure I can see, the guy taking tickets. He says he will go tell someone. A few minutes later what must be an assistant manager comes and says she will start it. I ask if she can start it without the trailers, and she says yes.
Back in to the theatre and there are a couple of more people. I announce that they said they will start it without the trailers. A few minutes later, the assistant manager comes in and says it will be about 3 more mins because the power failure they had awhile ago knocked everything out (of course, they should have noticed this at least 15mins ago, as I’m guessing they had no one for their 10am show.)
10mins later nothing. I go back out and talk to the ticket taker again. He goes and talks to what must be the manager who is in the glass room with all the servers punching some buttons. Ticket kid comes back and says it will be another 15mins.
I give up.
I go to the ticket sellers and ask for a refund. She apparently doesn’t have the authority, so has to find the assistant manager. She disappears, but the assistant manager shows up a few minutes later to conduct some business with another cashier. So I tell her I’m trying to get a refund and hand her my ticket. She says, ok, she’ll be right back and goes somewhere. I never see her again.
By this time, all of the other people are out wanting refunds and the manager is out of the glass box. He starts giving the other people refunds and I tell him my ticket got taken by the other woman. After a brief discussion about “what other woman” he gives me a refund, and I leave.
END PART ONE

So I look at the time (and the two flash flood notices) and decide I can make it to AMC to see their 1:10 showing of the same movie.
I get there about 1:15 and go in, with time to go to the bathroom. The trailers are playing and the house lights are half up and throwing light on the screen. I notice the top half of the full screen scope picture and a bit of the right side are out of focus.
Maybe it’s just the trailer.
Nope. I sit through how many overly loud and uninteresting trailers they are throwing at us in the hope (it’s christmas eve, gotta have hope, right?) that the feature will be in flat and the lens will zoom in and maybe be in focus.
Nope. As soon as the Paramount logo comes on in lovely out of focus I give up. I try to find someone to get a refund from. Nobody around but the ticket taker and she says I have to go to the box-office where they have one person and a line for the next round of shows.
So I get in line and make my way to the front. I tell her I would like a refund and why and hand her my ticket. She asks if I would like to see if they can do anything to fix it and I tell them they can’t without putting up a test pattern (and, I sure, taking the lens out and reseating it). She then says she has to find the manager to approve a refund.
So she, the only person in the box-office, leaves to go find the manager. I apologize to the people in back of me, who decide to go use the ticket machine.
Ticket seller comes back and says the manager will be out in a few minutes, she is helping behind the concessions, which has a line of the people coming in for the next round of movies. I object, but don’t make a scene and let the people in back of me get their tickets.
After waiting awhile and no manager, she gives me a refund on her own authority. And I go home with nothing to do for the rest of the day and evening. Ironically, they gave me another of those customer survey cards, but since they didn’t give me my ticket stub back, I can’t use it.[edit: turns out I can use it and did]

I don’t think I’m going to make it until we reopen.

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Mike Schulz
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 119
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: May 2007


 - posted 12-24-2015 06:56 PM      Profile for Mike Schulz   Email Mike Schulz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is one of the problems I have with automated digital cinema. The scheduler starts all of the shows now at the multiplex and none of the staff even know if there is a problem when the damn show starts. Sure, a guest can run out to find an usher and tell them there is a problem on whatever screen, then they have to find a manager, and then they have to take their time finishing whatever project they are on and make way to the booth, meanwhile the feature is already 10 minutes or more in and problem not resolved. Sure they can restart the movie (assuming they can fix the problem) but at that point, I've already lost my patience.

At least in the film days there was an operator starting the shows and even if they were just a booth monkey coming in from the floor and poorly trained, they would at least know if something didn't look right on the screen when they started the show and can get somebody in the booth straight away to try and help them fix it in a timely manner.

I know it has been this way for a long time now but it really does bother me when I think about the fact that cinemas are nothing more than a concession stand that happens to also show movies instead of the other way around.

Oh and before any of you jump down my throat about how some film projectors had timers on them, I know. I used to work for GCC long ago and all 14 of our projectors had them and unfortunately I was the only operator who refused to use them unless I absolutely had to when I had multiple screens started simultaneously but would go check the ones that started by themselves asap and usually before the first trailer was finished.

Anyway, I just want to say Merry Christmas and I hope that your future endeavor to the multiplex goes a lot more smoothly

[Smile]

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6633
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 12-24-2015 07:47 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I drove past our local multiplex doing some last minute shopping just now (the Krikorian in Redlands), and it looked totally dead - the parking lot was almost empty. They appear to have Star Wars in most of the screens, with its three or four competitors each in one.

I'm a bit surprised that it was that quiet on Christmas Eve.

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Rick Cohen
Film Handler

Posts: 66
From: Amherst, New York
Registered: Feb 2011


 - posted 12-29-2015 12:59 AM      Profile for Rick Cohen   Author's Homepage   Email Rick Cohen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Christmas Eve is always the slowest night of the holiday week. It's also the most difficult day to staff properly, since nobody wants to work even half a day on Christmas Eve. Most small town independents close on Christmas Eve, and don't reopen until early evening shows on Christmas Day.

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Buck Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 828
From: St. Joseph MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2010


 - posted 12-29-2015 06:41 AM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Par for the multiplex course unfortunately Martin...

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Manny Montes
Master Film Handler

Posts: 269
From: United States
Registered: Feb 2010


 - posted 12-29-2015 11:43 AM      Profile for Manny Montes   Email Manny Montes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sounds like both buildings were severely understaffed. Christmas Eve is difficult because some years (like last year) we were completely dead as everyone was with family, luckily this year I staffed up anticipating star wars would bring people to the theater (and spend family time there).

I went to the AMC by my house during the holiday and found it to be a little light staffed perhaps, but also it was probably just the level of business/size of the building (this place only has 4 box registers), so I wouldn't say its a "multiplex" issue, rather a scheduling issue. The rest of the visit went off without a hitch and I had a pleasant experience, same with the Cobb I went to the other day as well.

On a side note, always wondered if people actually went into the "carmike server rooms", I always thought they looked goofy being on display.

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Buck Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 828
From: St. Joseph MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2010


 - posted 12-30-2015 10:43 PM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I guess I should re-phrase. Par for the cooperate owned multiplex....

In my experience, they are chronically understaffed.

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4401
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 01-01-2016 03:46 PM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It is a "not-caring issue." It is most prevalent in large corporate entities. Note I did not say Cinemas? Radio, TV, Cinemas and most anything else that is too big has demoralized the low level employees. That makes them not able to help customers. They are too busy trying to do what they must to keep their (minimum wage) job. Short staffing just makes them give up.

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Buck Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 828
From: St. Joseph MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2010


 - posted 01-01-2016 04:52 PM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The nail's head; you have hit it.

I'm one of those people!

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