Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 87 - Movie Theater Advice

I've got some unsolicited advice for my local movie theater:

1) On a rainy, cold, gross Sunday afternoon, you might want to open a couple extra ticket windows.

When the boys and I walked up to the door, the automated ticket ATM jobber was out of ticket printing paper. 

The line for human-distributed tickets was insane. It wrapped completely through the turnstile maze and into the overflow area, and our movie started 5 minutes ago.

I scanned the parent's near the front of the line. They all were dead in the eyes, all hope drained. One mouthed to me, with fear in his eyes "Run... run while you can... tell others what you've seen here...", then he looked up at the security camera, and quickly cast his eyes back to the ground before mumbling "Four please for Alice in Wonderland, one adult, 3 children."

I did find one ticket machine that was working, and it had 4 people in line. Have you ever seen a line behind a movie ticket machine? Me either. Why this one? Because the user interface on this thing is- I don't like to use this word, but in this case I have to - the UI is retarded. I watched one guy swipe his credit card 5 times on the wrong screen. I walked up to him and as politely as I could suggested he hit the "Pay Now" button, then swipe. The next person in line? She did the same thing!!! Ok, maybe it's the people in Westfield, but if they're going to put a machine out there, they need to plan for the  IQ challenged.

2) On a rainy, cold, gross Sunday afternoon, you might want to open up more than a couple registers at the snack bar.

The short trip to the theater consisted of exactly one conversation: How many snacks we could get and whether they had to be shared.

The lobby was packed with people waiting in line for popcorn and other overpriced crap.

Even the 9yr old asked "Can we skip getting candy?"

We did.

3) On a rainy, cold, gross Sunday afternoon, you might want to double up your concessions staff.

It's fairly common knowledge that the theaters make their money on concessions.

Watching the teen-folk saunter around behind the counter is maddening. Every time they key in an order into the order-keying-contraption, it's like it's the first time they've seen the thing. Every time they fill a soda with ice, or fill it with soda, or put a lid on it, the look on their face is what you'd expect to see on a 2nd grader asked to do differential calculus. Opening a bag for popcorn? Like cracking a safe.

I'm too cynical to think that the theater-powers-that-be would embrace efficiency. That would take some sort of thought. Something like "Hey, if I had some bright, motivated, efficient kids, who try to find ways to make things move faster, and pay them a few extra bucks, my lines would be shorter and I wouldn't frighten away my profits."

I'd be happy, and shocked, if they'd simply put two kids at each station. One can ring the order, get the money, and top off the drinks while the other starts the drinks and gets the other stuff. If you really got moving, you might be able to handle two orders at a time! Imagine...

4) On a rainy, cold, gross Sunday afternoon, you might want to open one of those bonus concession stands you have down the hall toward the theater.

Let's say these teens make $10/hr. If my kids and I make it to the counter, we'll easily cover the wages for 2 kids for 2 hours. By ourselves.

Make buying concessions easy, fast, painless.

5) On the next rainy, cold, gross Sunday afternoon, take a look at your theater, and then drive to one of the big AMCs, the ones with the gorgeous all digital screens, and plentiful restrooms, and short lines, and a half-dozen ticket-jobbers that work, and ask yourself where you'd take your kids.


Maybe I should have run earlier in the day.

Good running,

Numbers: 2.3 - Got my run in around 6:30p Started in the rain. Been raining all day, so no surprise. Felt myself craning my neck really bad. Weird.