Chris manages a rather huge movie theater that, due to its location in the midst of several very different neighborhoods, sees patrons from all walks of life¹. the high volume of bodies flowing through the place means that there’s generally some pretty interesting tales of irate people getting touchy when herded into and out of the big cattle cars for a couple of hours at a time. enough irritation makes people complain about whatever their beef happens to be, and since Chris is usually the top of the crap-flowing-uphill pile, he’s the one who ultimately deals with it. the funny thing about it all is the sheer chutzpah of people unreservedly demanding stuff/tickets/refunds for free. it’s enough of a “known situation” there that while the place is undergoing renovation to its concession stand, all managerial staff have been informed they’re not to give out comps for “construction inconveniences.” the dozen or so people last night who demanded their popcorn & drinks for free because of the long lines at the few remaining stations were mostly out of luck.
the fave complaint of most people tends to be unpleasant theater conditions. managers do indeed give out refunds for theaters bizarrely hot or cold (with unpredictable weather shifts and enormous open spaces, this happens in actuality now and again), and of course for scratched up or broken prints of the film. some of these requests get pretty outlandish, though, legitimate or not. example 17: the frequent complaints of the massive pot smoking going on during the show. last night was a real doozy as far as unpleasant conditions. to quote Chris:
man that theater was all fucked up. I need me my money back
excuse me – can you be a bit more specific?
Man the n’s² in front of me was drinking some gin or something and getting all fucked up… plus there was a lot of gas…
Da n’s in front of us was fartin all movie… it was some repugnant shit.
I mean what the fuck man… I saw your peoples in there getting people to turn cell phones off. Don’t you have some kinda rules about being nasty and shit? I couldn’t enjoy my mother fuckin movie, is all I’m sayin…
Because of the cell phones? Or…….
No, n – cause of the farting!
Sir, can you please not refer to me as “n”.
Shit,– I’m just telling you that those motha fuckers was disturbing me with their nasty stank ass farts – the entire movie. If you can get a man to shut his cell phone off, then kick his ass out for drinking that cheap ass liquor and fartin all night.
and yes, this gentleman and his girlfriend went on to demand an immediate cash refund due to farting in the theater. the tills were closed down tight for the night (it was indeed 3am in this tale, after the last late movie was over and done with), so that didn’t completely work out, but the offensive bottle of liquor was in fact located. since that qualified as a legitimate complaint, these guys were successful in getting some free passes.
i’ve gotta brainstorm some creative complaints of my own in the future.
¹ok, clearly, not all possibilities. here, all = a representative slice of the total american moviegoing public.
²call it my white guilt or whatever, but for as much as i cuss like a sailor, i’m thoroughly uncomfortable using “the n word” even when it’s not in a hostile context.