Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Things You Shouldn't Do In A Movie Theater.

This guy can't wait to go see a movie.  He's fuckin' pumped.

I've always been a firm believer when it comes to the idea that people should have fun and enjoy themselves when they go to their local movie theater.  There is no need to be angry, violent, sarcastic, or pissy.  I will admit, I haven't been employed for long at the movie theater I work at (who's name I will not say for privacy reasons), but in the almost six months I've been there, I've seen some horrifying shit.

So, in an effort to at least curtail some of this stupidity, I give you the following list of things you shouldn't do in the movie theater, as well as tips to make your viewing experience tons o' fun.  Because I am an organizational freak, I have put them into sub-categories depending on where you are in the theater.  We all set?  Here we go then.

Getting Your Ticket
 Easily the fastest thing you can do in the theater, next to parking your fat ass in the cozy stadium seating.  But you can make it faster by:

1) Saying what movie you are there for, and how many tickets you want to buy.  Believe it or not, this happens very little.  I cannot make assumptions as to what movie you are seeing, or how many people in your little group that you are spotting.  I have been caught in so many situations where a couple has come up to me, and the man has said, "(Insert name of movie)(Insert time it's playing)."  Thinking he's going to be a gentleman, I ring up two tickets.  What do I get?  "Did I say two tickets, pal?"  No, asshole, you didn't, but I assumed that maybe you'd be a nice guy and get your significant other a ticket.  My bad.

2) Not arguing with the ticket person.  Guess what?  There is nothing they can do for you.  We can't lower the price of admission because we don't set it. Theaters make most of their money off concessions while a hefty chunk of the box office profits go straight to Hollywood.  And yes, the prices of 3D movies are ridiculous, and no, we don't set those either.  Here in Maine, most movies are pretty cheap.  A family of four can see a 3D movie for $28 before 6:00 PM at the theater I work at.  When I went to Florida not too long ago, I paid $22 for two tickets before 6, and it wasn't a 3D movie.

3) If you are trying to go for a discount, say so.  Most theaters do different prices for adults, children, and seniors.  If you are a senior and you say, "One ticket for (Insert Movie Here)," well, guess what?  You aren't getting the senior discount because it's rude of the ticket person to assume you're a senior citizen, even if your skin is falling off your rickety, osteoporosis-laden bones.

4) Having your goddamn money ready.  You should be aware that you are going to have to pay to get into the theater, and the fact that you have to hold up the ticket line to go rooting through the tampons in your purse, or the multiple plastic cards in your wallet is not helping anybody.  In fact, it just pisses off the people behind you, and who do they take it out on?  The guy at tickets.  

5) Get to your movie early.  On time does not cut it, especially for the big movies like the upcoming Harry Potter finale.  If you think you're going to get to the movie theater "on time" for your show, and still get a good seat without missing any of the movie, you're wrong on both counts, buddy.   What pisses ticket guys off the most is when you arrive late, and then have the balls to bitch about how slow the line is moving.  Contrary to your popular belief, the universe doesn't revolve around you.

Also, here is a short list of "Do Not Do This" for the ticket line:
1) Do not bring weapons into the theater.  Seriously, we had a few guys with machetes hanging from their belts trying to get into a movie.  They saw no issue with having them.  For those of you unfamiliar with what a machete is, well, here's a picture.
Yeah, slow down, Mogli.  I promise you won't be trekking through 
any dense jungle foliage on the way to your seat.

2) Do not ignore the ratings on movies.  If you are a parent with four little kids, don't take them to see The Nightmare on Elm Street.  Yeah, this happened too.  What was worse is that the new one portrays Freddy as a pedophile.

3) Do not bring your backpack into the theater.  I can't think of a single movie theater that allows outside food, and a backpack is the absolute worst place to hide it.  You're not going hiking, so there's no need to bring the extra food rations.

Waiting In The Lobby
This is self-explanatory.  Keep your voice down, your children wrangled in, and any food you've purchased from concessions off the floor.  Popcorn belongs in three places: The bag, your hand, and your mouth.  Yes, popcorn is a bit hard to control, and yes, a few pieces are bound to end up on the floor, but if you accidentally spill a good-sized handful of it, just pick as much up as you can.  Also, keep your profanity to a minimum.  This is directed mostly at the pre-teens who thinks it's just tits to swear abundantly in public.  It doesn't make you cool, it makes you annoying.  Plus, there are usually young kids about.  Smarten the hell up.

Getting Food From Concessions
Nobody likes waiting in the concessions line.  It's a universal fact.  It tends to take a long time, depending on how many employees are behind the counter.  On weekdays at my movie theater, we have one person there that runs the register, gets your drink, gets your candy, gets your nachos, gets your pretzel, and gets your popcorn.  Even moving as fast as they can, your order isn't going to be ready immediately.  Here are some things you can do to speed things up:

1) Have your goddamn money ready.  Again.  Seriously, it's not that hard.  You could even take your payment method out and slip it into your front pocket.  No one will care, I promise.

2) Don't sit there and complain about the prices.  Concessions are expensive because theaters need to make a profit.  Employees don't work for free, and we really don't care if you can't afford a bag of popcorn.

3) Have one person tell the cashier what everyone wants.  This is a biggie in large family situations.  You might think your 3 year old telling the cashier what they want is cute, but in reality, it is sucking up four times as many precious seconds as it should be.  I have personally had families of two adults and four children each tell me what they wanted.  This is confusing.  Why have each person say they want a small popcorn, when you can tell me right from the start, "Six small popcorns"?

4) There is no difference between popcorn in the popper, and popcorn in the warmer.  Chances are, it was made at the same time, and the popcorn sitting in the popper is no more fresher than the already bagged popcorn.  We do it to save you time, so by asking us to get you your own special "fresh" bag, is stupid on your part.

5) If you are late to your movie, don't take that out on the person getting your food.  It's not their fault you couldn't tear yourself away from whatever mundane activity you were doing pre-movie, just like it's not their fault the people in front of you had their thumbs up their collective asses while they drooled and stared at the menu.

6) This is the big one- Know what you are going to order before you get up to the cashier.  If there is no line, stand back and look at the menu from afar.  If there is a huge line, then you have nothing else to do but look at what you are going to buy, and you have no excuse.  Seriously, we have had lines at our movie theater that touch the back wall, and when those people finally get to us, they act like they have no idea what we serve.  Here's a hint: POPCORN, CANDY, AND SODA.  I can't think of a single movie theater that doesn't have all of these items.  We're not The Olive Garden.  There are no pasta and shrimp dishes hiding back there. Plus, while you stand there open-mouthed, staring up at the menu and going, "Ummmmm..." for ten minutes, what are we going to do?  Stand there awkwardly.  Because we have nothing else to do, and nowhere else to look.  It's uncomfortable for everyone involved, so please...think this whole process through in advance.
"You guys don't happen to have any roast duck back there, do you? No?  What about
some chicken parmesan? No? Well, how am I supposed to know what you offer here?"
7) If there happens to be a problem with your order, be nice about it- especially if the theater is really busy.  Mistakes happen all the time, and it can usually get sorted out quickly and efficiently.  Don't be an asshole.

The Movie Theater
The best part of the whole experience.  You get to relax, eat delicious food, and watch a movie on a giant screen with digital surround sound blowing your earholes out.  And yet, somehow, there are an unbelievable amount of people that love to ruin the fun.  Here are some tips, sprinkled with some do-nots:

1) You brought your food in, you bring your food out.  We do not want to pick up your nacho trays, or candy wrappers, or anything like that.  Yes, it is our job, but there is a difference between, "Whoops, I dropped a few pieces of popcorn," and, "Bah, I'm a lazy fuck that can't bring my trash out, even though the trash can is right outside the door." 

2) Keep your feet off the seats.  It doesn't matter if there is someone in front of your or not.  I don't know if most people notice, but we have to go around and manually clean the backs of each and every seat in the theater.  

3) If you have to leave for any reason during the movie, do so quietly and politely.  Crouch down if you are close to the front, and do your best to go around the people sitting in the same row as you.  It's basic common courtesy.

4) Do not talk, fuck with your cell phone, or smoke cigarettes during a movie.  The first two are annoying, and the latter is disgusting.  
This guy is clearly wondering how annoying a girl has to be 
before it's socially okay to knock her teeth out. 

5) If someone is bothering you, ask them politely to knock off whatever it is they are doing.  If that doesn't work, ask again a bit more forcefully.  If the issue arises a third time, leave the movie and alert an employee.  They can and will throw the person out.  There is no need for you to confront them during the movie.  This happens often, and usually results in a fight.

6) Don't come to a movie inebriated in any way.  Drunk, high, whatever.  Don't do it.  It's not funny, and you usually end up doing some sort of damage, be it physical or psychological.  Movies come out on DVD for a reason, so wait to see Due Date high when it is released.

7) Don't bring your kids to 3D movies.  I know this sounds odd, but the fact is, 3D is damaging to little children's brains.  They can't process that kind of visual information like grown ups can.  And yes, the world around them is 3-Dimensional, but there is a difference between that and looking at a 2D screen with effects popping out at you.  Oh, and the glasses don't help their eyes either.

I realize this is a long post, but I'm not done yet.  I can't be.  Not until I share some memorable moments with you all from my own job.

Things I've Found When Cleaning The Theaters
1) A fist-sized rock.  Not kidding.
2) Fingernail/toenail clippings.  Yes, clippings, not bitten off pieces.  Someone actually clipped their fuckin' nails while watching a movie.
3) Chewing tobacco spit in a cup.  That is absolutely disgusting.  If you are with someone that does this in the theater, snap their stupid neck, especially if they leave their spit in the theater.
4) A one gallon plastic bag with pizza in it.  How classy.
5) A bucket of KFC.  Really?  Come on, people, who eats chicken in a movie theater?
6) Snot tissues.  That speaks for itself.

True Stories
1) I had the lovely opportunity of discovering a man, passed out from drinking, in a theater once.  What made this so bad?  That he was in Cats and Dogs 2.  That there were kids in the theater- 20 or more.  That the entire theater reeked of beer.  And, oh yes, his penis was hanging out of his shorts.  The best parts?  When the cops came and got him, they put latex gloves on and shook him awake, saying, "Hey buddy, can you put your dick back in your pants?" Oh, and the guy pleaded not guilty, after about 40+ people witnessed the incident.

2) When Toy Story 3 was out, a woman and her two children came up to me and said they couldn't find seats and that they were going to leave.  I looked at the theater counts (which we have, by the way) and saw that there were at least 38 seats left out of roughly 100.  I told her that I could have one of the ushers go down and move some people around, if the problem was that they couldn't find three seats together. She refused and left, never asking for her money back.  Well, turns out she called the owner trying to get me fired by saying I refused to give her a refund.  We also discovered that the reason she left wasn't because she couldn't find seats, but because they had to sit too close to the screen.  Boo-hoo.

3) A 30+ year old man dragged a 16 year old boy out of the theater, pinned him up against the back hall wall, and slugged him in the face.  He then proceeded to walk back into the movie.  Basically, the kid was with friends and trying to find a seat, and were talking.  The previews hadn't even started rolling yet, but apparently this older man decided to take the no-talking rule a bit too far.  He was rude to the kid and, trying to save face, the teenager mouthed off like they so often do.  It's times like this that I am reminded about my hatred for people.

Tying this all up nice and neat in a cute little "My Point is..." present, when you go to the movies be polite, be happy, and have fun.  Seeing a movie should be relaxing, even if you're on a first date.  They are a great way to break the ice, and for us guys, it's a great way to pretend to be a gentleman (so many door-holding and paying for her opportunities, fellas!) By the way, this is not the face of a person ready for the movies:
"I have a shitty personality!"

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