Sunday, April 27, 2014

Let's Go To The Movies!

Drawing upon the knowledge gained from over a decade dealing with (managing) movie theatres, here's my little tidbit post for people who patron cinemas -- whether once in a while when the kids are preoccupied or if you are a hardcore, every weekend-type movie fanatic.

This might seem a bit presumptuous, because I know it's an entertainment service business and many of you may have this entitled outlook when it comes to going to the movies. When tickets keep getting more expensive (larger cities' prices being around $15 for evening shows and the smaller ones catching up), plus the concessions becoming rather crazy with how much they think puffed corn is worth, it's easy to fall into this "I deserve whatever I want" mindset.

But here's the thing boys and girls and all in between: the ones that you should be angry with is not that poor guy handing you your overpriced popcorn and drink combo, it's the higher ups that you never see. Granted, various movie companies work differently. But there are only a few big named ones that kind of over-saturate the market. What I can tell you is that in general, the peons that you freak out at when they quietly tell you to put your cellphone away during Winter Soldier really do get the short end of the stick.

Sure, it's an entry level position so yeah, you do get a lot of high school age people working minimum wage part-time to earn some extra cash beyond their allowance. But many times there's no room to advance anyways even for those that want to stay after graduation. The game is rigged so that they are constantly rotated out, meaning they never get raises and are never scheduled enough hours to gain insurance or perks. The corporate I knew of was full of elderly white males (I don't make this up) who literally refused to retire and stayed in their positions until they died.

It really wouldn't be so much of an issue for me if they were competent. But really, they shouldn't have remained in those positions. When just last year, one of my bosses was telling me the company was going to do this new thing with earnings reporting called "online banking" and one of the other bosses never could figure out how to check his own company email so it became someone else's extra task to check it for him, yeah, they should have been replaced long ago. And beyond that even, the amount of responses to general managers at the ground level in regards towards handling certain customer service issues being "shrug your shoulders at them" to "guess they didn't appreciate it when it was free, huh?" isn't exactly the support needed to handle the masses that ultimately are paying for those fancy cars and private jets.

And of course, not to mention the yearly, automatic hike in admission and concession prices due to "inflation". Do not be fooled, folks. Yes, about 80% of admission sales go to the actual movie-making companies and the concessions are what actually pays the workers' wages. But if prices keep rising, why do the employees with the most face time to the customer see nothing of that? So when you decide to yell at the guy at the counter or the floor manager on duty, rest assured that nothing will come of it. Your reviews and your comment cards do not matter on the subject. It would take a drastic change in attendance for that to even remotely register to corporate offices.

So all in all, take pity on that worker getting your refill. They've heard all the complaints about prices and about how "back in blah blah year you could have a date night for ten bucks" or whatever. They've also had to deal with the yelling and the screaming when things do not go perfectly even though things break and no one can really fully plan for that. A little consideration and compassion is all I ask the masses. Not just for cinema workers but for all service industry folk. Make their minimum wage life a bit more bearable if the system is not willing to change for them. And if you can make a difference, do it by changing the corporate ladder. Because right now there's a few rungs missing.


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