Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Malpaso production...

Thanks to you readers that have been contributing to this blog, by either posting comments, or emailing or talking to me about topics that drive you nuts. And yes, Michmash is correct-this blog isn’t entitled “Critical…” for nothing, so keep the complaints coming...

Just so you don’t think I only complain about restaurants, some of you have recently complained to me about the local movie theatres, from the prices, to the food (or lack thereof), quality of the film or temperature of the room. I’ve had some “great” movie experiences as well. As you all know, I like the movies, and have since I was young. The law of averages says that sooner or later, there’ll be some bad experiences. Its high time that the viewing public gets what they pay for. For the prices they charge, they should have someone view the movie for you.

Well, there are eight million stories in the naked city, this is one of them…

“Dear Sir or Madam: I am writing to express my extreme displeasure and dissatisfaction with my movie experience yesterday, November 13, 2005, at your location in Framingham, Massachusetts. I have never been met with as much rude behavior and poor attitude before, in this setting.

My wife and I took our two children (ages 5 and 9 1/2) to see the 2:30 pm showing of "Chicken Little" in theatre Number 9. When the previews began, there appeared to be a dark line running down the center of the screen; on occasion, there would appear two or three lines, but there was always at least the dark line running right down the center. I went out to the ticket taker to let him know, and he assured me he would have it taken care of. After all the previews, once the feature began, the line became even more noticeable. I again went out to the ticket taker (a different staff member this time), and was told that he would call someone to address it.

After another 15 minutes had passed, with the dark line becoming more annoying with each passing second, I again left and spoke to the ticket taker (a third time) and asked that this be addressed. Frankly, the outrageous cost of going to the movies with a family should be at least counter-balanced by showing a clean print on clean projection equipment, but apparently, that is not a concern of the management staff. After the third opportunity, with an apparent inability to address the situation, I went to the Guests Services desk; it was there that your company demonstrated its total disregard and disrespect for its customer base.

I approached the desk and two young women were sitting there. I told one of them the problem, and the other, who was not dealing with me, but another patron, said "we know about it. There's nothing we can do." I addressed both of them, asking if there was anything that could be done, to which the woman responded "I told you already, that's the way it is." I then addressed the woman I was talking to, and told her that was not acceptable; I wanted a better explanation. She responded by saying "I'm sorry-that's all I can do." I then asked to speak with the manager. The other young woman, having finished her business with the other patron (no doubt treating her rudely as well), picked up her walkie-talkie and called the manager. Not waiting for a response, she and the woman I was dealing with just walked away, leaving me standing there. Not once did they say "hold on, a manager will be right with you", or address me in any other way; they merely stood up, and walked away. Their behavior was rude, and disrespectful, to say the least.

Roger, the manager, spoke with me, but surprisingly, he did not apologize for their behavior. Apparently, rudeness and disrespect for the paying customers is a requirement to work at this theatre. Roger called the projection booth and was told that the print has a scratch and that it will likely run through the entire film, so there truly was nothing that could be done. While Roger was nice enough to give me passes in lieu of a refund for my tickets, I could not, and did not leave, though that was my preference, because by the time this resolved, we were 45 minutes into the movie, and taking my children out was not an option.

On a bi-weekly basis, I, and at least 5 of my friends, meet at this theatre to see a late movie (I usually invite over 30 people via email, and I assure you, I have sent a copy of this letter via email to that entire list, and then some). Given the dearth of quality films, we are extremely judicious in our movie choices. We go to your theatre because it is slightly more convenient than other theatres; however, within close proximity are Lowes, Regal and National Amusement theatres, in addition to a variety of independent ones. I see no reason, especially in today's economic climate, to spend money at your theatre, supporting a business that accepts such poor customer relations as part of their operating plan, when there are so many other choices readily available.

I hope that you will address these issues on a corporate level, as I believe that this is a systemic problem. If you feel the need to speak with me, or would like additional information, feel free to call me”

EPILOGUE--I assure you, they contacted me, and to their credit, they said all the right things and seemed to have cleaned up the act of the employees. The moral of the story: stand up for yourselves. As my Nana used to say-“You got a mouth, use it!”

You’ve been great. Enjoy POCO!

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