Apologies for the whinging about work again. I shouldn’t rag on customers too much, since they are paying us for a service, the service of watching movies, but man, they can really put a spanner in the works, eh? I worked an 11-hour shift downstairs in the thick of it all yesterday and, although things went reasonably well (a 500+ person show starting more than 10 minutes late notwithstanding), I have to commend my the staff (again) for not losing their shit at customers on a regular basis. Sometimes I forget what it’s like to be in the thick of things, especially on a busy weekend. And this was one of our busiest in years.


  • People sneaking into the lobby, even though 200 people are queuing outside, because it’s ‘cold’. It’s cold for everyone else too. That doesn’t give you a special right to skip the line. It’s also -2C right now and you look dressed for Alert. And all the lobby doors are open anyway, so it’s cold inside too. GET OUT. (Except, y’know, I didn’t yell ‘get out’ because she was older and I’ve gone a bit wussy.)
  • Queue-jumpers (I had to remind people to NOT STEP OVER THE ROPES at least a dozen times yesterday) also drive me crazy, but that’s a given.
  • Also, our queue for ticket-holders passes by the driveway of a nearby hotel. We have signs to divide the line. I tell people in the queue that I’m dividing the line. Almost invariably, if I got outside five minutes later, the laneway is blocked because people have ignored verbal and written instructions to, y’know, not block the driveway. (On Friday, there was a fun variation on this where they lined up (crowded, really, as there was no actual line) down the driveway, into the parking lot, and just loitered. Everyone was shocked, SHOCKED, to find out this was not okay. Hundreds of grown adults totally blind/deaf to the folks trying to get in and out of the parking lot that clearly belongs to the hotel.)
  • The busier the show, the messier the crowd? Not necessarily. We had 230-some people for a mid-afternoon show. Clean up was easy peasy. Why? Most of the crowd were regulars, members, and (generally) courteous enough to throw out their popcorn bags. Not so much the crowd for the giant show, where people not only dawdled, but left alps of popcorn spills with telling us, multiple near-full cups of soda, hundreds of wadded up napkins, and other detritous that a team of four staff cleaning furiously couldn’t deal with in time to let the next audience in until it was their showtime. (We have a half-hour window between shows, which is usually sufficient to get everyone in and out.)
  • The dawdlers, obviously, made things worse. When we make (friendly, I swear) announcements asking people to wait for their washroom-going friends outside, that a hundred people have been waiting for them to leave so that they can come in, and to, really, really, really hurry up and discuss the film elsewhere, our pleas fall on deaf ears. Luckily, the last film’s crowd were patient, but if they hadn’t been? They might have rebelled and just basically stormed the building. And I wouldn’t have blamed them. (I exaggerate, but not much.)

Ideally, impractically, and unfairly, I wish everyone could just shows up knowing the sometimes usual vagaries of how to ‘use’ the cinema properly. But my more realistic hope is that people somehow twig to when they are getting in the way of other people’s enjoyment, space, property, etc. That they learn to listen, to read, and to be kinder to their fellow customers. That they are willing to learn from their mistakes, and understand that they are not the centre of the universe, enjoying special privileges that others do not. Will that hope ever come to fruition? Oh, hell no. But I can dream, right? And continue to hope that my staff keeps their cool.

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