Kenneth Clark.


Inspired by this article about the price of popcorn, sneaking in food, and economizing at the cinema, I polled some of the staff (on Facebook and in person) about weird comestible remains that have been found in the auditorium. We aren’t strict about people bringing in outside food, though we do ask people to clean up after themselves, but it means that when staff are cleaning up after a show, they still sometimes have to deal with icky and strange things like:

  1. Foil shawarma wrappers, shoved into cupholders, which, on removal, turn out to be leaking garlic white goo all over the place.
  2. Mountains of pistachio and peanut shells, left on the floor, because apparently we’re one of those shitty bars that encourages throwing shells on the floor to sop up beer vomit. (Lesley reminded me on Facebook that this happens with orange peels too. Other people’s capacity for clementine consumption amazes me.)
  3. McDonald’s wrappers. Dozens of them. Especially in the weeks when we played Supersize Me a few years ago.
  4. Wine bottles.
  5. Beer bottles.
  6. Irish cream and other unlikely-to-be-drunk-in-large-quantities-at-a-movie booze bottles. (One brandy bottle was left by a couple I had to kick out because they were heckling Blade Runner.)
  7. Apple cores wrapped in napkins, again wedged in cupholders. Damp, smelly, and icky. Thanks, customers!
  8. Microwave popcorn bags, a quarter-full of unpopped kernels.
  9. Chicken carcasses and other detritus from take-home meals from Loblaws. (It’s across the street, but still, a whole chicken? At the movies?)

It’s seriously bizarre how thoughtless and/or lazy people are. Yes, we are happy (well, resigned, maybe) to tidy up the cinema, but do we actually have an army of customers whose arms are made of glass? Or who are lacking elbows? Or were born without opposable thumbs? Are the lazy, untidy people are the same folks who complain most about having to wait to come inside because we’re still cleaning up after the previous show? Is it an endless cycle of whining suckitude?

Markus said that everyone’s secretly a slob, and being in a darkened room emboldens people to embrace it. But does that also explain why at they find condoms and thongs in seat cushions at other (non-porn, I swear) cinemas in town (not at ours, thank goodness, yet)? Or why some woman spent a show clipping her fingernails until the usher figured out what the clicking sound was? Or why some guy thought it was okay to type his paper about Casablanca on his laptop DURING a screening of Casablanca?

(Asking more unanswerable/bullshit questions than an episode of ‘Ancient Aliens’ is an important life skill.)

And this (mostly) from the clientele of what’s considered the snootier indie cinema in town, so, y’know, more civilised barbarians. But, frankly, I can deal with all of the above after hearing about the adhesion qualities of nacho ‘cheese’ on a cinema floor from Kirk at Euchre last night. Sending in the crew with sharpened paddles after every show is something I hope that I never have to do. And, at least, our loos are (usually) not made disgusting by the hundreds of customers who use them every day, so ask Richard about working at Chapters if you want horror stories about that kind of thing.

4 thoughts on “Kenneth Clark.

  1. Katy

    There’s an infamous library patron here known to the staff as either “fruit guy” or “rotisserie chicken guy.” He often buys one of those big watermelon wedges from the supermarket and parks himself at a computer workstation to eat it while watching sports videos online. Once he was spotted eating an entire rotisserie chicken WITH HIS FINGERS. One time, he left a big bag of fruit in a cabinet in one of the study rooms and became incensed when someone threw it out. We allow food in the library, so it’s hard to tell him to stop, but I wish we would. I think he’s crossed a line (or several lines). I also question his mental health. He wears the same shirt (a once-yellow Bruins t-shirt that’s now see-through) every day and walks here from points unknown. We know he’s a grad student, and we have reason to suspect he’s Canadian, but that’s all we know. None of this would be unusual at MIT, but here at Small Business School in the ‘Burbs, it’s VERY WEIRD.

    • megan

      Oh. Oh no. Well, we know peanut shell mountains were left by the same person a few times, but at least they’re, y’know, dry. And we don’t have computers to manhandle with greasy fingers (except in my office). Yikes.

      • MF

        I have worked in customer service for the past 12 yrs. I love hearing my patrons tell me what a great time they’ve had, how they’ll definitely be back, a beaming smile on their face… However sometimes one must try to put on a “happy” face when they are perhaps feeling anxious, sensitive, out of sorts for whatever reason. And sometimes the mask you’ve been wearing fades away, and you lose some of the control you’ve been trying to maintain. This can happen to anybody, and often goes unnoted by customers and at times even by colleagues; miscontrued. Most of the customers I serve are lovely and gracious, and I appreciate them so much; this is why I do what I do. However there have been some unfortunate instances that I wish I could have a second go at. In the end, I try to continue giving the best service I can, and move on and learn from the stumbles.

        • megan

          This is why you’re great, m’dear. 🙂

          Also, we’ve been getting more praise in our email inbox than complaints for the first time in years (or ever). Our team is pretty strong these days, which delights me unendingly.

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