Schokoladen with inconvenience.


Eventually, buying thousands of dollars worth of candy gets old.

Today’s one of those days where I go to the cash & carry with a blank cheque to stock up on sweet things for our customers, one of the many random tasks that are part of the remit (ha! as if anyone’s written them down!) of my job. My irritation at having to do this isn’t the fault of the folks at the warehouse, who are all quite nice, but it’s just so…pesky. It’s the only time I *have* to drive to work, but I have to time it so that I’m not dropping off the goods when there is ‘no stopping’ in front of the cinema owing to rush hour/bus lane regulations, then I have to unload it all myself (as I have super strength (ha!), this is not that difficult), then I have to put it away, then go back to that car and circle the neighbourhood looking for an available parking spot.

Oh boo fuckin’ hoo. You still get to buy thousands of dollars of chocolate! Eh. It’s not like I’m eating it.

Perhaps I’m more of a creature of habit than I’d like to believe, so this break in my bike to work, make coffee, head upstairs, check email routine is the problem. I’m not sure. But as my day is almost invariably full of interruptions, you’d think I’d be used to it.

My vacation replacement told me almost as soon as I arrived back that she had a new appreciation for just how difficult it is to get stuff done on a day-to-day basis at my job (and I had left the absolute bare minimum of things to do while I was away) because of constant interruptions, especially from phone calls from these types:

  1. Nice old ladies who call for showtimes, but then prattle on about how their granddaughter’s birthday party is coming up, so they want to make sure that they see x film at a time that doesn’t conflict, but it has to be an early show, no later than 6, and by the way, where can they park? (As I said, they are generally nice, but time-eating.)
  2. Less nice customers who call to complain that they didn’t like a film/had to leave early (the day before, last week, whenever), so could they have a refund? (Or want some kind of official apology for the popcorn being a little stale, or the staff accidentally not picking a Pepsi cup off the floor, etc…grouchy, bored people are the worst.)
  3. Amateur filmmakers who want to know how much it costs to rent the cinema for a night to show their 8-minute film (too much). (I wish I could help these folk more. They also email a lot.)
  4. Brand-new distributors who don’t understand the words ‘I am not the programmer’ and ‘we do our schedules two months in advance’ and are trying to find a venue to show something next week. (Some organizations do this too – ‘Can we rent the theatre to show <insert movie title of film that’s several years old> next Saturday¬† as a staff appreciation night?’ NO.)
  5. Folks who ask if/when we are getting a certain movie. The people who call to ask about this rather than email? Are generally asking about films we’ve already played (and they weren’t aware) or are asking about something so obscure I’ve not heard of it. (‘There’s this Russian film that came out in 2004 or maybe earlier about an 18th century sea battle. I can’t remember the title. Are you going to play it?’)
  6. People who want to advertise in our program guide, which, well, I don’t deal with that, the boss does, please email him instead as he is in the office only a few weeks out of every two month publication cycle. (‘What do you mean he’s not in the office for two weeks?’ is not what they want to hear.)

Yes, as the daytime office staff consists of, y’know, me, it’s my responsibility to answer phones. And I shouldn’t mind. But I’m just back from my holiday and have to catch up on all the stuff I didn’t leave for my vacation replacement. PLEASE STOP PHONING SO I CAN DO THE EIGHT BILLION OTHER THINGS I HAVE TO DO TODAY. (Admittedly, though, I do tell the phone to fuck off fairly often on a normal day too. Also, why am I in such a hurry to get back to fucking Excel spreadsheets?)

The phone isn’t as bad as the doorbell, though. There is a sign on the door saying the box office opens 30 minutes before the first show the day. We have a giant calendar outside, posters with showtimes displayed, and a frickin’ big marquee, and yet, several times a week, I get buzzed by someone who wants to know when we open, what’s playing today, and if they can come in early (like, two hours early). Sometimes, we get folks who buzz me down and just say ‘I want to speak to a manager’, so I try to make myself look authoritative (while often dressed in my bike messenger-y best), head down to the door, only to find it’s someone dropping off flyers for a concert, or who wants to know if we will sell <insert product here> for them (seriously, call (ugh) or email to make a cocking appointment). If it weren’t for the fact that we have legit deliveries (Wednesdays are the worst as I spend half my day running up and down the stairs), I would just not answer.

All this to say that my vacation mindbreak might already be wearing off, which must be some kind of record, and that it’s probably a good thing that I’m not frontline customer service anymore. Or maybe thousands of dollars of chocolate just puts me a crabby mood. .

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