Love the movies, hate the theater

Last week we saw American Sniper at the AMC 16 theater in Emeryville. The seating is comfortable, the theater is pleasant, but I certainly hated the 24 minutes of ads and promos before the movie started.

One of the promos, though, was for Game of Thrones. They are showing the last two episodes plus a trailer for the coming season in glorious huge screen IMAX. Tonight, Gail is having dinner with her friend Reed so I have the perfect excuse to go see something Gail would hate.

I purchased my ticket online, paying the two dollar convenience fee. It seemed like a good idea. After enjoying a couple of great mahi-mahi tacos at Rubio’s in the shopping complex, I went to pick up my tickets.

You are supposed to use some electronic kiosks in front, which adamantly refused to accept my credit card. I had to stand in line, go to the ticket window, give them my credit card and yes, that worked perfectly and I got my ticket. I suggested to the drone behind the window that it wasn’t quite right to charge a convenience fee when there was no convenience whatsoever. He said I would need to talk to customer service. I suggested that that was his job, but he demurred. Vince sells tickets only, service is somebody else’s job.

Now I’m sitting inside the largely empty theater waiting for the movie to start in the absolute perfect seats in the house. I’m glad I got here early.

There are some kind of commercials and promos being broadcast into this theater, but the screen is dark. I’m sure there should be pictures but perhaps they cannot show them on the IMAX screen. Perhaps they just don’t care. Another example of just no concern for the customer.

A movie theater is part of what is jokingly called the hospitality industry. Why are they so incapable of being hospitable? I weary of the incessant disdain these businesses show their customers and I have no surprise at the growing disintermediation as people shun the unpleasant experience of attending a theater in favor of staying home watching a DVD or streaming a movie from Netflix.

When this business, and eventually this industry, finally fails they will have no one but themselves to blame.

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2 thoughts on “Love the movies, hate the theater

  1. Regarding customer service, I am incredulous when Comcast employees thank me for choosing Comcast. Comcast is a monopoly. I would dump Comcast if I had an alternative. My Tivos require coaxial cable. I have settled on this phrase in relation to Comcast: “The degree to which I hate Comcast cannot be described.”

    Yes, Chris, customer service is on a downhill trend.

  2. Love to go to that Rubios in Emeryville and have their fish tacos. Plan to see American Sniper tomorrow. But in Concord and then go to La Tapatio for their great Mexican food and drinks!

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