Sunday, June 4, 2023

Too early for Transformers

I witnessed a funny exchange at the movies last night when I went to see Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse with my 12-year-old. (No post on that movie for now; still collecting my thoughts.)

I was stressfully waiting for our pizzas to be cooked. We'd left our house too late for the 7:45 show, forgetting how busy it would be because I/we almost never go to the movies on a Saturday night. We were only even in this position because my younger son's trip to the movies with his twin friends, which had been scheduled for that afternoon, had to be cancelled when they got sick. My older son might have tagged along or might not have. The younger one decided he'd rather wait to see it with them, but I wanted to review it for Monday so I decided to go with just the older one -- thought he said it was more to go at night. Now you're all caught up.

I knew I probably wouldn't miss any of the movie, since this particular theater always has a lot of ads/trailers. But it was a bit nerve-wracking, since you always think, "What if this is the one time they start the movie relatively on time?"

As I was pacing around a bit, I saw a woman go up to one of the guys behind the concession stand with a handful of tickets splayed out in her palm. "Someone is sitting in my seats," she said.

The guy looked at the tickets and this sort of embarrassed smile crossed his face. "That's because you're too early for your showing," he said. "Transformers doesn't open for a couple of weeks."

Now it was her turn to be embarrassed. Some people in this situation would Karen out and loudly blame anyone but themselves for this mistake, but to her credit, she realized she was the fool, smiling widely and giggling at what had happened.  

It appears the woman had somehow gotten herself into the Transformers: Rise of the Beasts ticket-buying area at the kiosk. Such an error wouldn't have been possible if she'd been buying from a person, but that pretty much isn't possible anymore. I guess if you only have cash, you could buy a ticket at the concession stand, but especially on a Saturday night, those people are super busy with popcorn and drinks. If you don't require popcorn and drinks yourself, you are better off with the kiosk.

Unless you buy tickets for a movie that isn't out yet.

Now, it wasn't clear to me whether she was in the right place, but just thought the movie was open already, or in the wrong place, and meant to buy tickets to something like Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. (Which was sold out, I was glad to see. Saturday night and any other night at the theater are really a difference of night and day.) 

I can't decide which is worse. If you thought Transformers was already open, you either didn't consult the website properly when you checked out showtimes at home, or you just rocked up to the theater on a Saturday night without any plan, which also seems like a recipe for failure. But at least in that scenario, you didn't make a dumb mechanical error and go into the wrong movie, also failing to confirm you'd gotten the correct movie and showtime before finalizing your purchase.

In a way the theater does share some blame for it having gotten this far. The only way this woman could know that someone else was in "her" seat was to have gotten admitted by the person at the entrance scanning the tickets to make sure they were valid. Shouldn't there have been some sort of pop-up warning that the movie on the ticket wasn't playing today?

She asked if there was anything else playing around this time, as in around now. She might have checked that herself, but at this point, trusting her skills with the kiosk was probably doomed to further disaster. 

The guy said, "Well I guess you can just hold onto your tickets until then ..." He did, however, say "Here's what I will do," which means he was going to try to make it right for her somehow -- though I got distracted at this point and didn't hear what the resolution was. Maybe a refund and a ticket reissue for the least popular movie they were currently playing, which might not actually be sold out. 

At least everyone in this situation was very gracious and seemed to think the whole episode was funny rather than tragic. The woman obviously wasn't crestfallen that she had ruined the evening plans of her companions -- there were about four tickets in her hand -- though perhaps they were culpable conspirators in her mishap, in that they also thought Transformers was open, or failed to properly check the website, or otherwise neglected to plan their Saturday night in advance.

She may not have been a good example of humanity in terms of her competence, but in terms of keeping her composure in a situation involving short-term disappointment, she stood tall. 

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