Monday, January 11, 2010

The Customer is Seldom Right

I've made a point to pray on my way to and from work instead of listening to music. It's been a very good time of talking to my Father. I usually start by thanking Him for providing me with my job again, even though I often complain about it. This is the second time that He's used Harkins to answer my prayer request of a job, and for answering it, I am very thankful.

I, however, have never thanked Him for the customers I have to deal with on a regular basis. I suppose I can thank Him for sending these people to test my patience. What's that? You don't know what kind of people I deal with? If only there were a list of the types of customers that come into Harkins.... Oh, look I found:

The List of Annoying Harkins Customers

The Smoker: This guy comes up to me in box office. There's only a small opening so they can give me money and I can give them the ticket. But good gravy does this man's stench fly through that little space! I want to gag and tell him to step away and yell what movie he wants to see. And the stink lingers, too. Once, I went to clean the bathroom. I step in and I smell the pungent odor of cigarette, greatly overpowering the ungodly smells that a bathroom is supposed to have. This guy smelled so bad, he brought his stench from outside, walked through the lobby and into the bathroom, and left some odor for the poor defenseless usher to try to mask. I'm glad I don't have to sit next to this guy in the theater.

The Procrastinator: She likes to show up on busy days. There will be a long line of people waiting to get there concessions and go to their movie. While she's waiting in said line, do her eyes look up at the menu? Oh, no, there's too much socialization to be doing to spend time on that. There's really no need to look until they make it to the cashier. Not only does said cashier have to stand their as she says, "Um, let's see, what do I want?" He also has to deal with her vague requests for "some popcorn" or "a coke." "What size?" the cashier asks through clenched teeth. And if she asks for layered butter....

The Pre-Snacker: Oh, your family just came from Coldstone, huh? That's nice. I see your little one got something colorful and pretty. I hope you guys enjoy it. Outside. Oh, no, you actually can't bring in any outside food or drink. Stop arguing with me, please. This isn't going to change the rules. I don't care if they used to let you in with that. I don't deal with used to. I deal with now. And now says that you either need to throw away your dessert or finish it before you come in. I'll say I'm sorry, but that's really just a courtesy. I'm not sorry. (I honestly don't care if you bring in food from the outside. Just hide it. And throw it away when you're done, don't leave it in the theater. I mean, seriously, who leaves a McDonald's bag in the theater?)

The Price-Complainer: This is the guy who comes up to your register in concessions and buys his snacks, but lets you know that he's not happy about it. "$5.75 for a bag of popcorn? Are you kidding me? That's highway robbery!" I would like to respond with either, "Then don't buy it," or "It's actually not highway robbery, it's price-gouging. There's a difference," but I instead ask if he want's to make it bigger for 75 cents and if he wanted to throw in some M&M's for four bucks. The worst part: he does.

The Late-Comer: This person annoys me on different levels depending on where and when I'm working. If I'm in box office, ready to close, but you come in 15 minutes after the last movie starts showing, you're wasting my and your time, buddy.
If I'm at door (ticket-taker), and you come in at 7:15 for a free screening that started at 7, you're not getting in. No, I can't allow you into another movie for free since you can't read that the ticket says, "Come early; seating is limited and it is first come, first served." Yes, you did drive all the way out here for nothing. You got what you paid for. Sucks to be you.
If I'm in concessions, please don't come to my register and say, "C'mon, Jason, you're making me late for my movie," while I'm still helping the customer in front of you (this actually happened one time, and I have to admit, as much as I didn't want this guy around, I wanted to make that transaction last as long as possible; I'm a horrible human being).

The Selectively Deaf: Oh, look. There's a line of people waiting to get into this rated R movie that's just been released. And I've been selected to check tickets to make sure we don't have movie-hoppers. Oh joy! I will stand by this sign that says, "Have your tickets ready and make sure you have it if you leave the theater, cuz you gone get checked again." Now, I will wait until my manager finishes saying, "Make sure you always have your ticket on you, because it will be checked every time you try to enter the theater. Seriously, folks. Don't leave it in there." Oh, goody, now the lines going in. This isn't so bad. Ah, people are leaving to get snacks and use the restroom. That's nice. Oh, look, they're returning. You left your ticket inside? I checked it already? I should remember you? I'm sorry, I was looking at your ticket instead of memorizing your face out of 400 others. That was my bad, I guess. It's not like you had warning that you should have your ticket on you or anything....

The Cell Phone-Talker: I actually kind of enjoy when they come to my register, because I talk to these people as if their attention weren't split between their order and this obviously life or death call. "Hi, welcome to Harkins, how can I help you?"
"Hold on," they tell the person on the other line. "Um, give me a large popcorn and a refill of Diet Coke." They continue with their other conversation.
"Are you sure you didn't want our tub? It's only 75 cents more"
"No, the large is fine," they say, covering the mouthpiece.
"Would you like butter on that?"
"Yes, please," they answer, looking annoyed.
"Do you only want it on top or do you want me to layer it and get all your popcorn nice and buttery?"
"Hold on a second," they say into their phone, obviously pissed. "On top is good." The conversation continues.
"And did you want any Red Vines or Skittles with that today?"
"No thanks!" They shove their credit card in my hand.
"Can I see your ID please?" They angrily look through their wallet or purse for their driver's license. At this point, I'm almost giddy. When all is said and done, I give them a nice, sincere, "Thank you, enjoy your movie!" (Like I said, I'm a horrible person. But so are they, so it evens out.)

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I didn't mention the people that ask what all of the movies are about, the men with terrible aim, or the just plain stupid people (I honestly had someone ask if she could use her fake ID to see a rated R movie. I wanted to throw my cash register at her head). I figured the list is long enough. Does anybody else have examples of people proving wrong the old adage, "The customer is always right"?


Ayeser said...

:-) Funny post, Jason, thanks for sharing these character types.

Anonymous said...

Made me LOL. No, not really. But I was nicely amused on the inside. :D I *wish* theatres would make their popcorn all nice and buttery all over. Nowadays they make you do it yourself. And it's darn hard to even out the salt - your first half of the bag is very salty, very buttery, and the second half is as dry as cardboard on a blistery summer afternoon in Arizona.