Saturday, June 2, 2012

AMC Crossroads Mall 16 (A Rant: Just a Warning)

I understand this post will not win my blog any new fans and may lose it the few it does have but I felt it needed to be said. Here goes. What on earth makes people think that it’s okay to bring their ENTIRE family, including the baby, to a movie and allow two of their obviously under 10 years old daughters to sit apart from them? Even better…what makes them think it’s okay that said daughters run up and down the stairs to ask them questions and change seats then ask more questions and change seats again? Even better…what makes them think that it’s okay that the baby keeps crying during the film? The answer? It’s not that they think it’s okay. They obviously just don’t care. These people paid money for the entire family (7 members if you include the baby) to see a movie and two of them weren’t even watching it. Maybe they figured it was cheaper than hiring a sitter?

As mentioned in several other posts, I don’t have children so I can’t possibly know what these people may be going through. I’m judging solely by how I was raised and how I’ve seen other couples/single parents raise their children. Had my sister and I been this disruptive we would have been told to stop. Had we persisted, I’m willing to bet one of two things would have happened. We would have been taken outside and given a thorough talking to OR we would have been removed from this special outing altogether. That would have been the worst possible punishment for me. I’ve always loved going to the movies. I could “escape” for a couple of hours in to an entirely different world. Become the characters and join them on their crusades. I use the word escape lightly as I had nothing to escape from but I hope you understand what I mean. It’s always interesting to see how other people live even if it happens to be in outer space or the Dark Forest. And, by the way, I don’t believe my parents ever let us sit apart from them. I’m also pretty sure that we, or I anyway, wouldn’t have wanted to. Strangers have always made me nervous.

Some of you may have already guessed that these girls were sitting right down the row from me. I did consider moving but I noticed that they were bothering everyone else in the theater too so it was a moot point. I got their attention at one point and shook my head (threatening, I know) to get them to quit talking. The older of the two looked back at me, smiled and went back to talking. Finally the giggling and the shoe dropping began. I knew at this point that no matter how good was the movie I was watching, I would never become immersed. I had paid to listen to two little girls NOT watch a movie while their parents did nothing.

So. I did what I absolutely hate to do. I went to talk to a manager. I wish I had paid attention to the guy’s name but I ended up talking to a member of the “Management Team”. I asked for a manager and he asked what the problem was. I bit my tongue to keep from saying something along the lines of, “The problem is I would like to speak to a manager,” but apparently the irritated look on my face had him responding, “I’m a member of the management team.” Oh well. As long as you’re on the team. I did tell him that I would say nice things about him on my blog so here goes. He did go in and chat with the family. At least he said he did. I didn’t follow him in. He said that the girls moved down with their parents and that if they caused any further disruption I could let him know and the entire family would be removed. Great! Except for a couple of things. I went to see this movie at the AMC Crossroads. What’s the big deal about that? Despite my constant defense of it not being a dangerous area in which to see a movie late at night, it’s not exactly in the best part of town. Why do I keep going there? Because it’s less than 2 miles from my house and I’ve never SEEN anything bad happen there. Knock on wood. Second, in my experience with families like this I’ve found that a lot of parents who allow their children to act this way will become outraged if someone dares to call them on it. Their sweet, precious babies couldn’t possibly be bothering anyone else if they weren’t bothering them. As I was the only person who exited the theater before a member of the Management Team came and chatted with this little group it was going to be quite obvious who sent him in the first place.

Let me give you a little tip, Management Team. You should probably let the person go back in to the theater for a while before you go in and not allow them to follow in your wake. Otherwise you might as well be carrying a neon sign saying, “This person just tattled on you!!!” The chances of these girls calming down in the five or ten minutes he could have waited were slim to none as they had not quieted down at all in the first hour. Because I wasn’t quite in the mood for feeling the wrath of these “poor, misunderstood” parents, I asked for a pass to a later show. He said he’d get that for me. He took my ticket up to the booth and asked the ticket person to exchange it. She took my credit card to refund my $6.50 and swiped it again to charge me $8.50 because of the time of the other show. The member of the Management Team just stood back and was going to let her do it. I think I said something along the lines of, “Ummm…” because he finally stepped forward and had her only charge me the $6.50. At this point I gave him a card showing my blog information and let him know I’d be mentioning my experience. This is also when I informed him that I’d be saying nice things about him and how he took care of everything. I apologize to him since, in my ire, I’ve gone off on several tangents instead of just leaving it at, “he got them to calm down and got me a new ticket.”

Some of you may be asking why I had him talk to the family if I was just going to leave. That wasn’t my initial plan but because of the afore-mentioned reason I didn’t feel I could stay. AND!!! Had I not seen other people turning their heads to look for the cause of the disturbance I might have let it go. Doubtful, but who knows? These girls were continuously clomping up and down the stairs past at least ten rows of people to get to and from their parents. This wasn’t one of my typical Crossroads experiences in that I was one of maybe 4 or 5 people in the theater. This showing had a good attendance. I hope, for everyone else’s sake, that the girls did finally calm down.

Now, having said all that, WHAT ON EARTH WERE THOSE GIRLS DOING AT THAT MOVIE IN THE FIRST PLACE?!!! I went to see Snow White and The Huntsman. Don’t even try to tell me that the parents thought it was going to be like the somewhat innocent cartoon that most of us saw as children. The movie is rated PG-13! Relatively soon after the Evil Queen becomes the Evil Queen we get to see her plucking the insides out of birds. And it’s a close-up of those insides. I’m assuming they were the birds’ hearts and I’m also assuming that she ate them. Why am I assuming? Because it was gross and I had to cover my eyes. Sad but true. There was other violence as well but that was the grossest thing I saw before I walked out. Did these girls really need to see that? I would say they probably missed it entirely but it was one of the very few moments during which they were quiet. Enjoy your kids’ nightmares folks. I hope they keep you up for at least a night or two. If they’re up and restless so should you be.

Well, it appears that I should just about be finished with this but since I’m already frustrated and a couple more things happened during this oh-so-lovely movie experience, I’m going to continue. Let’s begin with the ticket booth, shall we? If you decide to go to the AMC Crossroads Mall 16 and you’ve never been before I’ll let you in on a little secret. You need to get there early. If you are running late it’s going to get worse. It’s rare that I get another ticket person and on those rare occasions I breathe a sigh of relief. If you get the woman I usually do plan on standing in line for a while. If you happen to be at the front of the line, grit your teeth and muddle through. You see, this person hasn’t quite mastered the art of small talk. She is loud. She is crass. And she doesn’t care that you didn’t come there to see her. The last two times I’ve gotten her as my ticket person I got to hear all about what her daughter thought of the movie I was there to see. If I’m wearing one of my silly T-shirts, of which I have many, I get to hear all about that too. Lesson learned. Plain T-shirts only at the AMC Crossroads Mall 16. Because of her desire to chat I have to either be completely rude and just walk away in the middle of whatever she’s saying or do that thing in which you slowly step away and hope she gets the hint. Unfortunately, on several occasions, she’s held on to my tickets until she’s finished with what she’s saying. I get that she’s a talker and probably enjoys human interaction but, once again, I didn’t go there to chat.

Walk with me to the concession stand, will you? I will say that it’s not often that I have any kind of problem here but I picked just the right line this time. There was a man and, again I’m assuming, his son in front of me and in the middle of getting them their order the concessionaire went to do something else that was totally unrelated to helping them. Then it was my turn. I ordered my White Cherry Icee, because a movie isn’t a movie without a White Cherry Icee and he filled my order in a timely manner. He didn’t tell me how much it was but, of course, they have the little digital reading so I got out my money and my AMC Rewards card and held them out to him. This didn’t take long as I thought I already knew how much it would be. Yes, I like Icees THAT much! So, I’m standing there and not making eye contact (because, once again, he’s a stranger) and quickly noticed that he had left me hanging. I looked up and saw that his back was to me and he was chatting with his co-workers. When he finally turned around, he told me the amount and then saw the money and took it. He swiped my Rewards card and then laid it down in the gooey film that typically covers a concession counter. I took this moment to let him know that he was out of straws. His response was, “Again? I’ll put more in in a minute but you can go get one at another line.” Yes. Yes, I can. Thank you for pointing that out because otherwise I would have just stood in your line and waited for you to finish your conversation and refill the straw dispenser. That’s how invaluable my time is." I had gotten to the theater in plenty of time to see the trailers (I LOVE TRAILERS! Even if they do tend to give away too much of the movie) but by the time I had gained my seat I had missed some. No idea how many. Could’ve been just one.

And speaking of seats…if you like your seats to have cushioned armrests, stay away from the top row of this theater. I’m guessing former patrons have decided it would be fun to remove the cushions and just leave bare metal. Did this happen recently? Nope. It’s been like this for a couple years now. And not only in theater 8. It’s like that in several of them. Maybe the Management Team is thinking that since they never have a sold out movie then they don’t need to fix it as the patrons can move their patooties to other seats. True. True. But why should we have to? Take some pride and fix the problem!

Having said all this and having given my card to the member of the Management Team may have caused all this to not really matter anymore as they may not allow me back in to their theater. Considering their typical attendance though that may not be a good move on their part. I’m just sayin…

No comments: