Sunday afternoon the gang of us piled into the car and drove off to go see Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at a movie theater we don’t usually go to because it’s really out of range. But it was the only place within fifty miles where the movie was playing.
The price of a ticket was $2 more than at our usual multiplex. The price of a large soda was $2 more than at our usual multiplex. The price of a large popcorn was $2 more than at our usual multiplex and the popcorn was served in a bag that didn’t look as though it held as much as the large buckets at our usual multiplex. On the wall behind the concession counter were banners advertising “deals.” One of the deals was a large popcorn and two large sodas for $18.75, which was a savings of 25 cents.
We went into the theater snackless.
But not until after I went looking for a manager.
I worked in a movie theater in college and I know things haven’t changed all that much since. Movie theaters make practically nothing off ticket sales. They make their money off the popcorn and soda they sell at an astronomical markup. I thought I should let the manager know that his or her theater had made no money off of us today.
The manager I found was a guy about my age. His age is only important here because it means he’s old enough to know better than to say what he said after I said calmly and politely and with a friendly smile, “I know you aren’t responsible for the pricing, but I’m amazed at how much more expensive everything here is and maybe you could pass it up the chain that it’s costing you customers because we won’t be coming back here any time soon.”
I didn’t really expect it’d be passed up the chain. I just needed to vent. But I also didn’t expect the manager to say:
“I understand. But let me explain to you something about how the business works.”
Here’s a tip from Retail Management 101: When dealing with a disgruntled customer, do not try to explain to him why he’s being ripped-off and why he should lump it if not like it.
His next move was to try to sell me a coupon book which I could buy online after registering.
Oliver, Young Ken, and the blonde managed to drag me into the theater by my belt.