Weird Behavior Explained

Kavitha ReddyConcessions, Palace

Sometimes, we get some weird looks when we do some of our normal things. If you’ve ever wondered why we do some of the things we do… maybe this will explain it. If your concern isn’t addressed, try looking at our other blog topics. We’ve covered lots of things including why we can’t tell you what’s playing in 2 weeks and why we charge so much for popcorn.

(1) The Director of Operations studies a phone/ipad/computer, appears to not pay attention to anything, and the lights/sound/picture come on or go off…. Why? Because certain things within the theater can be controlled remotely. When we are spread thin, often she will use her phone to stop movies after the theater is empty if the credits are still playing so that the next show can be seated faster. It may appear that she’s just being rude, especially if she’s the only one at the front counter, but she is keeping the staff from being in the dark!

(2) We stop you mid-popcorn order to ask if you have your movie tickets. Why? We want to make sure you have seats. It isn’t common, but some of our movies sell out and a show can go from safely seating to almost sold out in a few transactions. If we have all registers open, we could have groups of 4+ come through each line. That’s at least 16 seats sold in a matter of seconds. Before we sell you popcorn to enjoy during your movie, we want to make sure your movie is available!

(3) We ask that you wait at the usher stand after you’ve purchased tickets. We do trust that you purchased your tickets, but with only five screens, we have very little time between movies to clean. Your theater may not be ready. The usher may actually be in your theater cleaning. We ask that you wait to be seated to make sure you are sent in the right direction and given 3D glasses if necessary. It isn’t common, but sometimes movies move to a different screen after your purchased your tickets, so the screen on your ticket might not be the actual theater you go to. The usher will know.

(4) We ask you to exit out the side doors. At the end of the night, we try to do as much as we can so we can all get home to our families. The theater business means we have late nights by nature, so we want to keep them from being later than necessary. A lot of this closing happens in the lobby. Often, we just want you to exit out of the side doors to avoid the wet floors and equipment. However, we are still available for refills! During the day, we like for you to exit through the side doors (or out of the auditorium exit doors) because our lobby might be very full with the next set of customers coming in. Our lobby isn’t really designed for large groups to mingle. It can be difficult for you to weave through and for our new customers to get to the cashier.

(5) We ask if you want butter. The popcorn is popped with a “butter flavored salt” in a yellowish colored coconut oil giving it the appearance of buttered popcorn. However, we do not add butter from our machine to the popcorn unless you want it.

(6) We ask what movie you are seeing when you order tickets. Why? Because our system has ticket options for every movie at every time. Printing out tickets specifically for your movie is the only way we know how many tickets have been sold for it.

(7) We ask for your ID for some movies . You cannot be under 18 and purchase rated R tickets. The relevant law allows a parent or guardian to purchase the ticket for a minor. While we have no way of verifying who is an actual guardian, we do feel there’s a better chance that the person buying the ticket is responsible for the minor if they are above 21. This policy has put many parents at ease knowing that their child cannot have a friend buy their ticket for a movie they did not approve.

(8) When you come in with an incorrect showtime from our website, we ask you what website you visited. There’s apparently a “movie palace” somewhere in Kentucky and if you just type “movie palace showtimes” you get their website. They have more showtimes and often have movies we do not. We just want to help you if that’s the site you’re visiting. And if there’s an error somewhere on something we’ve posted our times on, we want to fix it.

(9) We do not answer the phone….ever. Our phone doesn’t actually ring. 99% of the calls we received early on were just asking about showtimes. We also are not open consistently. We have very strange hours, so using the recording answers more questions more quickly. Giving customers the option to leave a message at the end of the recording also means we can get back to them when we open, no matter what time it may be that day, so customers do not have to wait to catch us when we are open.

(10) Why everyone waits in the same line even if they only need popcorn or tickets. We tried ticket only lines. We tried concession only lines. And the truth was: they didn’t work. Very few of our guests only need one item. Also, the transactions take very little time. The longest part is waiting for multiple tickets to print or waiting for the chip cards to process. We usually have someone filling the popcorn orders while the transaction is complete so often you have your popcorn before you’ve finished paying. We do have online tickets with a separate redemption line. If someone came through a ticket only line and wanted popcorn, they wouldn’t want to be sent to the back of the popcorn only line. Lastly, it’s just easier for the customer. We do not require customers to swipe their card in two different areas for one transaction. Overall, it’s more efficient and much faster. And we can do everything in one place!

(11) We why won’t take your Fandango, Regal, etc card. Regal and Carmike are corporations. Most theaters you’ve ever visited are owned by these giant companies. We are locally owned. That means we have zero affiliation with them. I did date a guy that worked at one of those corporations, but that’s another story. We have our own gift cards. Fandango is very expensive for us to use and our needs are covered with our own online ticket system and website. We do not have the ability to “run” gift cards for other companies. Just like you can’t use a Starbucks gift card to buy a Big Mac.

(12) Why we don’t give you a discount before 5:30. Part of our mission when we started was to be as affordable as possible. Instead of offering lots of confusing coupons and days, we made all of our shows before 5:30 matinee priced. This means it is our absolute lowest ticket option available and we just can’t afford (and the studios would never allow us to give) even more discounts on that price. The matinee price is lower than any of our ticket prices so it’s actually better than the discounts we offer at night.