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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!


    | Barnstaple, England, UK | Family & Kids, Movies & TV, Underaged

    (It is 1989, when Tim Burton’s first Batman movie hit the cinemas. The British Board of Film Classification (the UK version of the Motion Picture Association of America) has decided to create a new picture certificate, the 12-certificate, meaning only those over the age of 12 may be admitted. Batman is the very first movie in the UK to be given this certificate. The cinema where this occurs is a single screen, rural cinema that has only one film a week, showing once a day. Cinema-goers queue outside and must do so past two posters advertising that week’s presentation. Because of the newness of the 12-certificate the management have put bright yellow notices with the posters advising patrons of the film’s rating and what it means. Also at opening time cinema staff are policing the queue ensuring no one under 12 gains entry. Behind me are two grandparents and their eight year old grandchild. A cinema employee comes up to them.)

    Employee: “Excuse me, sir, madam, how old is the child?”

    Grandmother: “Eight.”

    Employee: “I’m sorry, but this presentation has been rated ’12’ by the BBFC and as such, is unsuitable for the child.”

    Grandmother: “But it’s Batman!”

    Employee: “Yes, but the film has been rated certificate ’12’ due to its content.”

    Grandfather: “’12’ certificate?”

    Employee: “Yes, sir, it’s a new certificate, restricting the presentation to those to aged 12 or over. The newspaper did warn about this in our advert this week and there are signs outside the cinema saying the same thing.”

    Grandfather: “But it’s his birthday and we promised him we’d take him to see Batman.”

    Employee: “I understand but it is against the law for us to admit him.”

    Grandmother: “But it’s Batman!”

    Employee: “I’m sorry, madam you’ll have to leave. There’s nothing we can do.”

    Grandmother: “But it’s Batman!”

    Employee:Batman it may be; suitable for an eight year old, no, it isn’t. Now please leave. You’re holding up the queue.”

    (The grandparents and grandchild leave the queue. Halfway up the street she turns and shouts to the queue.)

    Grandmother: “This is so unfair! It’s Batman; it should be for kids!”

    Martin Luther King Of Hollywood

    | New Zealand | History, Movies & TV

    (We have just begun screening before our movies the trailer to Selma, a movie based on the voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Most people associate it as a Martin Luther King Junior movie. A young woman approaches me at the ticket counter inquiring about the movie.)

    Woman: “Excuse, but I just watched this trailer before on my movie… I wondered if you could tell me more about it? It looks interesting.”

    Me: “Sure! Which trailer was it?”

    Woman: “I think it was a woman’s name… There were a lot of black guys and they were marching with a king?”

    Me: “Oh… I think you must be talking about Selma. It’s based on the marches for voting rights back in the 60’s. One of the leading influences was Martin Luther King Jr.”

    Woman: “Martin Luther King? I’ve never heard of him… What else does he star in?”

    Me: “Um, he wasn’t an actor in the movie. He was involved in African-American rights movements before his assassination?”

    Woman: *looking blank*

    Me: “I have a dream?”

    Woman: “Oh! That guy!”

    Not A Good Uniform Response

    | FL, USA | Bad Behavior, Bizarre

    (I work at a movie theater, where the dress code calls for black work pants, black sneakers, and our uniform-polo shirt that everyone wears.)

    Me: “Hello, ma’am, how are you doing tonight?”

    Customer: *dramatically feigning surprise* “Oh, what was that? I’m sorry; I was distracted by your disgustingly revealing clothing.”

    Me: “Uh…”

    Customer: “You know, I see this more and more with young ladies today. You’re at work for God’s sake; you’re not here to recruit some ‘johns’ for your night-job!”

    Me: “Excuse me, but that is totally uncalled for. I’m wearing the same uniform as everyone else here.”

    Customer: “Your attitude is disgusting too, of course.”

    Me: *trying to smile* “Your theater is to the left. Enjoy your movie.”

    Customer: “I’m going to talk to your manager about you before I leave!”

    Me: “Yes, thank you, ma’am.”

    Customer: “And lose the attitude!”

    Me: “Yes, thank you, ma’am.”

    (She did end up writing a letter to corporate, saying I was ‘a rude strumpet, and completely offensive.’ Luckily, my managers and I had a good laugh over it and printed out. It’s still tacked up in the employee room to remind us that the customer isn’t ALWAYS right.)

    Needs A Military Rescue

    | NY, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Military

    (I work at a movie theater. It’s a Monday morning and I’m serving a young man in line.)

    Customer: “Do you offer military discounts?”

    Me: “The current policy is that we do not offer military discounts on weekdays, but we do on weekends. Since weekday prices are already so much cheaper, especially for matinees, we really can’t add additional discounts on top of it.”

    Customer: *firmly* “Well, lemme ask you this: Do you believe the minimum wage should be raised?”

    Me: *confused* “Um… well, yes. Yes, I do. A little over $8 an hour is hard to live off of, especially in this economy.”

    Customer: “Well, that’s bull-s***. You don’t deserve more money. I just got back from being stationed in Iraq. How about you? I fought for your freedom, kid. The same freedom that you’re exercising now to tell me that my sacrifices won’t even get me a discount! You minimum wage drones don’t deserve more money.”

    Me: *absolutely shocked* “I’m… I’m sorry, sir. I truly thank you for your service…”

    Customer: “I want you to know I have no respect for you whatsoever. You obviously weren’t in the military, and you don’t understand the meaning of sacrifice. It’s unbelievable that after I chose to fight for your freedom, you deny me the basic dignity of recognition with a discount. Do you understand that I don’t respect you?”

    Me: “I… I guess?”

    Customer: “No, you tell me that you absolutely understand that I don’t respect you.”

    Me: *going pale* “I understand.”

    Customer: “Good.”

    (He buys his tickets and goes into the theater. I’m left shocked by the exchange. An older man who was behind him in line approaches me. He gives me a warm smile.)

    Old Man: “Wow. I’m sorry you had to put up with that. You know… I was in the military. Fought in Vietnam. Put up with a lot in my life. But I want to tell you… I thank YOU for YOUR service. And I have nothing but respect for you and every other person out there trying to make ends meet while being a good employee, despite dealing with a low minimum wage. Not everyone is cut out to be a soldier. But that doesn’t mean jerks like him are better than you. People like you… doing your hardest and trying to make ends meet, all while having to put up with the self-righteous people like that… you deserve as much admiration as anyone else. This world needs people of all types. We’re all in this together. We’re all heroes in our own way. So thank you. Because of you, I get to have a nice day seeing movies. You’re helping to give me happiness for a few hours. And that means a lot.”

    (I was almost crying for the rest of the day. Thank you for restoring my faith in humanity after the last person nearly destroyed it!)

    Has You Running Around Like Busy Little Bees

    | London, England, UK | Crazy Requests, Movies & TV

    (I work in a small independent arts cinema. The theatre is known locally for its wealthy and demanding senior clientele. A fashionable elderly customer, clutching a large expensive handbag, approaches me and a coworker at the box office.)

    Customer: “Are you brave?”

    Me: *smiling politely* “Umm, I guess so.”

    Customer: “Well, a large bee or hornet just fell from your ceiling into my handbag and I want somebody to fish it out.”

    Me: “Oh, okay. Are you sure it was a bee or hornet?”

    (This is early January in suburban London, in a building that in four years I’ve never seen any bee buzz about in… let alone a hornet!)

    Customer: *suddenly angry* “YES, I’M SURE! I don’t know what to do; can’t you reach in and get rid of it!”

    Me: “Sorry but I’m not going to reach into the bag Why don’t you tip the contents out carefully onto one of the seats behind you?”

    Customer: “Yes, you do that for me.”

    Me: “Well, I have no space behind the box office to do that and I wouldn’t want to be at fault if I damaged any of the contents when I shook the bag out. Sorry. Why don’t you try emptying the bag into one of the large popcorn boxes?”

    Customer: “Ugh, is that all you can offer me?! A popcorn box…? Well, you’ve been absolutely no help at all.”

    (She stomps away… and I go back to serving customers. 30 minutes later I go to check on the cafe within the cinema building and see the handbag wrapped in two layers of clear recycling bags just dumped in a corner. The cafe owner sees me staring at the bag dumbfounded.)

    Cafe Coworker: *laughing* “Some woman made me wrap her handbag up because she is terrified about the hornet that got stuck inside, so I’m suffocating it for her. Oh and she told me you and the box office staff were no help and she is going to complain tomorrow.”

    (She never did complain.)

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