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He’s Like Baby, Making Noise, Don’t Know What To Do

, , , , , | Right | March 3, 2023

It’s September of 2022, and like a number of theaters, we are playing the re-release of the 2009 film “AVATAR,” which has been put back into theaters to promote the upcoming sequel. Disney has chosen to only provide the local theaters with the 3D version of the film. Both our website and every third-party website have the movie clearly labeled as “AVATAR (RE-RELEASE)” along with the “RealD 3D” logo, and the showtimes are all listed under the “3D” section.

Additionally, we’ve posted a sign front-and-center at eye level on the door clarifying that it is a re-release of the original film in 3D and NOT the sequel, and one of the first things you see when you walk into the lobby is the standee for the sequel with its December release date. We’ve basically done everything possible to ensure people understand that what we are playing is a 3D re-release of the original movie.

It’s the first showing of the day. A customer in his late forties or early fifties walks up to me at the greeter’s stand with his wife and teenage daughter and presents his online ticket. I scan it and hand him three pairs of 3D glasses.

Customer: *Immediately annoyed* “What’s this s***?! I didn’t want 3D!”

Me: “Unfortunately, the Avatar re-release is only being presented in 3D in this area. That’s the version of the movie the studio wants us and [Other Local Theater] to promote.”

Customer: “It didn’t say it was 3D online!”

Me: “I apologize, sir, but our website and every major third-party website has every show listed as a 3D showtime.”

Customer: *Raising his voice and becoming aggressive* “Ugh! You know, I’m very disappointed! This is ridiculous!”

Customer’s Wife: *Starting to turn red* “It’s not that big a deal, honey. It said 3D on the website.”

Customer: *Under his breath, but over-enunciating every syllable in anger* “It most certainly did not! This is ludicrous! I shouldn’t have to pay for a 3D movie when the website didn’t say it was 3D! I should demand a refund and get in for free! Friggin’ scam artists!”

He rants under his breath for about another thirty seconds before finally storming into the theater with his wife trailing behind, beet-red, and his teenage daughter walking slowly, staring at the ground, obviously embarrassed.

About forty-five minutes later, his daughter walks out, wanders up to me, and whispers to me.

Customer’s Daughter: “Um… is this the first movie?”

Me: “Yes. The second movie doesn’t come out for a few months. This is a special limited re-release of the original film.”

Customer’s Daughter: “Oh. Um… does it say that online?”

Me: “Yes, the movie is clearly labeled as a re-release online. There are also plenty of banner ads on the website advertising the re-release. We also have signs on the front door clarifying that it’s a re-release, and the standee for the sequel listing its release date is right there when you come in the door.”

Customer’s Daughter: “Yeah, I figured as much. My dad doesn’t pay attention. I’m sorry, but he’s probably gonna scream at you after. He’s ranting in the theater about it. Thank God we’re the only ones in the theater.”

Me: “If he comes out now, you guys can get a refund and leave. But if he sits through the whole movie, he’s not gonna get a refund.”

Customer’s Daughter: *With an annoyed smile* “He’s gonna scream either way. Might as well stay and watch the movie… He kept me home from school because he wanted to see Avatar 2. Let him waste his money.”

She wanders back into the theater. And as expected, once the movie ends, the man bursts out of the doors in fury, storms up to me, and begins a rant that sounds weirdly rehearsed. He seems like he’s trying to remain calm, but he’s clearly furious.

Customer: “This is, without a doubt, the biggest scam I have ever experienced. How dare you advertise this movie as the sequel? Honestly… how dare you? How can you sleep at night? I have never been more disappointed in my life with a business. You are stealing people’s good money, and for what? To show them a movie they have already seen? You are corrupt. You are evil. And I will be getting my money back. I. Am. A. Lawyer. And I understand my rights. Understand me?”

Me: *Bluntly* “It says it’s a re-release online. They’ve been advertising this re-release for weeks. And they’ve been advertising the sequel’s December release date for months. My manager is not going to authorize a refund after you sat through the whole movie.”

The customer lets out a frustrated “Argh!” and storms over to the manager’s desk. I should note I’ve warned the manager well in advance, so I’m treated to seeing the customer getting more and more frustrated, ranting louder and louder, while my manager just stands there shaking her head. About one minute into it, his wife and daughter just sort of leave the building, clearly not wanting to be seen with him. He finally STOMPS toward the exit before turning and screaming:

Customer: “F*** YOU ALL!”

He finally left.

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