Incompetence To Take Your Breath Away

| Chicago, IL, USA | Working | September 18, 2013

(My friend and I are going to see a show at a downtown theater. However, she is on a breathing machine that needs to be recharged every few hours, and the machine has just died as we arrive there. I have already called ahead and spoken to several people who assure me that there are outlets in the lobby and offices she can use to charge it between acts since there are none near the actual seats.)

Me: “Perfect! There’s an outlet and a chair right at the front door. We have about 15 minutes until the show, so you can charge it until then.”

(I get her machine set up, as she is understandably not feeling well due to lack of oxygen. An usher sees and comes over.)

Usher: “Excuse me! You can’t use that outlet.”

Me: “No, it’s okay. I already talked to [head usher] on the phone and explained our situation. I know she preferred us to use the outlets in the back of the theatre, but we couldn’t get there in time.”

Usher: “Well, [head usher] isn’t here, but I’ll go see what [another head usher] says about this. I can’t imagine this is okay!”

(The usher goes to talk to another woman; I check on my friend. A few minutes later, she comes back.)

Usher: “[Another head usher] says she has no idea what you’re talking about. You’ll have to get up now and go to your seats.”

Me: “Listen, I’m really sorry, but that’s not possible. We need to charge the battery as long as possible so it doesn’t die again. [Head usher] already said we could charge it here.”

Usher: “Maybe [head usher] said you could charge it in the back offices, but not here! It is not our fault that your friend forgot to charge her cell phone.”

(Her breathing machine is about the size of a briefcase.)

Me: “Her cell phone? She’s charging her breathing machine! She needs to charge it until the show starts.”

Usher: *going very pale* “Her breathing machine? Well of course she can charge it! We don’t want her to not be able to breathe, do we?”

(The usher leaves us alone after that and afterwards, even shows us a nearby hotel that would let us charge the batteries in their lobby so we have enough power to get home!)

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