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Managerial Support Is In The Toilet

, , , , , , | Right | September 21, 2022

I’ve previously submitted this story about the cinema I used to work for.

One of the notable things about the layout of our cinema that was relevant in that story and in this one was that, whilst there were public toilets on each floor of the building, only those on the first-floor bar area could be accessed without a ticket. On all of the other levels, the toilets were located beyond the concession stands and the theatres themselves, which meant you needed to have a ticket for a show to use them.

We also typically wouldn’t allow people into the theatres far in advance of their films’ start times, but if they were prepped and ready, then we’d start allowing people in about ten minutes before.

One day, a couple turned up about half an hour before their film was due to start.

Me: “I’m sorry, but you can’t enter your theater yet.”

Customer: *Gesturing to his partner* “Can she use the toilet?”

Me: “Go ahead.”

He then waited outside of the bathroom for her, and the two of them walked straight into the theatre, past my annoyed colleagues who had literally just finished cleaning it. Another show was just starting, so I didn’t have time to go and remove them, and technically, the theatre was ready, so I swallowed my irritation and let it go.

Fast forward to a week later. I was suddenly alerted to women screaming about a man acting violently in the ladies’ bathroom. I summoned security immediately using our emergency code and investigated what was happening. Someone had tried to use the tampon machine, and it had swallowed her money. Instead of, you know, asking staff for help, her boyfriend decided to enter the bathroom screaming obscenities at the machine before proceeding to punch it and trying to rip it from the wall.

Just as I started to wonder what the heck I was going to do, security arrived and told me to go back to the end of the hall and prevent further customers from entering until the situation had been resolved.

A few minutes later, my old friends from the week before arrived and we had the following conversation.

Me: “I am really sorry, but I can’t allow you past at the moment. As you might be able to hear, there is an ongoing incident that security is in the middle of dealing with at the moment, so for your safety, we are asking customers to stay back until it’s resolved.”

Customer: “Okay. Can she just go to the toilet, though?”

Me: “Unfortunately, no. As I said, we are not letting anybody through, but there are toilets on level one she can use in the meantime.”

Customer: “Nah, I don’t want to walk down there. Can she not just go?”

Me: “Well, no. And your film doesn’t start for another half-hour, so you’re really too early to let through, irrespective of the security incident, so I’d ask you to please use the facilities on the first floor.”

Customer: “Just let us through, mate.”

Me: “Look. To be honest, I had a very similar conversation with you last week. I let you through so she could use the toilet, and then you both walked into the cinema, ignoring my instructions. I am definitely not able to let you go through at the moment in case you ignore me again.”

The man immediately started shouting a few inches from my face.

Customer: “HOW DARE YOU?! That’s outrageous! If we want to use the toilet and go into the cinema, you have no right to keep us out.”

I tried to stay calm.

Me: “Sir, you can take my advice and use the toilets on the other level, and we will begin letting people in closer to your start time, but until then, I’m going to have to ask you to step back.”

At this point, the police had arrived through the fire escape entrance behind me and were removing the violent customer. One of the managers heard the guy shouting at me and decided to intervene in a completely ineffectual way.

Manager: “Woah, guys. Both of you, please calm down and stop shouting.”

I wasn’t; I double-checked with nearby colleagues later who confirmed I hadn’t raised my voice once.

Manager: “What’s going on?”

Customer: “This guy called me a liar and won’t let me through!”

Manager: “[My Name], is this true?”

Me: “I told the customer that he couldn’t enter the lobby whilst that incident was ongoing and that I couldn’t let him enter his screen so far in advance of the start time, anyway. I reminded him that we had the same conversation a week ago and that, after I let them use the toilets, they walked straight in, ignoring my instructions, so I asked them to use the toilets on another level.”

Manager: “Okay. Well, it’s over now, so let them in.”

The customers marched passed me with their noses in the air and walked straight into the cinema, their need for the loo apparently forgotten. All in all, it was a bit of an eventful shift made all the more frustrating by the duty manager not having my back.

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