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Self-Assigned Stubbornness

, , , , | Right | July 24, 2019

(Roughly a year ago, the theater where I work implemented a new rule that all screens would have assigned seating. The idea is to cut down on the number of people who idle in aisles looking for seats, especially during big nights, and to sell tickets more efficiently, but even a year later, people still complain about having to choose. One night at the door, I take the tickets of an older couple and let them through, but a short time later, they come back down, the male customer red with anger.

Customer: “I want a refund on my ticket!”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, but I can’t do anything about that here. Is there a problem I could help with? Was something wrong—“

Customer: “No one told me there was assigned seating! We couldn’t sit in our seats!”

Me: “Oh! Yeah, we have assigned seating here. Was someone in your spot? I can get an usher to—“

Customer: “No, no! We were sitting in someone else’s seats!”

(He abruptly pauses and I think and hope that maybe he’s seen the problem here, but instead, he blusters straight on.)

Customer: “When I bought these tickets, no one told me it was assigned! We had to get up! I can’t believe you make us choose our own seats like this, and I want a refund!”

(I just stand there for a moment, bewildered, because the color of his tickets means he purchased them at the box office. And when you buy your ticket at the box office, before they even charge you, they pull up a large, brightly-lit screen with the seating chart so you can choose exactly where you’d like to sit, and once you’ve chosen, it’s printed right there on the ticket. You can’t sell a ticket otherwise. I’ll admit to being a little chilly with him when I reply.)

Me: “Well, actually, when you buy your ticket at the box office they ask you what seat you want to sit in. But if you really want a refund, you’ll need to go back up to the second floor to guest services and speak with a manager.”

(I pointed up the stairs. He stood there for another moment, but ended up going back up. I don’t know if they gave him his refund, but he left the theater still red-faced a minute later, muttering angrily to his wife. I’m not too worried, since management is now basically ignoring all complaints about the reserved seating, since everything is the same. I wish this was an isolated incident; I just can’t understand why someone would ruin their own evening just because they’re feeling stubborn.)

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