Pay It Forward, On Repeat

| AZ, USA | Holidays, Theme Of The Month

(I’m at the theatre on Christmas with a friend of mine. We pass out little gift bags of chocolate to workers when we go on holidays to make it a little bit better for them. My friend decided to do something different today.)

Friend: “I’d like a ticket to Sherlock and I’d like to buy the ticket of the person behind me.”

Cashier: “Um, well, we don’t know what they want to see and—”

Friend: “Okay, can I have a $25 gift card, and then can you use it on them?”

Cashier: “Yeah, I can do that!”

(My friend pays and hands him a bag of candy.)

Next Customer: “Two for Sherlock, please.”

Cashier: “Your tickets has been paid for!”

Next Customer: “No way! Cool, can I do the same for the people behind me?”

(When we came out of the movie, the line was still going with people paying for the ones behind them. The manager approached us and looked like she was about to cry. After we gave her our last gift bag, she gave my friend and me free passes, saying no one had ever done a pay it forward line before at her theatre and this was making her holiday so much better.)

Christmas Time, Mistletoe And Overtime

| UT, USA | Holidays, Theme Of The Month

(It’s Christmas evening in 2011, and I’m working in the box office. Towards the end of my shift, a woman approaches with her eyes wide, and a hand on her chest. The following question had been asked in varying forms throughout my shift, but this woman went above and beyond everyone else.)

Me: “Welcome to [Company].”

Customer: “Why are you working right now? It’s Christmas!”

Me: “Well, Christmas is the busiest day of the year for us, so we have to have enough staff here to help out. I honestly don’t mind—”

Customer: “But it’s Christmas! They shouldn’t make you work!”

Me: “Well, I was able to have Christmas morning with my family, so it’s been a nice day.”

Customer: “That’s horrible! You should have the whole day with your family! They shouldn’t make you guys work on Christmas. They should let you go home.”

Me: *smiling agreeably* “Can I get you any tickets?”

Customer: “Oh, yeah! Give me two tickets to War Horse. I’ve been waiting for so long to see this! My husband said we shouldn’t go during Christmas, but I couldn’t wait another day.”

Coworker: *after she leaves* “None of the people who ask that question realize that them coming to watch a movie today, is exactly why we’re here on Christmas.”

These Seats Are Mine Because I Did The Time

| Phoenix, AZ, USA | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests, Family & Kids, Movies & TV

(Opening night for new movies is extremely busy. Lines start forming an hour before the movie starts. My friends and I go to see a new movie, stand in line for 90 minutes, and get our perfect seats – back center. As the theater fills up, people coming in start asking others to move over so they can sit together.)

New Guy: “Can you guys move over so we can sit together?”

Me: “No.”

New Guy: “Excuse me?”

Me: “There’s plenty of open seats. If you want to sit together, sit somewhere else.”

(The guy walks away and comes back a few minutes later with an usher and a smug smile.)

Usher: “Sir, could you please move over so these people can sit together?”

Me: “Sure. Just give me a gift card to cover the cost of my and my friends’ tickets.”

Usher: “What?”

Me: “We got here an hour and half early to get these seats. If you want us to move, then refund us the cost of our tickets. Otherwise, this guy who walked in 10 minutes before the movie starts can sit somewhere else.”

Usher: *turns to the other customer* “Sir, there are plenty of other seats to choose from in the theater.”

Won’t Make Any Concessions

| OH, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Food & Drink, Movies & TV

(I work in a movie theater in a relatively small urban area; we have two ticket booths at the entrance of the complex and a concessions stand that occupies the back of the lobby. The ticket booths are only open when we’re busy, so each one has a large signs that say TICKETS MAY BE PURCHASED AT CONCESSIONS STAND. A customer comes in between shows, when the lobby is empty and I am the only employee not on break. He stands in front of an empty ticket booth for about five minutes before I call out to him.)

Me: “Sir? Can I help you with anything?”

Customer: *ignores me*

Me: *after another few minutes* “Sir? You can purchase your tickets here at the concessions stand.”

Customer: *again, ignores me*

(After what must be fifteen more minutes, he approaches the concessions stand.)

Customer: *angrily* “What the h*** is wrong with this place? I’ve been waiting twenty minutes and nobody’s there to sell me a ticket!”

Me: “I’m sorry about that wait time, sir. What show are you interested in? I can sell you tickets right here at the concessions stand.”

Customer: “No, I don’t want anything to eat. Everything here is too expensive. Get in the booth and sell me a ticket.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m not allowed in the booth. But I can sell you a ticket right here; I just need to know what show you’d like to see.”

Customer: *loudly* “I don’t want anything to eat!”

Me: “Yes, sir, I understand that, but—”

Customer: *even louder* “I. DON’T. WANT. ANYTHING. TO. EAT!”

(At this point, one of my managers has heard him shouting and comes out from the office.)

Manager: “[My Name], is there is a problem out here?”

Me: “No, just—”

Customer: “Yes! There’s definitely a problem! I want to see [Current Popular Movie], but there’s no one in the ticket booth!”

Manager: “Yes, we only open the booths when we’re very busy. You can buy tickets here at the stand, though; [My Name] will get you whatever you need.”

Customer: *quickly, almost cutting my manager off* “I don’t want anything to eat!”

Manager: “That’s fine, sir. We don’t only sell food here at the stand, we also handle ticketing.”

Customer: “Oh. Are you SURE I can get tickets here?”

Manager & Me: “Yes, sir.”

Customer: “Well, okay. I’d like one to [Movie] at [time].”

Me: “You may have missed the beginning; are you sure you’d like that time? We have another showing starting in about an hour.”

Customer: “No, I want [current show].”

Me: “All right. That will be [price].”

(I process his ticket order and, out of habit, ask before I run his card:)

Me: “Is there anything else I can get for you today?”

Customer: *after a pause* “Actually, yeah. Let me get a large popcorn.”

Seating Takes A Beating

| AZ, USA | Crazy Requests, Movies & TV

(This is when “Frozen” is still in theaters. My family and I go to see it a week after it comes out, so the theater is packed with people who have heard that it is the best thing since sliced bread. There are no assigned seats, so we wait in line for almost an hour to get good ones, and they fill up fast. While we are waiting for the movie to start, a family come in about five minutes before the movie starts and sees that they will have to split up. Rather than do that, the dad goes up to another other family of five — a mom and her four children, the youngest maybe three.)

Dad: “Excuse me, but could we have these seats? We want to all sit together.”

Young Mom: “…What?”

Dad: “Well, we’re all here as a family and we want to sit together, but there are no more seats together. Would you mind giving up yours so we can enjoy this movie as a family?”

Young Mom: “I’m here with my family, too.”

Dad: “Yeah, but we rarely get to do things as a family and we’d really like to sit together.”

Young Mom: *kind of laughing in disbelief* “Sorry but my kids are really young. I can’t just send them off on their own to sit next to strangers.”

Dad: “But they’re small, so they won’t be as bothered to sit with people they don’t know. They’ll have plenty of space.”

(At this point, half the theater is just gaping at them. Since seating has already been a problem with other people, an usher is there trying to manage things. He goes up to the dad.)

Usher: “Excuse me, is there a problem?”

Dad: “Yeah, this woman won’t give up her seats for us!”

Usher: “…I’m sorry. Why would she?”

Dad: “Because I have my whole family here and we all want to sit together but there aren’t enough seats left!”

Usher: “Sorry, sir, but there’s no assigned seating. If she got here first then she has every right to sit here.”

Dad: “Well, can we get compensated or something? We expected to get to sit together and now our family night is ruined!”

Usher: “Sir, there are seats available for you, not together, but there are enough, and it’s not the theater’s fault that you can’t sit together. The seating is not assigned. You should have gotten here earlier if you wanted them to all be together.”

(This went on for about ten minutes, with the dad demanding that some other family split up so his could sit together. It wasn’t until the previews started playing that they finally gave in and went to whatever seats were open. He was not happy about it, and never seemed to understand the ridiculousness of his request. Afterwards I saw him talking to the front desk about getting free tickets after such an unpleasant experience.)