This is kind of long, so pull up a latte, a coffee, or your favorite beverage…alcoholic is allowed, but please read through it all:
Tuesday I was humiliated at the Rothschild Marcus Theatre near Wausau, WI.
I drove into town, across town, and into the nearest theater in my area, which is this chain called Marcus Theatres. I’ve been there many times in the past, including just this last Saturday to see films.
Today I went because it’s a Tuesday and the movies are discounted, naturally it’s a busy time. When I walked up to the ticket counter there was only one person ahead of me and I asked to see the movie. He asked for my card as they have this perks type of card which I always forget to bring so I gave him my phone number, he plugged it in. It never gives me any perks so I wasn’t too concerned. Apparently, it didn’t work on their computer and he mentioned they had been having computer issues.
Then, I went to pay for the movie. My g/f had sent me a gift card because she knows how much I like to go out to the movies, wished she could go with me, and thought after all my hard work these days it would be a nice distraction.
He scanned it, and waited. I waited. He scanned it again and we both waited. I wondered if I would get charged twice for the transaction since he had scanned it twice, he said no since when it timed out it erased the payment time. Apparently, his computer issues had extended to this part as well. He apologized but I said, it wasn’t his fault. I meant it too. However, I could tell people were lining up behind me. They were restless too, as though to lay blame on me, I am not oblivious to their comments. So, I turned and mentioned to the folks behind me that they were having computer issues. The guy taking the tickets said it takes about ten second for the computer to reset itself. I grinned and said, I bet that’s a long 10 seconds and he agreed. Well, it didn’t go through and he radioed his manager.
Now his manager said the computers were down because of the high winds we are having here in Central Wisconsin. Okay, but if your computers are down, then how do we go see your movies? It went back and forth for a while, the poor kid apologizing and me reassuring him that it wasn’t his fault. Finally, I said, why don’t you have your manager come over here so I can yell at the right person? I said it as a joke as there was nothing either of us could do. The crowd behind me was getting ugly. By the time this was over there were at least twenty people waiting in line behind me…but, to them it was all MY fault.
The manager explained that they couldn’t accept my gift card because their computers were down. My understanding was, because their computers were down they couldn’t accept any payments because they couldn’t assign seats in the new super comfortable reclining seats auditoriums. So, they should explain that to everyone right? She suggested I go on line and make a complaint. I said, I drove all the way over here to watch one of your movies, only to be turned away because your computer malfunctioned which is in no way MY fault. She’s like, there is nothing I can do. I said, you can let me in to watch the movie. I was still calm at this point. Instead, she again suggested I go on line. So, I should drive all the way home again, waste my gas and time, to complain on line for something she could solve easily. I pointed out that she was missing the point of customer service.
Instead the manager continued in a tone that sounded accusatory to me as though I started all of this. Instead, I get the insults hurled at me, behind me in line over a movie. In fact, I heard things like, “Get out of line, bitch,” and worse. I finally grabbed my gift card, which apparently is useless, and turn around to face the ugly crowd. I got called a bitch again several times, I had done nothing, and to “fucking get out of here.” Now, anyone who knows me, knows I don’t use that particular word very often, nor do I condone it, but today I told the woman who got in my face like that and used it, “Fuck you.”
I left the theater feeling absolutely stunned, humiliated over their behavior. Driving home I actually cried over the way the people in line had treated me. No, it wasn’t the theaters fault they were having computer issues because of the high winds, how they handled it however WAS and IS their fault. I took her suggestion and contacted someone on line.
Follow up: I tried to phone, no one answers, and it just goes into telling you what movies are playing. No alternate line is listed. So, I went on line. That too was a joke as the pull-down menu had no listing for this particular cinema. I lodged a complaint on line, found a 1-800 number and called it, leaving the same complaint. I do have to say, the complaint I lodged, I got a call back in half an hour from a sympathetic employee of Marcus Theatres. He listened to everything I said, commiserated, and said he’d pass it on to corporate and that I’d get a call the next day from corporate. No one called. I found out later this first guy was from South Dakota, that’s a couple of states over, so no wonder…
I waited 24 hours for someone to call me and nothing happened. So, I called their number again, the recording stated they answered calls until 5:30 CST which is why I called before that the previous day (Tuesday) and again on Wednesday. I got a call from a woman who identified herself as being in their corporate office. I have to say, repeating this story, over and over again, explaining my feelings, the F YOU, that I do not normally use, is just as upsetting. I’m sick of it already. She listened, assured me that is NOT the norm and comped me a few a tickets. She also assured me that a manager of the cinema would be calling me as the woman who identified herself as the manager was not the General Manager. I never was after compensation, free tickets, even a free popcorn. I was just so horrified over this incident I felt that they had to know what occurred.
Today is Thursday October 26 and I just got off the phone with Scott, who identified himself as the General Manager. We had a long talk, again, I had to repeat my story. At this point, I’ve forgotten key issues and I can still feel the horror in my stomach as I describe how those waiting in line made me feel. I’ve analyzed it of course, who could help themselves. This mob mentality. This naked allowance comes from the top down. Once those in power allowed such open hostility, such freedom of violence, under the guise of ‘free speech’ it allowed a certain mentality in our society to come out and show their own behaviors. Before it was hidden (I prefer that). Before, it wouldn’t have been thought to be allowed under good manners. My mother would have been horrified to have heard what happened to me, but equally so, my own return of their foul language. I am actually ashamed that I stooped that low, but I felt, at the time, that was the only language they would understand. I am pleased to realize the woman was frightened of me and took a step back when I confronted her. However, as soon as I used her language, she was less frightened, instead she thought I was just like her. I am in no way THAT person and I won’t do something like that again. I may stop and give her a look of ‘what planet are you from’ or ‘who raised you’ but I won’t use that language as it demeans me…and I don’t care about her.
It was sad to realize that this naked hostility is the norm. I had never seen it personally, experienced it, and only heard about it on the news or social media. I’m ashamed at my own reaction, however brief. I should have risen above it. I certainly don’t condone it.
Yes, having the free comped tickets is a nice gesture. The apology is nice as well, and, I felt, sincere. But, I don’t feel satisfied. I don’t feel safe. That ugliness can’t be glossed over and now I will feel the need to be guarded, not only in public like that, but even in my own home.
Well, this was all over a movie that I wanted to see. But, that isn’t even really the point. I should be able to go out in public without having the mob-mentality turn on me and making me feel a victim. I’m angry at myself. I’m angry at the powers that be that condone and allow it. I’m angry at myself that I used the words I did. I’m angry at a manager that could have explained their computers were down and just let me in, as the General Manager said I would have in the past. Btw, he said they would be addressing this incident tomorrow at their weekly manager meeting, first thing. Good, I hope someone learns something and they put things into place so that no one else is ever victimized. And yes, I will be using their tickets and going to this cinema again, as the next nearest one is over 30 miles away. I may not get out often, but I want to enjoy the times I do and this is one pleasure (normally) that I’m not willing to forego.
I did explain to the three people I spoke to that I have over 50,000 followers on social media and you can bet that I’m telling them the WHOLE story. I hope this explains it all adequately. I think Marcus Theatres is a FINE establishment and this was an isolated incident. They finally did the right thing and I got an apology. I certainly didn’t care about the free tickets or popcorn they offered (I get sick from their coconut oil that they use to make popcorn), I don’t know if the apology will make me feel better, it doesn’t at the moment. I don’t know what more they could do to make me feel better. However, they did what they could and I appreciate that. I will be going back.