My name is Saul! I'm an award winning Word of Mouth Marketer, Professional Speaker on the subjects of Social Media, Customer Service and best of all... Word of Mouth. I collect Air Force One sneakers and think you should hire me... (as a consultant) to teach you how to get your company doing interesting things!
the smartest man in the world.

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Photos from the Drupal Conference in San Francisco, CA 2010

Sunday, May 05, 2008

Ever had such a bad experience with something that you could not wait to blog about it?

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Now before I get into what happened to me this afternoon I would like to point out that I don’t think I have ever bashed a company on my site before (and I am not really going to do it know) and while I plan on handling this report with class and dignity I was moved by the horribleness of the situation to drop my thoughts here.

So here I go.

If you were following my twitter posts this you would already know that I did a slew of errands and juggled some things just so I could sneak away and see the Iron Man movie.

What you may not know is that I LOVE MOVIES! Going to movies is my great escape and I cherish the few opportunities to get to go see film in the theater. With kids and work and other obligations I just don’t get to the theater that much…I see a bunch of movies at home and dig that but the experience of losing yourself in the darkness of a big theater is one of my favorite things.

So that brings me to to this afternoon.

I got to the theater at 4:15 for a 4:10 showing of Iron Man. Racing into the theater I was surprised that the movie hadn’t started (not even the commercials or the coming attractions). I didn’t think much of it and was pretty jazzed by it because I would be able to soak in the whole experience…because for me, experience is the only reason to go to out to see movies and not watch them at home.

After starting 20 minutes late (not a big deal) a weird thing happened. About 40 minutes into the film the lights came up and the film stopped(this was a big deal). 30 more minutes passed before anyone from the theater came in to say anything and all they did say was they think this is a technical glitch and it should be fixed soon. Iron Man started again and I am not sure how much more time passed but the same thing happened again (15 minute wait this time to get it started again) and finally the movie stopped a third time. I actually walked out when the film stopped a third time because I had been in the theater for 3+ hours to see a 2 hour movie. I also left because my cell phone was ringing off the hook asking where I was since dinner was on the table etc.

I understand that technical glitches happen and that is not what bothered me the most….well it did bother me because I was really looking forward to seeing Iron Man and I still don’t know how it ends but the thing that surprised me most was that several people walked out with me and were told by the Manager that there would be no refunds or compensation of any kind since they did have the opportunity to see the entire “performance” if they just went back in and sat through the glitches.

This really bothered me and I know why.

I didn’t care about getting my money back and I wasn’t looking for or expected anything but being told that the theater had somehow lived up to their obligation to us ticket holders because they planned on showing the rest of the film even if it takes 4 1/2 hours to do it was full of arrogance and boggles my mind that this was their idea of an acceptable plan to make this better.

A big part of my job is to make the fantastic people who use our product feel special. I love my job and am always thinking of new ways to do it better. Because of this I was amazed by the shortsighted view of this manager and it left me with such a negative feeling that I couldn’t help but share the story.

I didn’t stick around to see how this ended up but if the manager does read this I hope he know knows that a negative experience is twice as likely to wind up in blog somewhere than a positive one and he or she (trying to preserve the identity) should really learn some people skills if they are going to deal with people.

….and if anyone can tell me what happens once Pepper Potts downloads all those files to the flash drive I would appriciate if you could drop me an email letting me know!

  1. The manager’s reaction was completely corporatist. His action driven by job description, accountability, checklists. He has no time for humans. That decision is made way up the chain.

    Which brings up the question: shouldn’t we know at least which theatre chain we’re talking about here. And, if they’re all web two oh, they’ll be ushering you into a limo and setting you up with the vip treatment for some premiere or sneak preview or some such. But somehow i doubt that’s about to happen.

    Your recourse is snail mail, i’d think. And for your efforts you’ll get twenty dollars in coupons for popcorn combo packs and three free movie passes. Min.

    The thing is the manager you ran into hates his job, and hence hates his customers. Probably hates movies.

    The theatre experience itself is horrific. I feel hated. Why should this chain – or the whole movie going experience – not be open to review?

  2. Saul:

    This blog may make you feel better but its ineffectual.

    You need to call the company out by name.

    For example, I think one of the last times I went to the movies was about 5 years ago and the movie stopped then too. I forgot the film and don’t cherish the movie experience as much as you do (too many screaming babies, rude teenagers and general hooliganism for my entertainment dollar).

    But the kicker, similar to your experience was the response from management for a film that stopped playing. They were not going to refund my money. I fixed that.

    Worst of all, on this Friday night at the Regal Cinemas on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, NY was that the manager on duty for one of their busiest nights was a 17 year old high school student…running 8 theaters!

    All that time past and I still haven’t forgotten that lousy experience at Regal Cinemas.

    Blogs are the new complaint letter.

    Best always,
    – Peter

  3. A glitch happened when I was in a theatre once and despite getting the show running (even though we had to watch 20 minutes of the film over), no further glitches happened AND they gave us free passes for next time.

    I can fill you in on the Ironman ending if no one else has yet.

  4. Yes, I had a strangely anti-customer experience yesterday that I vented about in my blog. I contact a media site about advertising opportunities, asking if a particular date was available.

    First response was “nope.”


    I asked asked about other dates for May:

    2nd response: “nope. all booked up”

    3rd attempt asked for dates in June and the response I received was:

    “Until I know who you are, I cannot sell you a placement”

    4th attempt (I was curious to see how far she would take this) gave her a 3-paragraph description of our business and the reply was priceless:

    “I don’t know who you are and what your mandate is…”

    Huh? I need to do this just to see if a date is available or not??

    5th attempt: I went to her competitor and unsubscribed from her publication.

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