Understand first that there were several showings of this movie earlier in the day yesterday ... Friday June, 10, 2001.
"Tree Of Life" started out fairly normal, but at frequent points throughout the movie the soundtrack would cut out leaving the theater in silence for some random amount of time. The random amounts of time seemed to get longer as the movie progressed.
The first problem is that in this age of minimum wage service workers and maximizing profit apparently they do not have projectionists that does anything but claim to spot check the movie occasionally. With movie prices north of $10 these days why can't movie theaters provide some service for their customers by reacting when the picture or sound goes out of the movie is severely out of focus? I have had this happen many times in many theaters but it seems to get worse over time. not better as it should.
Being proactive and a bit of a type-A I am often the first person to go out into the lobby and try to track down someone to fix the movie. That means I get to lose the experience of sitting through the movie and enjoying it instead I have to get up and complain and often walk all around theaters to find who is not off taking a break or something.
One suggestion for good service would be to give a free pass to anyone who reports a validated problem in a theater. Maybe dock the projectionist's pay if the audience reports it before he is on the jobto fix it.
Since there were other showings of this movie it seems logical that they had the same problem with the movie previously, yet they acted like it was a big surprise when 20-30 people are standing in the lobby to complain about the movie. But no, they have to make their opening day movie sales, so they keep the shows going even when they know they are not going to be providing a good movie experience to them. This is basically a minor form of fraud isn't it?
When I got to finally talk to someone they had no explanation of what was wrong. They told me that there was no one monitoring the movie, only occasionally spot checking.
They took about 20 minutes to start processing the refund lines and at that time they only give a free pass.
Personally given all the other bad faith errors and mistakes they seemingly had made - it seems to me they should at least give everyone 2 passes as a way of apologizing and meaning it. Here is why ...
If I am going to see a movie I have a night planned to see a movie I presumably care about and want to see. When that night and that movie are ruined, it is nice that I am remunerated, albeit foot-dragginly slow, but if I use that pass to see the same movie I am not made whole in the sense of being compensated. Seeing the same movie again when it is ruined is not compensating people, and if I see another movie that is again nice, but that experience does not make up for the experience of wasting a whole night on the other movie. One pass does not compensate viewers and when the fault is the theaters it is almost an insult.
No, what is fair is for everyone affected to get two passes in order to be properly apologized to and reimbursed for what should be the theater's mistake. After all they could set the movie up and play it ahead of time if they were professional and wanted to really serve their customers.
In this age of Amazon.Com and other customer-centric businesses, why are movies theaters ... and in particular this Cinemark theater chain that runs both the Palo Alto Square and Century Theaters in this area so customer-UNcentric?
I am sorry to rant on at such length about this, but does anyone have any suggestions how to push these businesses off their lazy, greedy seats and motivate them again to provide theatergoers with excellent movie-going experiences? Embarassing them on Palo Alto Online is the only thing I could think of. Thank you.