Welcome to another edition of tales from a former cinema employee, today is a few tales about what it is like to be a manager or supervisor in a cinema. Sure you don’t have to do as much of the donkey work, but there are things you would trade down for in a flash. I have already spoken about rotas, but this is very much customer-related. Shall we?
This isn’t a toilet Sir…
I used to be a deputy manager in a small independent cinema and we ran the day with around 4 or so people. For a cinema employee, the easiest gig you could dream of. Anyway, one of the best staff I ever worked with came out to the box office, where I was sitting and said that I needed to help her with a gentleman still in the screen after the film had already finished. I very wrongly assumed that he was just asleep, as that is something that usually happens in our cinema as the audience that comes in is slightly skewed to the older demographic. When I get into the screen and see the gentleman he is very much awake…
I go down to his row and start to approach when I realise that his trousers are down by his ankles and he is trying to pull his underwear down. Yep, you read that right. I try to get his attention and ask him if he is okay. He states that he is trying to go to the toilet, where I politely and firmly as possibly inform him that he is still in the screen and that he can’t try to go to the toilet in here. He answers in the most confused manner I have heard with “I can’t? Oh, where are the toilets then?” I tell him and say I will guide him to them. He then went a different direction and then promptly left before we could get someone to follow him for a bit to make sure he was alright. The utter confusion of the poor man made us worry as I and the employee came out of the screen very confused, staff were asking days after about what happened. We never saw that guy again.
Pop the balloon
In part of the cinema I worked in, there is a high ceiling, not… very high ceiling. That’s fine until a rogue balloon floats loose and goes up to that section of the foyer. No biggie right? Well yes, except that the security sensors at the end of the night would pick up this continually moving balloon and they would not set or would go off at God knows what time in the middle of the night.
I bring together a little committee of staff as we all look up at this balloon and decided that we could try and pop it. The only issue is the height. We find the largest ladder we have, get numerous poles and cordon off the area and no one will go up and try and get the balloon, so as the on shift manager I climb up this 20-foot ladder holding a 12-foot pole and try to reach for this bloody balloon.
At this point, a small group of people are watching this endeavour go on. This will probably be the closest I get to feeling like a professional wrestler trying to reach for a belt in a ladder match. After numerous attempts, I keep missing and I am barely reaching the balloon anyway. After some staff found it a little fun, a few try and get at it as I have gotten to the point where I am offering a prize to the employee who gets it, but to no success. The balloon remains defiant, floating around in its vicious mocking manner.
Due to films starting soon we decide to give it a break for a bit. Then when I am in the office I hear multiple cheers, I look at the security cameras to the foyer and see some staff in the cordoned off zone celebrating, so I rewound the recording and saw staff throwing something towards what I assumed was the balloon. From a health and safety standpoint, I was mortified. I was unhappy, yet happy at the same time for the fact that it was over. The balloon was defeated! That’s the best part right? Or that is what I try to tell myself.
Testing the audio description headphones
When the cinema employees new staff, they need to learn about what we offer. Luckily technology has come a long way and we can offer customers who are sight or hearing impaired headphones or Bluetooth technology so they can still have a great experience. With that said a new group had started in February and I was a new supervisor tasked with showing them how our audio description headphones worked, in case a customer asked them for assistance. An easy, but important task.
I direct the group into the first screen near our ticket desk and explain the process etc, etc. As we enter the theatre the audio description kicks in and I immediately freeze in the side corridor as I have walked this group straight into Fifty Shades of Grey and during one of the many sex scenes. This is what we hear…
“He grabs her bare legs firmly as she straddles him, grinding into him” and so on. One of the girls in the let out a yelp and we hurriedly walk back to the desk. All of them are bright red and I apologise, well I try to apologise, I mostly laugh. Everyone thinks I did it on purpose, but nope, pure accident! I now wonder what it must be like for the person to have to describe these scenes and what goes on through their head! Good times.
We will leave it there for this week and I will come back with more manager based stories another time. I hope you have enjoyed this, if so. Have a read of the previous ones below! Until next time.