Welcome back to another part in our series of tales of working in a cinema. Today we want to talk about having to deal with drunk patrons in a cinema. Not the best situation for cinema staff if we are honest. Why you ask? Sometimes alcohol and films that last over two hours do not mix well. Let’s talk about the type of drunks you get in a cinema and why you should never be one, shall we?
The drunk group of over 35 ladies
Without a doubt the most hated group of any drunks in a cinema to any cinema staff. This group came to the attention to cinema employees during the horrible years of Fifty Shades of Grey. Let me break it down to you what happened on the FIRST NIGHT of that stupid horrible film.
Being the good employee I was, I decided to seat the screen and on the very first show the first group of ladies came running into the screen and one ran ahead and got to her seat and sadly proclaimed to the others that “Oh no girls, there are no vibrators on these seats”. Stunned silence amongst me and my other staff who heard it… It let it us know exactly what was coming for the next couple of weeks. But even that wasn’t anything near what was to come.
Upon coming to the foyer, queues of women yelling loudly to each other. It really did feel like the beginning of a pre-night out for some of these ladies. We later found out that some groups were being driven in by minibuses… Bloody minibuses! Coming from the restaurants nearby. Just hundreds of them. We were outmatched and outgunned in this fight. At one point in the foyer one of our staff sadly named Gray said as much to a customer and she promptly began to dry hump him in the middle of a packed foyer. Absolute madness.
Later that weekend this employee made an absolutely harmless and in my opinion correct comment to a group who were doing something similar and stated that they should act their age. I should preface this that they were very drunk and quite aggressive and loud. They took this comment poorly… To be fair it was hilarious as it was very true. They weren’t being respectful to the staff or their fellow audience with their attitude and antics. Yet they had the gall to post a complaint on Facebook about this employee and how they were treated. Unsurprisingly for a big company, they immediately apologised to the customer and offered free tickets etc for their next visit. But ohhhhh no, this stuck up person wanted one of the best cinema employees around to be sacked because he literally just had enough of her nonsense.
I was livid with this as I wasn’t on that night (there were only so many nights of 50 Shades of Grey a cinema employee could take.) but I really do not know what I would have done as a manager in that situation. If my employee was being abused I am pretty sure I would have asked for that customer to leave. If he had made the comment that he did, obviously he would have been pushed to that comment, I probably would have just refunded the group of everything they had purchased and been done with it. The fact he had to have meetings about this angered me greatly and obviously still does to this day.
One thing we really struggled with was actually the sober customers during these films as for the first week it was constantly sold-out or as close to sold-out shows as possible and the chaos going on in the screens, you just could not control it with the few staff available. So obviously the sober sane people would get annoyed at all of this. But with a screen full of over 400 people with over half-drunk. The only option would be to stop the screen, get security from the shopping centre to come in and remove everyone we could see with alcohol or who were acting up via the cameras. This would delay the show by over 30 minutes at least… For over 30 showings. It just wasn’t feasible for us to work it. A lot of refunds had to be issued due to the way it had gotten out of hand.
But at least we were not like Glasgow where people were getting stabbed with broken bottles for taking someone’s seat. I need to remind you that this was just a bloody film about a girl getting her sex on with a slightly kinky rich lad. Never before or since have I encountered what happened during those weeks and I worked in a cinema afterwards that had a bloody bar in it!
I hope you enjoyed this weeks jaunt down memory lane about working in a cinema. As you can see we only crossed upon one of the types of drunken customers you could encounter. Come back next time for a couple more!