Theatre etiquette for the popcorn enthusiast
By Natalie Serafini, Opinions Editor
As college students, I think we’ve all had to work crappy jobs at some point. We have few marketable skills that can get us jobs outside of the service industry, so most of you reading this have probably worked in some sort of burger-flipping, strained-smiling, on-your-feet-all-day job. And of course, an inherent part of the service industry is serving people. Having worked at a movie theatre, I witnessed plenty of annoying customer habits that could easily be changed so everyone, including the employees, can have a better overall experience.
Sneaking food in isn’t actually a big deal. So few people do it that it doesn’t really make a difference, and I even did it while I was working at the theatre. But if you sneak food in, whether it’s carrots, pistachios, chocolate bars, or cake, don’t leave a huge mess for the employees to clean up. The majority of the theatre’s earnings—and so, the money with which they pay their employees—comes from concession. If you don’t buy food, or if you sneak it in, that’s one thing. You may not be contributing to maintenance of services provided to you, but you’re not abusing them. Leaving a massive mess for theatre employees is another matter entirely. Not only are you not helping to pay the employees’ salaries, but you’re forcing them to clean up after you. Imagine for a moment if you will: you’re stumbling through a mountain of popcorn boxes and bags, with bits of popcorn crunching and crackling under your feet. You feel little bits of kernels getting stuck in the rivets of your shoes, and you have to peel your feet from the pools of sticky soda. As you grasp out, trying not to inhale the stench of nachos and popcorn, you come upon a pile of pistachios. The pistachios, or rather pistachio shells, sit insolently on the ground in front of you. The theatre doesn’t sell pistachios. It sells a wide variety of overpriced foods, but none of them include pistachios. And although you don’t get paid from pistachio monies, you have to clean up nasty ass pistachio shells. Not cool.
On a similar note, don’t leave behind used condoms or diapers. Some of my former co-workers have in fact stumbled upon disgusting objects of this nature. Although it’s the theatre employees’ jobs to clean up after you, no one wants to touch that, so don’t leave it behind.
This is a pretty obvious one, but don’t complain about things the employees can’t control. Ticket prices aren’t even decided by the managers, and the food prices aren’t either. You may be frustrated by how much money you’re shelling out, but the employee you’re complaining to doesn’t control that, so don’t bother.
If you get a Print Skip Scan ticket, print your ticket at home. It’s in the title, and it’s on every page in the process of purchasing your tickets online. If you don’t print them off, you have to wait in line at the box office, email your confirmation information to the managers, and wait for the managers to print off your tickets and bring them out to you. Sounds like a long, tedious hassle, doesn’t it? By not printing off your tickets, you completely defeat the purpose of skipping the line up. In fact, you wait longer than if you had simply bought your tickets at the box office and had a human interaction. Either buy your tickets in person, or buy them online and follow the instructions correctly.
Working at a theatre is a thankless job, where you have to wear a stupid hat and smell like grease all the time. By doing just some of these things, you make the jobs of these underpaid, overworked employees a whole lot better. Not to mention that, if they don’t have to clean up disgusting objects, or call the managers to get your tickets, the theatre employees will probably be more pleasant too.