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TOPIC: Ticket checker or rep. of some sort?

Ticket checker or rep. of some sort? 05 Jun 2008 17:31 #19012

  • jenhelene
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A man came in to my theater to watch a movie (and is in a movie right now, actually), and his actions seemed a little strange and I was wondering if anyone had an idea of who he could be. It's more of a curiosity thing than a major worry.

He came in through the doors with a soft briefcase-like carrier and said loudly while entering, "Do you know what day it is today?"

I said, "Thursday?"

He shook his head, and began to unpack a few folders from his briefcase onto a table near the concession stand. It was far enough away that it was impossible for me to tell what business it was. He said, "No. Today is a day that I watch TWO movies".

I said, "Oh okay. Maltese Falcon, and...?" (Maltese Falcon was the next showing, and he was a half hour early).

"I can't remember the other one."

"My Blueberry Nights?" I asked. "That one is more popular. It stars Jude Law, Natalie Portman..."

"Yeah I'll take that one."

He asked for coffee, which is not a usual request, but when people request it, we make it and give it out free (it's cheap coffee). He handed me his thermos from his briefcase and after brewing some, I filled it up for him. He asked how much he owed me, and I told him that it was free. He seemed confused. He sat down and took out a book, although he spent a lot of his time looking around and not reading it.

He came up to the counter and said "I really need to pay for my coffee". I said "Don't worry about it". And he said, "No. I INSIST on paying for it". He gave me two dollars and I said "I will put it in our donation box". (We are a non-profit theater). He laughed and said "Donation?! I don't know what that means!" (I have no idea what he meant by that).

About 5 mins before the showtime (he was the only one that had been in so far), he said, "What theater am I in?" I tend to be very straightforward in my thinking, and said "The Harbor Theater". He said "in Muskegon, Michigan?" and I said, "Yes." He nodded and started to walk to the auditorium doors (we have two screens). It dawned on me that perhaps he meant "WHICH AUDITORIUM AM I IN", and I told him to go into the left theater for his first movie.

His questioning the town could have been a very dry sarcasm, but he seemed genuine with his question.

a few more people came into the theater, and he didn't seem to take any notes of them. He sat in the middle, not the back of the theater.

Who could this guy be??

Is it possible that he could be reporting our ticket prices to a film studio? I know Warner Bros. has been on our backs a little for charging a lesser amount for WB classics and a higher amount for new WB movies. They want it to be the same, higher price. We said that we would not show WB classics at night and thus consider them a MATINEE. The guy bought a classic ticket and a new release, although My Blueberry Nights isn't from Warner Bros.

Any ideas??? Should I just ask him if I am so darn curious or would that be offensive or pointless because he could just lie to me?
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Re: Ticket checker or rep. of some sort? 05 Jun 2008 17:47 #19013

  • puzzlegut
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He sounds like a strange character. You could always ask him just out of curiosity. The worst he could do is just be rude to you about it.
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Re: Ticket checker or rep. of some sort? 05 Jun 2008 18:53 #19014

  • rodeojack
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This is not how a checker operates.

Ask for his studio authorization and personal identification. Copy both. If he does not have this documentation, or will not produce it, ask him to leave or call the police.

Checkers will have an introductory letter and a count page. They do not show up just to watch your movies. They also have no right or expectation of any concession "courtesies".

I think you're being seriously scammed.


[This message has been edited by rodeojack (edited June 05, 2008).]
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Re: Ticket checker or rep. of some sort? 05 Jun 2008 19:31 #19015

  • jenhelene
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Well, he DID pay for both movies and resisted free coffee. So I don't think his motive is free stuff. The second movie is just finishing up. If he loiters around or starts taking more notes (while cleaning the theater I noticed him scrawling things in a legal pad notepad), I will ask him what he is up to. And of course, post it


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Re: Ticket checker or rep. of some sort? 05 Jun 2008 19:50 #19016

  • jenhelene
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Aurghhh! He ran out of the theater before I could come back downstairs to scope him out. Oh well.
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Re: Ticket checker or rep. of some sort? 05 Jun 2008 20:45 #19017

  • trackfood
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He just seems like a weirdo to me

Have had plenty of those over the years...
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Re: Ticket checker or rep. of some sort? 06 Jun 2008 01:25 #19018

  • BurneyFalls
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Sounds like just a weirdo to me, too. Or, just maybe, he is from some newspaper or other publication and going to write up a nice review of your theatre.
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Re: Ticket checker or rep. of some sort? 06 Jun 2008 11:36 #19019

  • rodeojack
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OK... I re-read your post (ummm... should have done that first?). Missed where he paid for his tickets.

Does sound like a strange bird. Maybe the elevator doesn't quite make it to the top. Who knows? That may have been his big night out for the month.
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Re: Ticket checker or rep. of some sort? 16 Jun 2008 13:56 #19020

  • Driordan
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We had a guy come into our theater multiple times and act strangely, he came early, sat in the auditorium and appeared to take notes, went to the bathroom three times (maybe he had another problem, though!) watched the movie, and left out an exit. Then we started getting calls asking for expenses and revenue information from a guy who said he was doing a college project for a business class. We are owned by the Town of Normal so, actually some of this information is public, and although I strongly urged against answering some of his questions, the Town overseers gave him full access to everything he wanted. Then about two months away from that, someone submitted a business proposal to take over the management of our theater, and said they could make it turn a huge profit (not just break-even)! The next thing I know, I'm fighting to keep my job and to keep someone from a rival, independent theatre from taking over my theater, which (in retrospect) we found out he wanted to control us so his theater could utilize our theater's budget - provided by the town. His business plan did not show a 'turned profit' as well; turns out he left out paying the film companies their percentages!
Now, you're weirdo guy could have been just that - a weirdo guy. Or, like my case, he could be someone who is doing a little 'undercover' work for another competitor. Err on the side of caution, get a big usher to stand with you, and next time, ask just what the guy is doing. Maybe if you dog him a little bit (have someone keep an eye on him noticably), he'll stop taking notes and leave. We can all afford to lose the weird customers - otherwise they'll keep us up late at night when we need precious sleep!

[This message has been edited by Driordan (edited June 16, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by Driordan (edited June 16, 2008).]
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Re: Ticket checker or rep. of some sort? 11 Jul 2008 19:05 #19021

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Interesting -- thanks for sharing your story.

Maybe I am just paranoid. But I don't like that line between not knowing and not wanting to call out a weirdos actions just to find he is just some weirdo and I insulted him!

Next time though, I'm asking!
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