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TOPIC: Teens loitering in lobby

Re: Teens loitering in lobby 02 Mar 2006 13:27 #20648

  • puzzlegut
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jimor: I can understand your anger with your previous experiences. If a theater is NOT willing to do anything to help the problem, and there is obvious reason for getting upset. However, at our theater, if someone complains while the movie is running, we WILL do something about it. We will first give a warning to the patrons and tell them if the acts continue, then they will be leaving. Usually the warning is enough and they will behave themselves. We want to give everybody the oportunity to behave themselves before they leave (although if the people are being rowdy before the start of the movie, then they get their warning then and there before the movie starts). If the problem persists, then we ask them to leave.

The problem that we have is that we can't babysit the movies. We are a very small theater and have very few employees (on the weekends after the last set of shows start, generally only the manager is the only one left through the end of the night). We are way too busy running the concession stand, watching the lobby, and operating the projection room to sit in the auditoriums for a long amount of time. We do try to check up on the auditoriums every so often (and if we know there is a group of rowdy teens, then we'll usually check on those auditoriums more often). However a problem that can arise from this is that whenever the doors to the audtoriums open, the disruptive people will turn around and see that it's a theater employee and they'll behave themselves; it's hard for us to catch them in the act when they're going to quite down whenever they see us enter the auditorium. That's why we depend on our patrons to let us know if there is a problem anytime during the movie. There have even been times when we've told people as they bought their tickets that there are a bunch of teens in that movie and to come out and let us know if they get out of hand. Yes I know that coming out of the movie takes time away from that person's movie, but it isn't much different then someone coming out to use the bathroom, smoke a cigarette, or get a refill of pop and popcorn. And besides, if people are really being bothered by noisy patrons, then giving up a couple of minutes to complain will be better then sitting in the auditorium for 90 mins and not enjoying the movie. We want to help our customers and make their night every bit enjoyable, but if there are any problems, the customer needs to let us know about the problem so we can fix it or at least give us the chance to fix it.
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Re: Teens loitering in lobby 02 Mar 2006 13:30 #20649

  • outaframe
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JIMOR's post is definately a horror story in the extreme, but certainly explains WHY we are losing much of our audience... Keeping a lid on things is NOT easy, but unless you intend to stand up and be counted, and do what HAS to be done to run an ORDERLY theater, you belong in another line of work... You will make yourself unpopular with a small percentage of the audience AND their parents, but eventually you will win the war, one small battle at a time... True, some adults will complain after the fact, when it's too late to correct the problem, but they really shouldn't HAVE to do your job for you... THAT'S part of what they paid for when they bought their ticket: the right to enjoy the movie without hassle or distraction... Look at it from their perspective: do you patronize businesses that let their other customers run rampant... I dont!...

[This message has been edited by outaframe (edited March 02, 2006).]
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Re: Teens loitering in lobby 03 Mar 2006 10:33 #20650

  • jimor
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I'm glad to read that Puzzlegut runs a disciplined operation, but in my experience his quality house is in the minority. I hope I didn't give the impression that there is an easy answer to the situation, because there isn't, as Outaframe well brought out. No exhibitor went into the biz expecting to be a policeman along with all the risks that that entails! But the sad fact is that our society is disintegrating with 95% of the population having no real morals. After all, just look at the dreck we are supposed to put on our screens! Ebert and Roeper and their ilk can only comment on the 'technique quality' of what they review, not the abysmall absence of morality implied if not flaunted in most of the films. The recent film "The Weather Man" sounded like an innocuous title and Nicholas Gage has given fine performances before, but the film is a wallow in filthy dialogue, abuse of the charactors, and prurient, embarrassing images (a number of closeups of clothed vaginas, in this case!) so with such as this, how can we expect people to be inspired to goodness and respect for neighbor in auditoriums and elsewhere?!

I am not so naive as to think that this situation will change, which is partially the reason that our cinemas are getting difficult to control, and anyone standing up to confront or complain about the miscreants is sometimes literally taking his life in his hands. I can only say that I sympathize with exhibs these days and am happy that I'm not one myself. My only recourse is to avoid the ever more squalid 'no-man's-lands' of cinemas today where even if you can find someone responsible to complain to, it could cost one all enjoyment of the place -- and maybe some of his blood too (the miscreants will indeed note who complained and retalliate after management leaves or outside when one leaves). Are you prepared to hire burly security guards to escort complainer patrons to their cars? I didn't think so.

Michael Medved brought out much of this in his "Hollywood vs America" ( http://tinyurl.com/kv6z5 ) but I think we are only beginning to see the behavior become routinely bad. The worst is yet to come. If you have an alternate occupation, now may be the time to look closely at it. Best Wishes, Jim

[This message has been edited by jimor (edited March 03, 2006).]
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Teens loitering in lobby 03 Mar 2006 22:29 #20651

  • jacker5
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All this talk about violence in theatres has to do with the area your in. Urban city areas always have there problems, but small town cinemas still can control the problems with a displined act of action!
It is not bad all over!
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Re: Teens loitering in lobby 04 Mar 2006 21:19 #20652

  • mpopham
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My question is, what about kids who loiter around after the picture is over?

This is usually after the last show of the evening....we have kids who hang around in the vestibule waiting for a ride. Seems rude to put them out into the cold, especially since their parents ought to be taking care of them. But I don't feel comfortable leaving the lobby unattended when someone is still there.

Suggestions?
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Re: Teens loitering in lobby 04 Mar 2006 21:52 #20653

  • Pieman
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We usually just wait with them and another staff member will clean the cinemas. We used to just leave them and clean, but after several thefts, we no longer do that. After a few minutes we will ask them if they want to use the phone. Most parents will show up 10 mins later, though one night we had parents show up over half an hour late. She pulled up, the kids ran outside, not a word of thanks for waiting etc. Our policy now is if theyre still there when we are ready to go home, depending on the kids ages, we will run them around to the police station if under 15 and if over 15 we ask them if they want us to wait outside with them. We haven't had to use the first policy and i hope we never do, but we have used the second several times. Most often they will say no not to wait. Once or twice we have, but its never more than 5 mins
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Re: Teens loitering in lobby 05 Mar 2006 01:49 #20654

  • BurneyFalls
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I had to call the Sheriff's Office twice to come get the same two kids (about 8- and 10-yr-olds) whose mother had not come to get them an hour after the show had ended. The second time I told them they should think about child neglect charges against her.
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Re: Teens loitering in lobby 05 Mar 2006 04:17 #20655

  • outaframe
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Years ago I had a similar situation... 45 minutes after the movie was over and I had cleaned the auditorium, there were a couple of kids of about that age still waiting for their mother to pick them up... On two occasions I finally just took them home (wintertime temps) rather than wait any longer for the mother... The next time it happened I sent them to wait in the police station next door and went home... I finally decided that the mother could care less, and that IF I would take them home, she wouldn't have to bother... However, if I had an accident on the way, she would set a speed record hunting up a lawyer... Or, I might be accused of something deviate involving the children... Since that time, if the parents aren't there 15 minutes after the movie ends, I send them to the police station and close up... People will use you like a public toilet IF you'll stand still for it!...
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Re: Teens loitering in lobby 05 Mar 2006 14:07 #20656

  • theBigE
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DON'T GIVE KIDS RIDES HOME! Unless it's a relative or close friend's kid, just don't do it. In this litigious society, all it takes is for one kid to even suggest that you did something deviant with them and you are history.

I work with high school kids. We're now told never to be alone with a kid in a classroom, even in the middle of the day. We need to keep our classroom doors open if we ever have a student alone with us in a room. When you are the only adult alone with one or two kids it's just not a good situation. I'd make them wait outside after a half hour or so, after first calling their parents.
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Re: Teens loitering in lobby 05 Mar 2006 14:47 #20657

  • Mike
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Our two theatres are in very small towns. We are very popular. Kids love to come. I am Dr. Jek and Mr. Hyde. Nice guy but push it and you'll find out that loitering and manners matter. Everyone has said everything. You don't run a bar for the three worst actors in town. Same with the movies. It's for the public. It's not a hang out. It's not a club. Drwa the line and then toe it. Say what you mean and mean what you say. 80% of small business fails in 5 years: don't be part of that statistic. If you have not got the guts then get someone to do the job for you.

Michael Hurley
Impresario
Michael Hurley
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Re: Teens loitering in lobby 06 Mar 2006 09:39 #20658

  • ShyGrl2408
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I don't own or manage the place I work at, but we have 10 screens and seaming at times 10,000 teens on the weekends.
We have an unusal setup that there is no ticket booth by the front door which allows kids to sneak in when someone is away from concession(If I owned it THAT would be changed). But they don't allow teens to loiter inside, and try to keep them from it on the outside. At least make them move away from the front doors.
If you give them an inch they will try to take a mile. Not to kick them out on their tush, but to set boundries.
And the people will complain no matter what. Can't keep everyone happy all the time.

Good Luck.
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Re: Teens loitering in lobby 06 Mar 2006 14:30 #20659

  • dsschoenborn
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WE have more problems with teens on the street in front of our theatre since we are a downtown location. If they are in front of our business and are too load or crude normally we just call the police and let them tell them to move along.

We also ask them to leave the theatre if they are miss behaving in the auditoium. We always offer to let them use the phone if they need to call for a ride and let them stay in the outter lobby if they are young. They normally leave to walk around. Every now and then a parent come to complain that we put her sweet child out on the street and that is unsafe. We always explain that they were offered a phone call and could stay in the outter lobby until their ride got there. It was their choice to not call and walk the street so that you did not find out they got kicked out.

I have even told some of my regular customers that Friday night is Jr High night. It has been for ever for some reason that is when they come in mass. If they don't want to share the lobby and theatre with a bunch of Jr High kids then they can think of Sat night for dates.
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Re: Teens loitering in lobby 06 Mar 2006 19:55 #20660

  • cat
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I worry about the impression theatres that post a stark message on the entrance doors warning youngsters of dire consequences if they misbehave are sending to the patronage at large. It would suggest that they've had problems in the past and would make me wonder why they had to take such a drastic step. It wouldn't seem to be an especially friendly place to go to see a movie, either. I experienced this last summer when I went to see "March of the Penguins" in one of Flagship's shoeboxes in Thomaston, ME. That theatre had problems with projection and HVAC (no surprise there) but the kiddies were reasonably well-behaved.
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Re: Teens loitering in lobby 07 Mar 2006 15:42 #20661

  • Filmfisher
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On a personal note: I appreciate the time and effort of those at bigscreenbiz.com as well as all of you who share information. Is there an "event" where the small independent theater owner's could get together, meet and greet, brainstorm. Sort of a mini-Show West??? Good to put faces to names and thank you in person. OKAY enough mush on to my question.

Does anyone have a written policy that outlines expectations?

Would you be willing to share the outline?

Do you post it, if so where?

How do you communicate with the public your policy.

Our theater was literally ran by teenagers prior to our arrival. The horror stories we have been told would literally scare you. I shake my head at the behavior of folks in public and their lack of respect for others.

We we initially started we literally had adults walking up to the admission desk and prior to handing their money to you said "Are you going to make the kids shut up". A year almost and we are yet to tap the "Adult" market as we should.

I hate those faces with the "X" that says do not talk, etc. We purchased a PSA that features "Grandma" telling folks to keep their feet of the furniture, shut up, turn off your cell phones. It's entertaining but the dire hards just won't. Prior to the PSA, I go into the theater (1 screen) ask about the temperature of the room, remind them of the NO outside food or drink, Cell phone off, and if anything prevents you from enjoying your moviegoing experience here DO NOT wait until after the movie, come find me.

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Re: Teens loitering in lobby 09 Mar 2006 12:52 #20662

  • take2
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I often wondered why tickets in many theatres went on sale only a half hour before the show. Now I know. I was attending a theatre located in a California Mall and the gathering of teens was over powering. They were loud and didn't much care about who was around. Once in the theatre it was another matter. The theatre owners had roped off areas for in and out to each theatre, (there were six). They had a handle on the inside situation but the outside by the ticket booth was a mess.
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