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TOPIC: Worst customer stories

Worst customer stories 13 May 2004 13:38 #24417

  • puzzlegut
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Does anyone have any worst customer stories they would like to share. I know all of us have had a bad customer once in awhile. I'd be curious to hear what stories some of you have to share and how you handled the situation and possibly other people's ideas for dealing with certain situations.
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Re: Worst customer stories 13 May 2004 14:36 #24418

  • criterion
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Years ago, when I worked at a Goodrich multiplex, I was tearing tickets when an older gentleman came up to me and said:

"Son, you better get someone in that bathroom... it looks like a cow blew up in there!"

As much as I really, really, really* wanted to go check it out for myself (*note the sarcasm), we were in the middle of a rush and I couldn't do anything but tell the manager. He in turn passed the clean-up task on to the assistant manager, who passed it on to a part-timer with seniority, who passed it on to a newer guy, and on and on until it ended up back on the manager's desk. Long story short, the manager had to clean it up and to this day he has yet to fathom what could have left that sort of mess in a men's restroom stall.

Yuck.
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Re: Worst customer stories 13 May 2004 14:42 #24419

  • WGA
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Too funny
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Re: Worst customer stories 13 May 2004 17:16 #24420

  • outaframe
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OK, some of this is gross, but since you ASKED:

RESTROOM STORIES:

Early 1970's, walked into men's room to find a freshly laid, steaming "road ranger" lying in the urinal... This thing looked like something an elephant would produce: it was literally the size of a softball bat!... I gathered it up in a couple of large candy boxes, and deposited it to the city's flip-top trash container out on the sidewalk...

Just before Christmas mid-1970's, very slow night with only a handful of college kids, who had eaten dinner at the restaurant/bar down the street... Closing time, I walked into the men's room and the smell nearly knocked me down!... Evidently, one had "hurled" his spaghetti (with Parmesan cheese) and beer dinner everywhere!... I would hold my breath, scoop it up in (many) candy boxes, and dump it in the same trash container, above... Took me half an hour to clean it up, and about two years before I could stand the smell of Parmesan cheese!...

Late 1970's, I walked into the men's room to find a kid, about 12 years old, standing on a toilet and "hosing" in a semi-circle... I told him he was gonna hafta clean it up... He asked for a mop: I said NO WAY, use your t-shirt!... He refused, so I said OK, we're going to the Police Station (next door)... He decided to use his t-shirt, and after several moppings and wringings, he had it all mopped up... I made him put the shirt back on, and told him I'd better not see any more of him that night... When the movie was over, he came back out to the lobby, and he was with his MOTHER!... I thought "Oh sh*t, here we go," but she just smiled pleasantly, as they left... He obviously didn't tell her what happen (thankfully) BUT I'll bet he never pulled that little number again, either!...

WORST CUSTOMER:

Early 1980's, just before closing the boxoffice, a guy in his late twenties walked in and bought a ticket... I could smell alcohol on his breath, but he was acting normally and tracking fine, and I thought nothing more about it... About half an hour later, he came out to the lobby and started making a pest of himself, then became belligerent... I offered his money back and asked him to leave... He refused, so I went next door and brought a cop back with me... I pushed the money into his hand, and asked again that he leave... He refused again, and I told the cop "he's all yours."... I hoped he would just escort the guy out, but evidently he arrested him for public intox... About a week later, I found a 1/4" plate glass in the boxoffice shattered... It would have taken something like a ball bat to do that, so I assume the guy came back for some "get even" when they let him out of the crowbar bedroom!...

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Re: Worst customer stories 14 May 2004 08:25 #24421

  • puzzlegut
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outofframe: "Early 1970's, walked into men's room to find a freshly laid, steaming "road ranger" lying in the urinal... "

The same thing happend to us a few months ago.

outofframe - I think you are pretty lucky to have your theatre next to a police station. If there ever is a problem, you can just go next door and get somebody. I know some of our problems would be taken care of if the police were just a few feet away.

Now, I have the worst customer story to end all worst customer stories. However, I need to set up the story. Back around Halloween of last year, we printed a bunch of free passes, most of which were donated to the locale chamber of commerce and they were set to expire on New Year's Eve of that year (it was clearly marked on the tickets when they were expired).

Anyway, on New Year's Day, a woman with 2 kids came in trying to use 3 of the passes that expired the day before. I politely explained to her that the passes were expired. She still insisted on using the passes. I told her I would check with my partner to see what he said and her response was "Yeah you better because this is bull." My partner came out and pretty much explained to her the same thing that I did. She eventually left the theatre. A few minutes later she called the theatre and said she did not like how she was treated. She said she was going write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper to complain how she was treated.

Now, where is my award
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Re: Worst customer stories 14 May 2004 09:14 #24422

  • Reel-Life
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We recently had a problem with graffiti in out theater. Actually it was a pretty big problem. One of our employees came up to me and said that she saw some girls writing on the stalls in the bathroom. I had the female manager go and check it out for me, since I couldnt go in there. She went in and caught one of them with the marker. She opened the door and had me call the cop doing security. They had written all over the walls of all the stalls, and on the doors, and on the sink. They were trying to say that they didnt do it, and that they found the marker. They were going to use the marker to scratch out what had been written before. Eventually, one of the girls told on her friends after being "threatened" with arrest. She told us that if she didnt tell who it was, she would get in trouble for taking the blame for someone else. We made them clean it up, and then had the cop escort them outside, right through a packed lobby, embarrasing the heck out of them. Thats what they get.
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Re: Worst customer stories 17 May 2004 08:16 #24423

  • Mike Spaeth
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Why is an expired pass such a huge deal to people? I've NEVER worked ANYWHERE that didn't accept them for customer service purposes after the expiration date!
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Re: Worst customer stories 19 May 2004 16:29 #24424

  • BECKWITH1
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Mike,
Would you take that expired pass on a no pass movie like Troy? Or perhaps your company takes passes even though Warner makes you pay per cap for them? What would you say to the customer in that situation?
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Re: Worst customer stories 20 May 2004 03:05 #24425

  • Mike Spaeth
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Yes - provided that pass is an "Emergency Ticket" and not a "Complimentary Pass" ... if it's an Emergency Ticket, that means we made a mistake at some point, so we eat the cost.
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Re: Worst customer stories 20 May 2004 11:25 #24426

  • puzzlegut
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You're right Mike. First of all, I think most places would not accept expired passes or coupons. I also doubt supermarkets would accept expired coupons, unless the cashier does not pay attention to it.

It might have been one thing if it was an "emergency ticket" like you described. However, being that they were complimentary tickets and we did not have to give them out, the woman had no right to complain. She went on to give a sob story about how she got them from toys for tots and how they got them several days before they expired and so forth. Well, if she got them a few days before they expired, then she should have used them sooner.
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Re: Worst customer stories 27 May 2004 00:59 #24427

  • Avalon
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If you have a lot of passes floating around out there, you gotta have an expiration date. Otherwise, the first big show, you'll have every pass you every issued appear. Complimentry passes go stale after a few months. Gift certificates and "Oh, S**t" passes are good forever. If we got money for a pass, it stays good. If all we got was promotion for a pass, it expires. Also, if you let one pass slip in past expiration, you'll have a heck of a time telling other customers their pass is no good.
Paul Turner
Avalon Cinema
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Re: Worst customer stories 27 May 2004 06:24 #24428

  • jimor
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To help with the last two posts, there was an entire discussion of Passes and Gift Certificates here: http://www.bigscreenbiz.com/ubb/Forum39/HTML/001518.html
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: Worst customer stories 28 May 2004 11:31 #24429

People are possesive by nature. When you give them a pass it becomes theirs. When they come to the theatre and find out that the pass has expired, well, that means that you have now taken what they had away. Do they know the meaning of an expired pass? Sure they do. But it's that feeling of having something taken away that they're fighting for, not the pass as it stands.
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