We went to see Capote at the ArcLight with our friend David Keeps this weekend. Couldn’t get soda or popcorn, so we ended up chewing gum instead. Keeps, final straw having broken him, fired off this email to the folks at ArcLight this morning.
How come the lines at the concessions stand are so poorly managed? There are no distinct aisles – people just sort of merge and weave into place – and it doesn’t seem to be staffed or organized sufficiently during peak times to cut down on wait time. On average, I would say it takes almost 15 minutes to get served. And when you add on the hell of the parking garage and the equally cluster-fucky scene at the tickets area, you have to figure on arriving a good 45 minutes before your film goes on. That’s not anyone’s idea of a relaxing night out.
Have you thought about having a drinks-and-popcorn line for those of us who do not want to wait for people who are ordering hot dogs and other food that seems to take the counter staff SO LONG to prepare? For $14, the concession experience – which we are all aware is one of the main revenue streams of any movie theater – should be every bit as deluxe and nurturing as the ArcLight viewing experience. I’m sure most patrons would rather see the employee who gives that speech they’ve been hearing for years now before every movie (we get it, you care, OK?) BEHIND THE COUNTER SCOOPING POPCORN.
The underlying principle of luxury goods and services is that you pay more for better quality. At ArcLight, you pay more and get stressed out. This Saturday night, for instance, I had paid for my tix for the 8PM showing of Capote by 7:50 and could not get the caramel corn that is an integral part of my customer satisfaction at ArcLight for fear of missing the beginning of the movie. Very disappointing, but not as bad as those times when THERE WAS NO CARAMEL CORN at the COUNTER and I had to find it at another concession in the building. What, I would like to know, is up with that? Don’t the wizards of ArcLight realize what a GOLDMINE that buttery, sugary, caramelicious confection is? Seriously, how hard is it to organize and manage the distribution of refreshments? ArcLight can do better. Arclight should do better.
Please feel free to pass this on to the upper echelons of ArcLight management. If it were not for the ambrosia of the caramel corn, I would probably take my business elsewhere. Addiction is a nasty enough business, don’t make it so hard on the caramel corn-dependent.
David A. Keeps
(Should you or management decide to Google me and discover that the cranky author of this missive is a regular contributor to Travel and Leisure and the Los Angeles Times, please be assured that I will not take this grievance to those outlets if you make a sincere attempt to rectify this situation. Oh, and roasted peanuts in the caramel corn would be a nice option too.)
Photo: ArcLight concession in happier times