As per his previous correspondence with the management at the ArcLight Cinema in Los Angeles, David Keeps replies to management’s reply:
Dear Anonymous AGS Employee,
I am glad that you take such obvious pride in the caramel corn, that you dedicate manpower to its creation. But the fact of the matter is that sometimes it is just not available. That’s poor planning and symptomatic of the Arclight experience.
It is brave of you to acknowledge that you have “staffing issues” as you so delicately put it. Yes, indeed, you do. To be brutally frank, the staff you have assembled are not the service professionals best suited for the jobs they presently occupy. As one acquaintance of mine has said, “They all look like they’re stoned.” More to the point, they act and move like they are. Handling ticket and concession sales requires mental clarity and physical dexterity. By hiring movie fans who would be much happier with the pace and atmosphere of a video rental outlet, you are imposing substandard service upon your clientele who are paying premium prices.
Let me give you a valuable analogy: When I go to Jack in the Box, I have no interest whatsoever in knowing the favorite sandwich of the person who hands me my food. In his infinite wisdom, Jack knows this. Even a clown like Ronald McDonald knows this. Their people are trained to be efficient first and interesting second. As cute as the concept of identifying your staff members’ favorite movie might seem, there is no added value to anyone knowing this information. As a matter of fact, I have, in past visits to the Arclight, commented upon the movie that appeared on the badge of a worker only to find them all too happy to talk about the movie rather than to do their job, which is to keep the line moving and the customers satisfied. If I wanted to talk movies with someone, I would go to the aforementioned video store.
If you allocated even ONE PER CENT of each weekend ticket–a mere 14 cents–to a fund for improving management and human resources, you would be doing the Arclight and all its guests an enormous service. As it is, you are getting all this valuable advice at the low low cost of nothing. Please feel free to tell me who to bill for this continuing consultation. I will consider compensation in the aforementioned caramel corn if I can be assured that I will not have to wait in line for it.
Now, I beg to differ but you absolutely do NOT have distinct lines at the concessions. Distinct lines can be found at place like the bank and the airport, where people are called to the next available agent, not where they are allowed to cluster, bob, and weave as lines morph and shift depending on how many attendants are available at the counter. At $14 a pop, the Arclight “guest” as you put it, does not want or need to do your thinking for you. And the preposterous idea that we might actually police the behavior of your customers
is insulting and potentially dangerous. By encouraging us to “call that person out,” however amusing or glib that may sound, you are essentially asking your clients to risk an altercation and possible physical endangerment (FURTHER DELAYING SERVICE AND POSSIBLY BRINGING LAWSUITS AGAINST YOU) simply because you have not adequately designed and implemented simple and proper procedures for handling your two key revenue streams: ticket and concession sales. Please don’t tell me that for $14 I should monitor everyone else’s behavior on your behalf.
Again, I point out, people paying top dollar should be relieved of stress, not forced to endure more.
Look at almost every other cinema chain in the city. They have orderly lines and, when necessary, ropes to create them. You can’t seriously tell me that your clients would be offended by having to stand in the same kind of lines commonly experienced at Wells Fargo, Jet Blue or the DMV. In fact, inasmuch as the Arclight is designed to look like an airport, it would be wholly appropriate as an aesthetic device as well as a crowd management one.
Put that in your weekly management meeting and smoke it.
– David A Keeps