Hello guys and welcome back to a section of my yarns this week. I have been prolonging this particular topic for a minute as I thought somewhere in my mind that we would somehow learn and get it right but considering the experiences I have had, I must say that the progress has been a little too slow. (I also promised more goodies at the beginning of the week so here goes!)
I’m just going to get straight to the point and ask the following question:
‘Do you think we have the best cinema experiences available to us as Nigerians?’
Cinema etiquette is one topic I feel if not handled in these early stages could escalate into a full-blown menace just like corruption is today.
A lot of times the experience you have tells on the set or class of people watching the movie with you or working on the cinema floor; I know for a fact that it is one of the reasons some people prefer some cinemas over others.
And don’t think I’m talking to only moviegoers, cos I’m not! This cuts across the cinema environment courtesy of management, the staff even before the moviegoers.
Let’s get into this from one group to the other:
The Environment (The management)
Let me be the first to say to cinema management that even though a lot of people put convenience or proximity into consideration when choosing the place to go see a movie, the environment you provide them is what will factor their returning or choosing your place when convenience or proximity is off the bargaining table.
Why would I want to frequent a cinema where:
The Air Conditioning is not regulated well; its either always too hot or freezing cold almost never bearable
I do not have a convenient waiting area if my movie is delayed or if I get there on time
There’s always a problem with the movie, screen, seats, or there’s the frequent power outage during a movie
They sell more tickets for a movie than the seating capacity of the hall so I have to sit on the peripherals.
Their refreshments are expensive and nothing to write home about; popcorn’s either too sweet or too burnt; drinks are never cold enough etc.
They do not have the recent movies showing elsewhere in the world; I want to pay to watch a recent film, not one I could have downloaded a month ago in HD quality.
I’ll stop here so as not to sound too harsh but I believe every management team over a cinema should at least have the above thoughts in their minds because if I don’t enjoy the experience in one cinema I may as well go to another or just download the movie and watch from the convenience of MY BED!!
It has always baffled me how people would do jobs they don’t like and then it would almost be like a contest of who can show the greatest displeasure on their face as possible.
But this is not the only bit of staff advice I have; I would like to let the cinema staff know one thing:
‘No matter what point in the chain you are, whether it be selling tickets, selling refreshments or collecting tickets before people go in; your job is primarily customer service.’
I’m not asking anyone to suck up or be overtly nice; I’m just saying, treat me like I’m not encroaching into your life and being a bother.
Take your time to be polite, answer enquiries sufficiently and effectively, make your customer feel welcome and if you’re the one selling refreshments or collecting the ticket, an occasional enjoy your movie would not hurt.
All of this says a lot about the management also and how much time they put into do proper training and quality assurance but as someone who has frequented the cinema so much over the years and seen cinema staff come and go, I think some more work can be put into making the consumer experience richer than it already is and the staff will have a big impact on this.
Finally, one advice for anyone who has a rotten personality and finds themselves in a customer service job like this:
‘Just before the start of work go before the mirror, smile, take the rotten attitude and put it in your pocket, think of the happiest thing that could ever happen to you and then get to work. If you have to pretend you are having the time of your life long enough, you probably would soon start to.’
OK! Now as I’m sure most of my audience right now probably falls into this category I will go all in to try to make my point without sounding condescending.
Firstly, if you decide to go to the cinema please realize this:
‘As much as you want to have fun, there are others trying to have fun there too and it is entirely rude to encroach on that.’
Yes we want the staff to behave but that does not mean we should misbehave; if they tell you to produce a valid I.D card to get a discount, by all means produce one and don’t behave like they should know you’re a student. If you don’t have one, just go on a Monday (or as it’s the case in some cinemas also Wednesday) to get a discount; or you may want to just sit this one out and wait till there’s some extra dough. But please, please don’t behave like it’s your right to get a student ticket and be rude.
If there’s a crowd or if you think the movie you are about to watch will draw a crowd (or if it’s a Monday or Wednesday) you may want to queue on time to get your ticket and refreshments. It is very uncalled for if you decide to get there late and then rush the staff into answering you, try to manoeuvre your way past people who are trying to be orderly or get to the extreme of either pushing or snapping at people to hurry up.
If for some unforeseen reason you get there late, please don’t throw your manners out the window; you can either decide to wait for the next showing of the movie or accept that you got there late. Don’t make your problem everybody’s cup of tea.
When you communicate with the staff please appreciate their service by also being nice. Don’t ever think it’s their job alone to put up a good attitude.
Please respect the rules of the cinema too and if you’re going to smuggle any contraband in, then don’t be embarrassed if you’re caught and called up on it.
Now that you are in the cinema hall please let’s get some thins straight:
- Before the movie starts there’s usually a set of instructions, kindly follow them because they aid our experience.
- You paid for one seat and not one for your bag, leg or for the imaginary friend you brought along. I have seen people seat on the stairs because they thought there were no available seats while some people’s bags sat comfortably. That’s not cool at all.
- I don’t want to know your ringtone or hear you lie about where you are so please put your phone on silent and if it buzzes then either try as hard as you can to whisper or step out to take your call.
- You are not in your living room, so please minimize your sudden outbursts. I remember once a lady had to be literally told to shut it because she thought she needed to give us all movie commentary like a football match.
- The cinema hall is not the place to catch up on all the stories you’ve missed in each others lives; if you want to do that, then please go to a restaurant or meet at home!
If you think the dark cinema hall is the ideal place to do all the hormonal satisfaction for your lustful desires then please you’re too ‘young’ to be in a relationship. It has nothing to do with age but with the maturity of your mind and although I’m not saying there should be no contact please let’s remember to be appropriate.
I realise I have said a lot and you may need to digest a lot but I hope this helps in the quest to have quality cinema experiences on my own turf.
What have been your experiences? Sound off in the comments!