Friday, June 27, 2014

Customer Disservice...

The Facts

We went to the movies. They wouldn’t accept our gift cards.

His Side

The only thing better than seeing a good movie in the theater is seeing a good movie in the theater for free. It’s nice when someone else pays for it, but that’s not really free. I’m talking really free. Let me tell you how that happened recently.

We invited another couple over for cheese fondue then planned to head to the theater and see 22 Jump Street (a film I had been looking forward to for a while). The only reason Kristi and I were willing to go to the theater at night, after matinee prices were far from over, was because we had gift cards. As a side note, if you are ever stumped as to what to get me for a birthday or Christmas, gift cards to the movies are always a solid choice. 

Anyway, we get to the theater and go to pay. We get carded for the rated-R film (which made me feel young again) and we got out our trusty gift cards. Without making a big deal out of it… as if it was just fine… like there would be no problem… the teller told us that their gift card system is down so they can’t accept gift cards because it freezes up their system for a couple of minutes. What? I don’t care if it freezes up the system as long as I get to pay using my gift card. I’ll wait a couple of minutes as their system thaws (after being frozen… get it?). But the teller kindly asked me if I had another form of payment. I had cash, credit card, debit card… but I just told them that this is the form of payment I planned to use and the teller directed me to the customer service desk which is ironic because what we received could barely be called customer service.

Once we got there, not a worker was in sight. We waited until a lady in a suit (the suit means she’s some sort of management) came up to us and asked what the problem was. When we told her, she said that the system is down and asked if there was another form of payment. Deja Vu all over again. We told her we would not be paying with by some other method and, with a bad attitude, she offered to sign us in as her guests which she made sure to tell us she wasn’t supposed to do about 15 times. Well, you aren’t supposed to not accept gift cards either…

While we were getting signed in as her guests, another couple came to the customer service desk with the same issue. She told them that she wasn’t supposed to do it (big surprise) but she would sign them in as her guests, too. That couple got a little more of an attitude with the manager prompting her to tell them (rudely) that a call has been made to reset the system… as if that was going to help us at that precise moment. But, we got signed in and headed for the concession counter to get a drink. When we asked about the system being down and paying with a gift card, that worker had no clue about any gift card problems. It seems like that should have been a piece of info passed down the line at some point.

So, we dealt with a little annoyance but got to see the movie for free. That’s a win in my book. We did end up paying for the drink with real money; however, a 6 dollar drink is a small price to pay when you think about how we didn’t have to pay 21.50 of the gift card in order to see the film. That means we get to go see another movie with that gift card money! Kristi will be thrilled about that because you know how much she loves going to the theater. 

Her Side

By now, you should know how I feel about movies… and more specifically movie theaters. But, in case you don’t, I’ll sum it up for you quickly:  movie theaters are terrible. Well, this fact was solidified even more for me the other day. Surprisingly, it all happened before we even stepped foot into the theater in which our movie was playing.

Nolan and I were getting together with another couple for dinner and a movie. So, we ate dinner at our house and made our way to the movie theater. We walked up to purchase our tickets and when we presented them with our gift cards, they casually said that their system for gift cards was down and we wouldn’t be able to use it… so, we needed to give them another form of payment. Hold up… No, I’m not doing that. We try to spend our money wisely and wouldn’t have gone out to a movie if we didn’t have gift cards for the outing. So, we kindly said that wouldn’t work for us and the lady at the register directed us inside to “guest services” where she claimed we would be helped.

Well, we walked in and no one was actually at the infamous guest services desk, so we had to wait for a few minutes (which was slightly annoying because we didn’t have all night… after all we were trying to see a movie that started at a SPECIFIC time). So, a few moments later, a lady appeared from nowhere to “help” us. We explained the situation and she said that she would try it again, but the systems had been down so she couldn’t guarantee anything. When the gift card still wouldn’t go through in their systems (something that is NOT my problem) she began to get a bit rude. We insisted that we weren’t going to use any other form of payment because, well, we shouldn’t have to. At that point she begrudgingly said she would check us in as her “guest” even though she isn’t “technically supposed” to allow us to do that. She made a point to tell us that multiple times. Ok, we get it lady… you’re a rule breaker.

Last time I checked, when you work in customer service (which I did for a few years) you don’t make the customer feel like they have done something wrong (especially when they haven’t). As a line from one of my favorite movies, I Am Sam, proclaims… “The customer is always right.” Perhaps she was having a bad day or perhaps she just isn’t cut out for a customer service related job. Whatever the reason, I hope she realizes that interacting with us in the manner she did didn’t exactly leave us feeling all warm and tingly.

So, as if Nolan didn’t already have a hard time getting me to go to the movies with him… this is just another reason on my list of why I don’t like going.

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