Friday, July 17, 2009

One Fine Day at the Theater (Part 2: Angry Bob)

I've been meaning to get back to this little series for a while, but school has been intense and I've been distracted by video games. But now I'm back to tell you about another adventure of mine from the old theater.

If you work at any fast food or entertainment-related job long enough, you are bound to recognize those customers who are regulars. Most of the time they are friendly people who like the place and get to know the staff by name. For instance, there was one cool biker dude who always stopped by every Friday to buy a large popcorn with extra butter and had some great stories to tell. I'll introduce him in a later installment. However, these regular customers are not always so friendly. Sometimes, they are downright nasty.

I never found out this man's name, so I shall refer to him as Angry Bob. He was a big man whose neck and arms were as big as tree trunks. His face was always set in a permanent scowl and he had this flat, army-like haircut. He was the kind of guy you would expect to see at the gym, pumping iron and chugging protein shakes. But he was a regular at my theater, a venue for artistic, foreign, and independent films. Go figure. Most of the time Angry Bob just watched his movie and then leave without any problems, always wearing his trademark "I'm-going-to-bite-your-head-off" scowl. But there was one night where I had an unpleasant encounter with the man.

It was a slow night when Angry Bob walked in to see "The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas," a film about two boys who become friends in WW 2 Germany, but one of them is a Jew and the other is the son of a German Army Officer. It was actually a good movie, but I digress...
So Angry Bob walked in, bought a small soda and popcorn, and went into his theater to watch the movie. He was the only customer for that showing. About half an hour after the movie started, a coworker and I were talking in the lobby when Angry Bob came out to tell us that the screen was too fuzzy and asked us if we could do anything about it. My coworker left to find a manager. As for myself, I was stuck at register duty. I had to stay there no matter what to make sure no one stole anything. Some time later the coworker came back and told me that he had informed a manager about the problem and then left. I assumed that that would be the end of it.
I was wrong.
Angry Bob came back out looking, well, angry. "Excuse me," he said to me, since I was the only poor slob available to yell at, "but this is not the middle ages. Is it that hard to focus a projector?" (No, I did not make this up. He really said this.) A common problem that occurred to me while working at this theater was the lack of backup whenever a customer came out to complain about something, but I was in no position to help because I couldn't leave my post. This was another one of those times. I told the man that a manager had been told of the problem and would fix it as soon as he could, but Angry Bob still didn't look pleased. He walked back in and I felt very uncomfortable.
Some time later he came out again, looking royally pissed. I could see the veins bulging on his abnormally large neck and his face was bright red. I was truly afraid that something very bad and very painful might happen to me. "I want to talk to a manager," he says, "I payed ten dollars to see this movie! This is ridiculous!" Fortunately, a manager had walked into the lobby and Angry Bob redirected his anger towards him. The manager assured him that he would fix the problem, then walked up to the booth to adjust the picture. Meanwhile, Angry Bob angrily paced the lobby. I tried to busy myself with some work to ignore the man, but I couldn't shake the feeling that he would explode at any second. To my relief, he only paced and grumbled for a few minutes before going back into the theater and not bothering us for the rest of the night. After that, the manager came back into the lobby and said, "it's already as focused as it can get. I don't know what his problem is."

I already knew that people were weird, but Angry Bob amazed me. I was told by another coworker that this wasn't the first time this man had a problem here. So why did he keep on coming back? Who knows. Maybe he liked to yell at people because it made him feel big and strong.
So please, whenever you're out at the movies or at a restaurant or whatever, be considerate for the minimum wage people serving you. We deal with crap all day long and it would be nice to not have to deal with the Angry Bobs out there. Besides, if things go wrong it might not be our fault!

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