Don’t Feed the Animals

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I used to really love kids and I miss that. During the “dark days” at the movie theatre, I learned to hate them. But how could you blame me?

There was your regular run of the mill nonsense that went on. A mother entertaining a child’s tantrum at the concession counter because he wanted sour patch kids and she didn’t want to buy it. Instead of having any kind of control at all over her demon, she would sit there, letting him scream bloody murder for what seemed like hours, holding up the 15 customers in line behind them.

The kicker to the whole story is after letting the kid demonstrate to the whole lobby what a generation without discipline has spawned…she would ALWAYS give in and buy the candy. The kid would immediately cease his wailing and go on his way. Remembering the key to getting anything he wants is by screaming and flailing like an animal in the middle of a public place.

Then there were the parents who let the clumsy 2-year old with a head too big for his body carry the 54 oz. cup of blue raspberry icee. #SpoilerAlert the kid dropped it…he always dropped it…and more often than not after dropping and spilling it everywhere, he would slip and bang his big head on the tile floor. And of course it’d be our fault for having drinks that were too big. It was always our fault.

Ugh but cleaning the theatre of any kids movie was what really deterred me from children. No matter how few tickets we sold, these little feckers always managed to make it look like a zombie apocalypse had just taken place…and us employees were always on the losing side of that battle.

You would ask yourself, “how could 4 little runts spill crap under Every. Single. Seat. In Every. Single. Aisle.” But those questions would soon cease to exist after a few months in hell…I mean the theatre.

It’s because their useless parents never taught them sticking their slobber-filled, half-eaten lollipop on the seat wasn’t acceptable movie theatre decorum. OOh how I longed to scoop up every last kernel from the floor and serve it to the next batch of demons. They would end up getting more on the floor than in the holes in their faces anyways…so how sick could they really get?

I never mentioned that idea to the health inspector…probably for the best.

But what really grinded my gears was when parents lost their kids. That always sucked. And while we were running around like madmen searching for their missing children, they’d be chasing after us yelling things like “you should have better security protocols in place; It’s your fault for having a crowded theatre; why don’t you have enough employees to stand guard at every single door!” Or my personal favorite, “If my child is kidnapped, I’m holding YOU personally responsible!”

#LOL These bitches lose THEIR kids…and while they’re yelling about how it’s not THEIR fault that THEY lost THEIR kid, they want to hold ME “personally responsible” and they tell me this while I’m searching for their kid; obviously caring more about finding the child than them.

So I guess it’s parents I really have a gripe with. Kids aren’t so bad. I’m cured!

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Spilt Milk

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February 2013
It’s a busy opening night and I’m in the lobby herding the animals (customers).

LADY: “Hey You!”

Obviously I’m the “you” that the demon (customer) is referring to. I turn around to face the demon (customer).

ME: “Hi, how can I help you?”
LADY: “You can start by wiping that grin off your face!”

At that moment, I wonder if shoving my head in the popper will get me workers comp. Surely the third degree burns and singed flesh is better than the encounter I’m about to have.

ME: “What can I help you with?”
I make sure to suppress any hint of a kind smile.

She sits there, her eyes burning a hole into my flesh. She says nothing, just slowly tilts her head down and stares at her brown suede moccasins. I call them moccasins because it’s the closest word I can think of to sort of describe the abysmal contraptions on her feet.
I don’t speak “angry silent glare” so I look at her quizzically.

LADY: “Well look what you did!” She points to her shoes.
ME: (confused) “I’m sorry ma’am. I don’t understand. What happened?”
LADY: “ARE YOU BLIND?! My shoes are ruined! You’ve ruined my shoes!”

Relief floods over me. Thank God, she didn’t buy them this ugly.

ME: “What happened?”
LADY: “I’ll tell ya what happened!” (She slams her tub of popcorn into my chest.) “You put butter on this popcorn and when I went to sit down on your LOW seats, I fell too quickly and spilled popcorn all over my shoes!”
ME: “Did you not want butter on the popcorn?”
LADY: “YES! Of course I wanted butter on the popcorn but NOT on my shoes!”
ME: “So you spilled popcorn on your shoes? Did you trip on something on the floor?”
LADY: “No. I didn’t trip. While I sat down the bucket tipped. Your seats are much too low. I doubt they’re up to code.”

I make a mental note to have the chair inspector come in tomorrow to measure the distance from floor to seat to make sure we are indeed, “up to code.” I look down again at her shoes. The shoes look soaked.

ME: “That’s butter on your shoes?”
LADY: “No I put water on them to clean off the butter. They’re not supposed to get wet. Now they’re ruined!”

Confused are you? Yes, well let’s recap what we’ve learned so far shall we?

This dumb biddy ordered a tub of popcorn with butter, paid for a tub of popcorn with butter and was handed a tub of popcorn with butter. She then proceeded to walk into her theatre, tripping/slipping on nothing but while going to sit, she spills her popcorn on her ugly shoes. She then proceeds to walk into the bathroom with her shoes that “can’t get wet” and soaks them in water. After water-logging those puppies, she finds me and here we are. Knowing that none of this is possibly the theatre’s fault, I act oblivious to the whole situation. She doesn’t like that. Not. One. Bit.

ME: “Oh Ok. Sorry to hear that. I can refill this for you now and we’ll get an usher into your theatre to clean up all the popcorn you spilled on the floor. Which theatre were you in?”
LADY: “I DO NOT WANT A REFILL! YOU NEED TO PAY FOR MY SHOOOOES!!!!”
ME: “Huh?”
LADY: “My shoes are ruined! Get behind that counter. Open up the register and give me the $145 I paid for these shoes!!!”

Now to this day I still can’t decide which part of this story is more ridiculous. The fact that this lady wanted me to pay for the shoes she spilt popcorn on and then “ruined” with water, or the fact that she paid $145 for burlap sacks shaped as slippers.

ME: “I can’t take $145 out of the register to give you.”
LADY: “Well you get paid to work here right?”
ME: I nod yes. I’ll entertain her. I’m curious to see how far she’ll take this.
LADY: “Well then you’ll have to give me the $145! Somebody is paying for my shoes!”

#LOL

ME: “Ma’am. I can’t replace the shoes you ruined with butter and water.”
HER: “But YOU put butter on the popcorn!”
ME: “Which you asked for.”
HER: “But not on my shoes!”
ME: “I can refill the tub for you but I’m not going into the register, or my wallet, to give you $145 for shoes you ruined.”
HER: “Well then, lucky for me my husband’s best friends with the police commissioner. You’ll be hearing from me soon.”

She just sits there staring at me.

ME: “Is there anything else I can help you with?”
HER: “Ya. Refill my fuckin’ popcorn.”

I take a deep breath in, my hands shaking as the adrenaline courses through my veins. I walk back to concession and refill the popcorn and place it on the counter in front of her.

HER: “You forgot the butter.”

I don’t remember what happened next because my brain exploded. It took weeks for the concessionists to scrape my cerebral cortex off the counters.

The Tale of the Vegan Ice Cream

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I was eating yogurt today and had one of my PTSD flashbacks. It’s 2012 and I’m at the dementor…I mean the theatre ——–

“I’m a lawyer, but I also studied medicine.” I was standing in my manager’s get-up listening to this ridiculous rant about our outside food policy by an obnoxious, loud bitch.

I told her she couldn’t come into the theatre with Cold Stone ice cream– a decision that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

In her dramatic Jersey accent, she explained (ranted) that in Jersey it was illegal to deny food and she didn’t know how we ran things in the “empire state” but she wasn’t going to stand for it.

She took out her phone and snapped a picture of 1 of our 10 signs that say, NO OUTSIDE FOOD OR DRINK PERMITTED. “This is evidence for the class action lawsuit  I’m going to file and you (she looks at my name tag), Mrs. Welch — MS., I correct her — You Ms. Welch, will be the name on the suit.”

Contrary to popular belief, I really don’t give a damn if you bring outside food in. I advise people to hide stuff in their pockets and bags all the time. But when you walk through the lobby in front of all six cameras with a huge monstrosity of an ice cream, with fireworks and a ferris wheel coming out the top, and 500 other customers who can’t bring in outside food are looking…I have to stop you.

But this self proclaimed “vegan” (I found out later vegans can’t have milk…one key ingredient in ice cream?…Milk) needs to tell her whole story and oh so educated opinion. She refuses to feed her child “genetically engineered” food…did you know they put food coloring on apples? And because of this healthy diet of ice cream and other vegan foods, her son will never be obese. He’s mentally ahead of the curve…this she says as the kid falls flat on his face, gets up, and starts humping her leg.

I wanted to just tell her I’ll make an exception, she could just go in. I no longer cared about my job or life for that matter. But she never. Took. A. Breath. She never stopped yapping for even two seconds.

Finally my General Manager walked over. We had to avoid eye contact with each other to avoid bursting out in laughter as she ranted that cancer was a man-made disease. Did I mention she’s a doctor AND a lawyer?

She’s just looking out for her son’s well being. This said while her kid wandered back into the packed lobby unattended. A very, VERY large man walked over to little Timmy and picked him up. “Ma’am, your son…” “Oh that’s fine, that’s his father.” Oh…clearly vegan is working for him.

After 20 minutes of listening to this doctor/lawyer Jersey resident, finally she let us talk. “Ma’am it’s our policy but we can make an exception this time and let you in.”

All of a sudden her righteous civic responsibility to right this horrible wrong we’ve been committing went out the window. No more lawyer/doctor talk. The biddy got what she want. So her mouth went quiet.

Only upside? Her ice cream was melted and her movie had started 10 minutes ago. Bye-Bye Ms. Jersey doctor-lawyer. Enjoy your movie. Don’t choke on your (not)vegan ice cream.

I suppose it’s a better ending than the grown 40-something year old woman who was so upset about the policy that she threw the ice cream onto our carpet in the middle of a packed lobby…but that story’s for another day.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

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Today I held the door for a woman walking behind me. She smiled at me and said “Thank You”. Normal right?
Not where I come from…

It’s the summer of 2010. One of those beautiful days where the sun is shining and a cool breeze is blowing. I jump in the whip, roll down the windows and hear Cher blaring from my stereo. I start my 5 minute commute to the theatre.

I roll into the parking lot and I’m not gonna lie…there’s a smile on my face as I hop out of the car, throw my string bag over my shoulder and start the walk to the town center doors.

Young, naive Margaret. You can’t even see what’s coming.

I get to the entrance (regular push/pull doors luckily. “I hate those revolving doors. One day somebody is gonna get hurt in one of those,” I think to myself). I see a man in a wheelchair struggling to open the doors. Seeing this I immediately go through the one next to him and start opening up his door from the other side.

Big Mistake. Big. Huge. (Name that movie)

“I DIDN’T HEAR MYSELF ASK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!”

Who said that and to whom, I wonder to myself. Surely it can’t be directed at me. I stand still with the door open.

“HELLO!? WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING? I DON’T NEED YOUR DAMN HELP!”

Now I see what’s going on. I see clearly. Its my punishment for being in a good mood. It’s what I get for walking in with a stupid smile on my stupid face. C’mon Marge you know better than that! #RookieMistake

“I’m sorry I was just trying to help—” I said it with true sincerity..but that kind of sincerity gets you know where at the theatre. “GET YOUR HAND OFF THAT DOOR! I CAN OPEN A DOOR!”

I let go of the door immediately, contemplating if a jump from the roof  could kill me…nope I’d break a leg at best…

I watch as the man gets through the door…eventually. I turn my head to see a nice little audience watching the show. With nothing coming to mind to say, I start heading towards the theatre. Thankfully there’s not far to go so I start walking…briskly…to safety.

“IT’S PEOPLE LIKE HER THAT TRY TO MAKE US INFERIOR TO THE REST OF YOU! THAT’S THE REASON WE’RE TREATED LIKE CHILDREN!! LOOK AT THAT DUMB BITCH! SHE WON’T EVEN FACE ME NOW! SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE DID!!!!”

The sound of his screams and profanities muffle away as I walk through the theatre doors. I’m safe.

I start thinking over what just happened. Did I really do something wrong? I didn’t huff and puff or roll my eyes about holding the door.
I had a residual smile on my face from my blissful car ride, so certainly I didn’t look aggravated..

But apparently in my act of opening a door for someone I was sticking my middle finger up at all people in wheelchairs, all across the land! Had it been an old lady, or a 30 year old handsome gentleman or an 8 year old bratty child walking in, I would have held the door open. It’s just what I was taught. It’s just how I was raised. So clearly there’s only one guilty party here.

Mother.

Thanks a lot mom for teaching me to hold doors for people and all about manners and saying stupid shit like “thank you”. Screw you ma for showing me to be nice to other people and to treat others how I’d like to be treated.

By your dumb logic I’m supposed to help someone in a wheelchair struggling to get through a door! You dumb biddy!! You haven’t prepared me for life and you certainly haven’t done your job. What else have you lied to me about?

You’re dead to me.

A PROFIT SEEKING SON OF A BITCH

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“Money is the best deodorant.” – Elizabeth Taylor Image

Imagine coming face to face with 1,500 human beings in a span of about 90 minutes with 8 employees and 2 other managers at your side. That’s 1,500 vs. 11. That’s about 136 customers per staff member, but since I was a manager no matter who the customer dealt with first…when they wanted to vent or argue or yell or complain or sometimes even cry, they weren’t content with just speaking to a 16 year old in a polo. Nope…they would utter the six words I dread more than anything in the world. The six words that still can make my insides crawl and my stomach turn…The six words, “Can I speak to a manager?!”

Now I’ve never listened to nails on a chalk board or cats being slammed against a brick wall…but i imagine those sounds are like listening to Mozart compared to those six dreadful words.

The memory is so vivid, just thinking about it now has me right there back at the theatre.

My blood pressure starts rising and I can immediately feel my heart pounding in my ears. Time stands still as I slowly find the will to turn around. “I’m a manager,” I say in a nice happy voice with a smile…a smile that will soon be ripped from my face as quickly as I faked it on.

“Well you’re obviously not a very good one!” And there it is. The beginning of the end. Of course I can’t respond the way I want to, the way I was hard-wired to respond when another human being treats me like a worthless cretan and pokes me while screaming an inch away from my face. God forbid I yell back at a customer to kiss my ass…something I longed to say every day for the 7 years I worked in customer service hell, heavens to betsy no!

“Well sir, I’m sorry to hear you’re unhappy. What’s wrong?” That’s what I say on the outside. But in my mind I’m reaching over the counter and slamming his head against the glass candy display case watching the blood drip into the Goobers (I do miss the Goobers).

“Oh you wanna know what’s wrong? I’ll tell you what’s wrong!! You’re concessionist charged my son $4.25 for a bottle of water! Don’t you dipshits know how to count back change?!” (Now please keep in mind these words were screamed at me with a generous amount of spit flying from the gaping hole in this asshole’s face.)

I brace myself. Because as always, I forsee the next few minutes of my life happening before they actually do. The guy’s pissed…obviously. But I know he’s going to be even MORE pissed when he hears my response. So I stay silent for a brief second…taking a breath and enjoying the second of silence before the storm clouds burst and set the world on fire.

“Well sir. (Yes I called the douche sir.) My concessionist did give the right amount of change. A 20 oz. bottle of Dasani water is $4.75. If you’d like, I can take the bottle back and issue you a refund.”

Yes my blood was flowing with adrenaline and my face a bit red…a casualty of being Irish. But I swear to Cher that how I responded to this guy was nothing short of nice and understanding.

How dare you.” The disgust in his voice sends a shiver down my spine. I start to wonder, have I killed a member of this man’s family? I must have to be looked at with the hatred that was in this fella’s eyes.

“Well sir, I apologize fo–” Nope, Marge. Good effort, great effort actually. But we both know you’re not getting another word in during this conversation.

HOW DARE YOU!!! Who the HELL do you think you are?! What the fuck gives you the right to charge that kind of money for a God damn water bottle?! A water bottle!!! Water is free! How do you sleep at night knowing you are charging good, hard-working Americans that much for WATER! It’s a disgrace! You’re a fuckin disgrace!!!”

He catches his breath and wipes the sweat from his brow. A little bit of an audience starts to gather around him. I retreat to that little place in my brain where I go to hide from douches like this and I play out the scenario how I want it to go —

As the man sucks in a mouthful of air to continue his tirade I hold my hand up to silence him. “Sir. Look at this suit jacket. It was 40 bucks at WalMart…$20 more than I had wanted or intended on spending on a God damn suit jacket I’ll never wear anywhere but here. These black shoes are from Payless, and although claim to be slip-resistant…I’ve slipped on oil/soda/butter/icee and face planted enough times in concession that I’m pretty sure I have permanent brain damage. My dress pants are ripped at the bottoms and this t-shirt underneath the jacket? … $5 at Old Navy. Now I can’t say for sure where a CEO shops or what brand suit jacket a VP of Operations fancies…but I can pretty much guarantee he doesn’t have duct tape covering a hole at the bottom of his right sneaker. SO please…let me just ask you…WHAT about my entire appearance or position here at a Westchester movie theatre, makes you believe that I have ANYTHING whatsoever in any form or in any way to do with any decisions regarding this multi-billion dollar company. Please! Tell me!

I have NOTHING to do with the prices so how dare YOU scream at me like that! You wanna know how they can charge $4.75 for a water bottle? It’s quite simple and takes very little, if any, knowledge of economics to explain. BECAUSE YOU IDIOTS BUY IT.

Is $4.75 for 20 ounces of water 100% ridiculous? Absolutely. We have a water fountain right outside your auditorium that’s free. Is it absurd to sell you something you can get for free at a mark up of about 1million%? Without a doubt. But the company isn’t stupid for charging it…they’re brilliant. You guys are the dipshits who buy everything we sell at this place! Because guess what…every week we get a shipment of 20 cases of water that go in our stock room and every week I watch as that stock is depleted faster and faster. It ain’t disappearing bro…it’s being sold…to you idiots who have already spent over $50 just to take your family to see The Muppets 3D which is probably going to suck anyway!!

So sir, turn that finger around and point it at yourself and look in the mirror as you spray spit all over the place in your fit of fury because if it wasn’t for you and all the schmucks in this town like you…the water wouldn’t be so expensive. I have nothing to do with it so take your anger and unhappy life elsewhere!

Of course I say none of this. I swallow a huge gulp of my pride, dignity and happiness and feel it flow to my soul, eroding it.
I apologize. I offer to take the water bottle back for a refund and I apologize again. It has to be over right?

“It’s because YOU’RE greedy! You know what you are?!”
“No sir what?”
You know what you are?!…YOU ARE A PROFIT SEEKING SON OF A BITCH! THAT’S WHAT YOU ARE AND YOU DISGUST ME!”

Yep…that’s what he said to me…word for word. Clearly half the money made on 20 oz. water bottles lines my pocket and pays for that fancy 1996 Dodge Caravan I’ve got parked out back.

I watch him walk off in a huff as steam rises from the top of his head. Notice…he didn’t return the water bottle. He kept it, therefore continuing the cycle. Little does he know prices are raising a quarter soon. Haha.

And people wonder why I drink.

…Oh, hey! Didn’t see ya there.

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I’m Marge. This is me

Hey_Me

Notice the glitter lamp and disco ball behind me in this pic. Yes those are mine and you can purchase your very own at “5 Below” (not a paid spokesperson..but willing to be).

I started working at the movie theatre in 2009 at the innocent age of 19. I wish I had taken a picture of myself on the day before my first day…to capture that happy young girl, full of life. That sweet, care-free lass would never recognize the shell of a human being that theatre turned me into.

Sure it seems glamorous on the outside. I got to watch unlimited free movies; eat all the popcorn and drink all the soda I wanted; all while getting paid! Ahh, the high life. But behind the scenes the theatre is a very dark and scary place where dreams are shattered and corpses lie.

Luckily I made it out about a year ago when I started my full time job as a video editor in the hustlin’ bustlin’ city o’ Manhattan. But the memories from that place still haunt me and I’m hoping that by writing about my time there along with new experiences I have, I can expel those demons and the nightmares will stop.

Haha, but you don’t know me that well yet and this over-exaggerated sarcasm and dramatic antics may be misconstrued as delusional and scary. So for now I’ll just say “‘Ello there govnars!”

I’m looking forward to you getting to know me.

Welcome to the Mind o’ Marge 🙂