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.

My Prowess in the Kitchen

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A couple of weeks ago my friend had a Potluck. I have never been one to dabble in the culinary arts myself, so when there’s cooking to be done, there’s a mom for that. Not just any mom. My mom.

One of her signature dishes? The baked ziti. So what did I bring to the potluck? Baked ziti.
As soon as I walk into my friends house with the tray, everyone asks me who made the ziti because “of course I didn’t make it, I couldn’t cook a dish to save my life.”

That statement and others like it have been said to me for as far back as I can remember and I take up serious issue with the sentiment.

First of all. I think of myself as a very versatile young lass, quick on her feet with a noggin full o’ common sense and wit. So if encountered with a life-threatening situation that required me to perform some task to live…I’d like to think I would rise to the occasion, fight through the adversity and the pressure and pass with flying colors.

Second. Tis true that I don’t know what “julianning” something is or the difference between al dente and…not al dente. The oven is not my friend. In fact the last time I used it I couldn’t figure out how to shut the thing off (When the hell did they get rid of the on/off buttons??!) But does that mean I am legally brain dead when it comes to culinary expertise?

Many in the world would say yes. I however defend myself because although I may not have cooked through Julia Child’s cookbook or even really know what beef bourgignone (sp?) is… by God I am one hell of a Microwaver!

Ahh the microwave. What once was seen as a magical box full of wonder and mystery, has overtime been downgraded to something you nuke food in, resulting in a less edible heated up version of what once was a delicious meal.

But when I look at a microwave I see a one stop shop for all my cooking needs in one convenient spot. When there’s a fire and you’re all grabbing your iPods, family albums, pets and babies…I’ll be grabbing the microwave.

Of course there will be nay-sayers. Hot shots with their deep fryers and fancy oven mitts will say a microwave is no way to prepare your food. But I say hogwash. My microwave can do anything your oven can do faster and more efficiently while never burning down the kitchen.

Let me ask you this. Have you ever burnt popcorn in a microwave? Have you heated up those pork chops that sent a shiver down your spine when you got to the cold center?

Well what I say to all of you is…amateurs. Popcorn setting? HA what do I look like a rookie?! This ain’t my first rodeo and those factory settings are child’s play. Alls I need to do is eyeball it.

The type of food, the amount, the type of plate all factor in. And of course there’s the microwave.

Are we dealing with a Whirlpool, LG or Hitatchi here. Maybe it’s a Panasonic (betchya didn’t know Panasonic made microwaves). I’m more partial to the Kenmores myself; the classic look is my thing but I can work with any brand you got.

How many watts is this bad boy spitting out and what’s the circumference of the turn table. What’s the CFM speed of the exhaust fan and does it have a heat deflector?

It all means nothing to you but these precise calculations are my life. They’re why I haven’t burned a bag of popcorn since 1996.

So the next time you see a microwave, don’t scoff at it or hold your nose up to it. And when you see me, don’t laugh that I probably don’t know how to turn on/off your oven (seriously none of these damn things have on/off buttons anymore!)

Look at me as an equal in the culinary world because I may not be able to marinate that Thanksgiving turkey, but I can heat up those leftovers better than anybody you’ll ever meet.

So back off and show this Microwaver some God damn respect.