Cinemagoers Behaving Badly

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You’ve heard of people talking on their phones during a movie. You’ve heard of people having a loud conversation when a movie’s playing. You’ve experienced people munching loudly on popcorn, kicking the back of your chair, texting and blinding you with the bright screen of their phones.

But I bet you haven’t heard this one.

If you’ve noticed, there’s not been many reviews or posts on The Storyboard lately. It’s because I landed myself a very hectic dayjob that leaves me no time for movies. Yesterday was one of the very rare occasions when I could leave work early, and I’d decided to catch Inside Out, which opened this week.

When I got to the ticketing area, there were only two counters open. One was occupied by a woman talking on her phone. That annoyed me already, but didn’t prepare me for what was to happen next. It’s been a pet peeve of mine that inconsiderate folk would stand at the ticketing counter talking on their phones, deep in discussion with their friends about God-knows-what, holding up the queue.

I headed to the other counter, and asked the ticketing staff for Inside Out. The hall was more-than-half full, and because I always like to sit by myself with no one beside me, I chose a seat to the side, numbered “H04.” The ticketing staff hesitated, then turned to her colleague who was attending to the woman on the phone, and started talking in a language I didn’t understand.

I asked her what the problem was. She sheepishly said H04 was already “booked.” I pointed to the monitor and told her it hadn’t been clicked on, so it definitely was still available. It was then that she said, even more sheepishly, that H04 had been “booked” by that woman on the phone.

That was when I started to lose it.

I told her to click on that seat. She refused. Then I raised my voice and told her colleague that the seat cannot be booked, because this was counter sales, and counter sales were first-come-first-served. Booking was only for online. Then I told the staff again to click on the seat. Without turning to them, I heard the other ticketing staff and the woman on the phone grumbling loudly.

I continued to kick up a fuss for a little while more, just to rile them up further. Then I told the staff to forget it, and I walked away, putting my money back in my wallet.

Never in my cinemagoing life have I ever encountered such a thing. I’ve scolded people for talking during a movie, I even slapped a guy hard on his arm when he wouldn’t shut up. I’ve reprimanded people who kicked my chair. I’ve done a lot of crazy things. But I’ve never had to fight for a seat that wasn’t yet taken.

Next to this madness is the one where people would pore over the seating arrangement, spend aeons choosing the right seats, holding up the queue, and then when they finally get into the cinema hall, guess what, they can’t find their seats. I’ve always been confounded by this, because I have never, ever been unable to find my seat in a hall. And if you spend so much time staring at the monitor, surely you would know where your seats are in the hall.

I don’t get it.

If you have any cinemagoing pet peeves, or bad experiences to share, please do so in the comments section. I’d love to read about them.

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