Today I’ve been to see a film about chimps. Albeit chimps that rise up and take over the Earth (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” if you really want to know), and whilst I enjoyed the film, I almost never as my mind was else where.
At my favourite old local cinema the etiquette was thus; arrive, perhaps sometimes a little late, queue, arrive at the payment station, name your film and chosen time, hand over your card to the lovely assistant who would swipe and then return it with a ticket. Once in receipt of the ticket, you would make your way past the ticket people who direct you to the screen of your showing, you would enter, look up the aisles and then select your seat (regardless of where your ticket stated you should sit). Life is simple, movies are good and the seat you select is entirely of your choosing.
Since moving however, my local cinema has changed – and whilst its still in the same chain of cinemas, some how the etiquette and dynamics are entirely different.
You arrive – early or on time – as the queues are always fairly long (whilst I’m on the subject, why don’t I get priority booking to avoid the queues being a card holding member of said cinema?), you get to the front of the queue and you state your name and showing time; then you are asked where you would like to sit – front, middle or back – the attendant then takes a few agonising minutes to select a free seat for you as they tap on their touch screens – then ask you to swipe your own card (!!!).
The ticket is then returned and you go off to your screen. At this juncture, I normally look around for the best seat and take it, but I’ve noticed those around me who are looking for their seats are insistent on finding their allocated seat printed on their ticket.
Today, I found myself in someone else’s seat. And I was asked if I’d selected my correct seat, to which I feigned that I had perhaps mis-read my seat allocation and moved; which wouldn’t have been a problem, however there were a plethora of empty seats right around the cinema screening – why can’t these people just choose another seat?
All of the seats cost the same, none of them are more superior than the next, yet somehow the etiquette of this cinema is to sit in your allocated seat and not any other. Why? Oh, why? It should be first come, first served for seating and I shouldn’t have to swipe my own card.
I miss my old cinema.