2018-01-17 / Opinions & Letters

Ticket stubs

Midwest Memo
by Alan Shultz

When I was a kid I went to the movies every week. My best friend was Billy Paxson. His dad had a weekend gig at the local theatre. We got to see the movies for free. Whatever was playing, we were there - loaded down with popcorn, soda and candy.

Going to the movies was simpler back in those days.

Friday night Deb and I were in line to see “The Commuter.” It’s a heart-pounding thriller starring Liam Neeson. Liam and I are a year apart in age. To see this old guy still chasing the bad guys is nothing short of inspirational.

The line for the movie box office was long. We were herded by velvet-roped lines to wait our turn to purchase tickets. There were at least a dozen shows on the ticket board, so I carefully scanned the lines of movie names to find “The Commuter.” Despite finding my glasses, by the time we got to the ticket window I had yet to find our show listed anywhere.

“Sure it’s up there,” the guy in the ticket booth snarled at me when I questioned whether the movie was playing. He pointed in the direction of the board behind him where “The Commuter” was definitely not listed. There was, however, a scroll of pictures of actors that revolved alongside the list of movies playing. Old Liam did show up once and awhile there.

“Ok, it’s our deluxe theater,” the ticket guy explained, ”$18 a ticket,” he said, “you gotta select your seat.”

So now, instead of finding the frequent movie goer card, we were studying a seating chart, wondering why the tickets were so expensive and fishing for the glasses again to get a fix on the blurry document thrust before us.

Deb and I like the top row middle location in the theatre. I picked what I thought were the two middle seats – the only seats that looked open in a sea of reserved seating.

“Nope,” replied the ticket guy, who explained that he’d give us the closest seats to that spot.

Hmmmm.

Off we went, reserved seating tickets clasped firmly in hand, otherwise - if I lost the tickets we were going to be out of luck.

The adventure had begun even before the movie started rolling.

Next stop, the customer service desk. Although I found my frequent movie card while still in the presence of our ticket salesman, it was not quick enough for his taste, so we had to make this detour to customer service. Here it was smooth sailing, “That’s why I’m here,” the nice lady behind the counter explained as we logged in our frequent movie points.

That quick success was dampened only by Deb’s question as we left the service desk.

“Do we get anything for using that card?” Silence ensued. It was a question to which I had no answer.

Theatre 9 was at the far end, a long walk down two corridors and I wondered at that point if we needed to hustle. So we did.

But when we finally arrived at Theater 9, we were stopped in our tracks by a nice seniorlooking lady guarding the closed doors. There we were given our homework, a long survey of questions we were to complete after viewing the movie.

“I better pay attention,” I quipped as I took the survey in hand. Our nice guard did not react to my jest, instead she dutifully thrust a sharp pencil at me to equip me for my upcoming assignment.

We entered the theatre, the empty theatre, and with a bit of confusion, found our reserved seats, in a sea of empty seats, up at the top row. Eventually we were joined by our “surprise” next over seat neighbors, the other couple who paid the big bucks for the movie that didn’t appear anywhere on the ticket board, the couple who got our seats first.

Once the theater darkened, we did move one seat over from our neighbors, just for a little breathing room.

It didn’t seem to pose a problem.

Return to top