Our most recent taking in a movie, at our local cinema house, exposed a new wrinkle in the ticket buying experience. Notwithstanding that my spouse and I were attending a less than half-filled show in the afternoon, we had to select our seats in advance, like choosing concert or airline tickets on a laptop screen.
Apparently, this has become de rigueur at least at some local screens in the last month or so. One would have thought some warning or notification, if only for public relations sake, would have been justified.
We were told this procedure was an across the board requirement. Where did this change emanate from? The employee didn’t know. It didn’t appear likely that anyone else working at the theatre on this Sunday did either. So we proceeded to our selected location, in the relative sea of availability.
Of course, diagrams do not encompass the first hand reality of being there; so, to achieve greater logistical comfort, before the main attraction began, we moved further back. We didn’t go back to re-register our seat selection. We left it to fate that no one would come in later and demand our seats.
One of my concerns about this new system showed itself: the row we moved to had one or two seats blocked off; unlikely this would have showed on the register. Couldn’t this sort of thing contribute to time wasted waiting to pick tickets for bad seats?
I contacted the movie chain via chat line. Where did demand come from for reserving seats? I was told that a (nebulous) number of customers were making this request. Perhaps I should have pursued this more, as I’ve never heard or read of any outcry; but then, what difference would it have made? As to why it applied even to low volume screenings, I received a mixed message, indicating that was to apply to certain screenings, not all – a policy not in line with what the cashier at our cinema complex said.
Based on my sister-in-law’s encounters, there may be more flexibility about seat assignment in Toronto than in Ottawa. Whatever strings are being pulled geographically, their algorithms are difficult to deduce.
In any event, what’s next?
- Gasoline retailers wanting drivers to set times for gassing up, so they can maximize inventory control
- Customers reserving leakage-free packaging for purchases at a fresh meat counter
- Booking seats in a doctor’s office in anticipation of long periods of waiting
- Setting up a special driving lane for commuters impatient to keep traffic moving along, firmly and briskly
- Arranging to keep someone at the other end of the line on hold for a change, when in touch with a service provider
- Beer stores establishing a pick-up appointment system, so they only have to stock beers pre-ordered by customers
- Highway traffic officers demanding texts from drivers planning to speed past their checkpoints, so they can have tickets ready
- As an aid to congested dog parks, there could be private spots reserved, like little camp sites
- There could be allocating of spots on park benches for those with the healthiest diet mix for local fauna
- Perhaps most importantly, everyone should be developing their own reserves of patience to draw on, for dealing with episodes of undesirable, inscrutable evolution