I totally have some stories. So really this is kind of random crap Monday but these are all stories that I have to tell you because they’re totally the most funny and/or interesting and/or annoying.
You know, someday? I’m going to get one of those tablet-thingys where I can draw really awful illustrations to accompany my posts, because really what my posts need are additional added horrible illustrations. You know what I can’t do? Walk like I’m not 95 years old on ice? Well, that either. Draw. I totally can’t draw.
How not to treat your patrons (unless you’re WANTING to lose customers, then go ahead, I guess)
So this weekend, I went to see a play. It was a good play, at a good theater; I left pleased with the performance. I did NOT leave pleased with the customer service.
Here’s the scoop.
I showed up. The usher (the ushers are volunteers, and, as such, some are more skilled than others; I try to cut them some slack. We all draw from the same pool of volunteers. I see some of my theater’s volunteers over there, from time to time. You take what you can get, volunteer-wise. You’re not paying a volunteer. Some work like it’s a job; some are there because, in exchange for volunteering, you get a free ticket, so they go through the motions accordingly in order to get their free ticket; some act like they’re there on a prison work-release program, and I don’t 100% understand why they come at all, no one’s forcing them) was having trouble seating people, because she didn’t understand left from right. That’s rude-sounding, and not meant to be – the theater’s somewhat in the round, so I can see that it might be a little confusing, which side is right and which is left. Also, there’s the whole stage left/stage right vs. audience left/audience right thing. I get it. So I seated myself, because I’ve been there before and I knew where my seat was.
About fifteen minutes later, she came up to me, very fluttery, with a couple of patrons. “Um…” she said, looking like she was about to combust.
“Yes?” I asked.
“I think you’re in these people’s seat,” she said.
“I don’t think so,” I said.
“Do you have a ticket?” she asked. Now, I really wanted to say, no, no I don’t, I’m a street person and I’m gate-crashing, but I produced it. She looked at mine. She looked at theirs. She looked like she was going to cry, because we all had the same seat number on our tickets.
At that point, she called over Officious Jones.
Officious Jones was an usher I’d been watching while seated, waiting for the show to start. Apparently, he thought that he ran the theater, even though he was an unpaid volunteer. He was cock-of-the-walking around, chest puffed out, yelling at the other ushers, attempting to herd the patrons into orderly lines when they were already in orderly lines, and generally being a pain in the ass. Also, an elderly woman walked in with snow on her shoes – it snowed here on Saturday – and he TOOK HER TO TASK for tracking snow into the theater. She apologized, and he told her “well, you’ll know not to do it again.” Yep. I was loving Officious Jones.
Officious Jones came over.
“Do you have a NAME?” he asked me. (Our names aren’t on the tickets.)
“Yes,” I replied.
He stood there. His face was getting red.
“Oh, did you want me to give it to you?” I asked. (People like Officious Jones make me obstinate. Well, let’s be frank, most people do, but people like him ESPECIALLY do.)
He grunted out a yes.
As Officious Jones stomped off, I gave my seat to the very nice couple who were waiting (they said they always had these seats, and were season subscribers, and there was an empty seat next to mine, and as I was just one person and they were very, very old and I’m really quite nice and actually very understanding, I KNOW SHOCKER, I let them sit) and stood waiting for the verdict.
Officious Jones stomped back in.
“The PROBLEM is,” he huffed, “you purchased your ticket for YESTERDAY’S show.”
(The tickets, because they recently switched over to a new e-ticketing system, don’t have a date printed on them.)
“Really. That seems unlikely, considering I worked yesterday. Why would I have purchased a ticket for a show that was occurring during a work shift, when I’ve worked the same shift for almost seven years now?” I asked him. Officious Jones didn’t enjoy this answer.
“THE COMPUTER SAYS YOU DID,” he hissed. “But since you’re here, I’ve been authorized to give you THIS SEAT” (and he pointed out a seat that was actually better than my original seat.) He waited until I sat, I guess to make sure I didn’t cause a ruckus or try to steal other people’s seats or strip naked or track in snow or something, GLARED at me, then stomped out.
OK, here’s the scoop.
I’m a paying customer. It is not my fault that your e-ticket system doesn’t have a date on the e-ticket; it is not my fault that your computer system says I purchased a ticket for a show that I KNOW I did not purchase a ticket for (and I didn’t keep the original email, so I can’t confirm or deny that I bought the ticket for yesterday’s show, but I can’t imagine I wouldn’t have – I’ve never made a mistake like that before, and I’ve been buying online tickets for years, I do it with a calendar at my side and write the dates on the calendar as I purchase because I see a number of shows a month and I want to keep it straight what I’m going to see when.) As a paying customer, I should be afforded a certain level of courtesy. That level of courtesy means that you do NOT treat me like I’m attempting to rip you off or that I haven’t bathed in a month or that I’m putting you out by being there. Our local theaters are in trouble. You need all the paying customers you can get. The tickets for this theater aren’t cheap. If you continue to treat your customers like garbage, you’re going to lose them, and we’re going to lose another theater venue in town.
At my theater, the patron is always right. Even when they’re an annoying, lying asshat. We bend over backward to make sure they’re accommodated. Once, we had a woman who refused to get out of a seat that wasn’t her ticketed seat. She made a huge stink over the whole thing. Could we have also raised a stink and probably physically ejected her or called the cops or something? Yep. But we didn’t. And you know what? She’s still a patron. We’re careful to make sure she sits in her ticketed seat every show, but we still get her money every time. We NEED that money. Theaters are going under every day.
Are patrons often asshats? Yep. In that case, we paste on a smile, we make them feel like we made the mistake, even when we didn’t, and when they’ve been seated with grace and style, we bitch about them until the air is blue WHERE THEY CAN’T HEAR OR SEE US. Because they are PAYING DAMN CUSTOMERS.
So, Officious Jones, you are very, very bad at customer service. Also, I didn’t whip out my credentials when I was there, because I am not an asshole. Oh, how I wanted to say, “Can I talk to your supervisor?” and tell them I’m the Artistic Director of my theater. Or that I know the person who runs your box office. BUT I DIDN’T. I totally behaved myself. Well, other than being a little stubborn, but I don’t think you can blame me, you were being a jackhole.
Also, to the ladies seated behind me who commented “There sure is a lot of talking in this play!” Yes, yes there is. It’s a play. About family relationships. Probably not many explosions. If you want explosions, I’d go to the movies, I’m sure something there would satisfy you. Also, YES, one of the actresses stars in the local Raymour & Flanigan furniture commercials. But you don’t need to point it out EVERY TIME SHE COMES ON STAGE. “There she is! AGAIN! The FURNITURE lady!” Shhh.
Murder most rodenticidinal IN MY FAMILY
So I was telling my mom about the Rough on Rats post from yesterday and she said, “Oh, like your grandmother’s uncle?”
So I said that – “WHAT?” and got this story:
My grandmother’s uncle – so my grandmother’s mother’s brother, my great-granduncle, I guess? was married to a woman. The woman, as it was BACK IN THE DAY, made all his food and drink, of course. He was known to not want to eat or drink anything anyone else made, when he was visiting others. It was his thing. “My wife makes MY coffee! The way I like it!” he’d boast, while turning down offers of coffee when visiting people.
Well, he died. And the wife remarried. And that husband grew very ill, similarly. And the doctors thought, hmm. And looked into it. And ran some tests. And found ALL THE ARSENIC in her new husband’s system. So they exhumed my great-great-uncle and found HE’D BEEN ROUGH ON RATTED.
Well, I don’t know if she actually USED Rough on Rats but my mom says it was totally a rat poison of some sort. Probably Rough on Rats. Let’s do the math. My grandmother is in her late 80’s. This happened when she was a child. Rough on Rats was around when she was a child. THEREFORE I’VE DECIDED IT WAS ROUGH ON RATS.
My mom says my grandmother still has the clippings from the paper and that my grandmother, who LOVES to tell stories, would be HAPPY to tell them to me the next time I see her and show me the clippings. THIS IS TOTALLY EXCITING.
When I told my dad he said, “Glad that’s not MY side of the family” but I said, “that woman wasn’t ON that side of the family, DAD, she was MARRIED to someone on Mom’s side of the family, I’m not genetically related to her or anything, damn” and he said “same thing” but it’s not, really, Dad.
Although I totally want to be related to the Black Widow of Upstate New York. HOW EXCITING. I can’t wait to see the clippings and hear my grandmother’s story. More on this as it develops! Rough on Rats in my FAMILY you guys!
Well! That was…unexpected! AND ALSO AWESOME!
My uncle recently purchased a truck. He needed to get it inspected. He lives in the boonies, as do most of my people. The garage he brought it to was teeny, and cold because who heats a whole garage? And the inspection was taking a while, so with the cold and the waiting he eventually realized he had to pee like a mofo.
So he asked the guy, “Can I use your bathroom?” and the guy was all, “Sure” and waved him back to it. On the way back, my uncle saw a lot of what looked like cat litter on the floor of the garage. “Odd,” thought my uncle.
The bathroom door was broken and would not shut, but listen, if it’s cold and you have to go to the bathroom, no one cares much. That time I had to pee because effing AAA wouldn’t come and rescue me from the side of the highway and I still have not forgiven them, the bathroom door at the gas station when I finally got to pee was broken and I was totally Honey Badger did NOT give a shit, you know?
So he was in the bathroom, and all of a sudden, the door opened while he was in there, and! Well, THAT’S off-putting! And guess what came into the bathroom?
A BABY CALF YO!
The garage guy was bottle-feeding a baby calf that the momma cow had rejected (I assume the garage guy was also a farmer, we’re pretty multi-tasky, up there in the North Country) and the litter on the floor was apparently because the calf was pooping all over or something, I don’t know, that seems odd, but whatever, BABY CAAAALLLLFFFFF!
My mom, who told me this story, didn’t seem to think that my response of “I would have screamed, because who would have expected that there? Then totally cuddled its little nose and asked the guy if I could bottle-feed it!” was appropriate, but I would have. Aw, little wee calf! I love cows!
Listen, although I love living in civilization, I have to say, awesome things like a calf walking in on you while you are peeing in a rural garage do not often happen here where I live. We don’t get a lot of livestock situations here. That’s kind of sad.
Happy Monday to all and to all a happy week! May you all avoid dictatorial ushers, murderous wives, and get to pet all the adorable baby calves you desire!