If absolute power corrupts absolutely, then a small amount of power must make you a tinpot despot.

I have been advised by four separate people I should wait at least 24 hours before making any sort of decisions about whether or not to write about this. It’s been 22, is that close enough? And this won’t post for like 48 hours after it happened, how about that? Good? Does that work?

OK, listen. I’d like to tell you all that I’m like this calm, cool and collected chick, and that when shit does down I’m the proverbial duck and I let it roll off my back and I move on to more sunshine and rainbows and kittens and what-have-you. I really would. I have been making a concerted effort to be calmer and less angry over the past six months or so. And, for the most part? It’s working. You all have Ken to thank for that. Take a moment to give Ken a round of applause, most sincerely. He’s an excellent influence and one of the calmest and most relaxed people I know. He doesn’t get all bent out of shape about nonsense. I aspire to be that calm, I truly do. Because I think if I was, I’d worry less and I’d sleep better and all good things.

This is for Andreas. I know it will make him smile.

However, I’ve got genetics and history to fight with. Genetics, in that I’ve got half my DNA from one of the angriest human beings alive. Does anyone remember that Simpsons episode where Bart drew that cartoon “Angry Dad?”

It’s Amy’s Dad! Hi, Amy’s Dad!

Yeah, that’s my dad. I love him to pieces, and sure, he’s really, really funny, too, but he goes through life furious. About EVERYTHING. We spent ten minutes on the phone the other day with him shouting about how much he hated this bird that’s been dive-bombing him at his wood lot. SHOUTING. HATRED. BIRDS. Also, history. I spent a long, long time being bullied, and not saying a word about it. That kind of anger being pushed down for so long festers, don’t you even let anyone tell you it doesn’t. Now I realize I don’t have to put up with assholes, and they usually back down if you stand your ground, because deep down they’re huge cowards. And sometimes that means being an asshole right back to them. And listen. I’m GOOD at it. I can get shouty with the best of them. I was brought up that you push down your anger, down down down DOWN, and then it EXPLODES, and you SCREAM, and then the person forgives you because you’re totally the most charismatic. Plus they should understand it’s all their fault, because they pushed you to the point of screaming. So really, I’m doomed before I begin. Both nature AND nurture, I’ve got the anger from.

Me, if I don’t take a step back and a few cleansing breaths. ALL THE TIME. (No, this isn’t really me. I don’t have blue eyes. And I have a tongue ring. Come on, people.)

So, this weekend, a really, really shitty thing happened. I’m going to do something kind of ground-breaking here. I’m going to tell you what happened EXACTLY as it happened. I’m not going to embellish. I’m going to be completely straight and just-the-facts-ma’am-y. Because I don’t want to be accused of lying. I’m pretty sure I was being accused of lying this weekend? So I’m going to be most definitely and completely straight with you here. This is what happened. How do you know? Well, you don’t. But I guess you’ll just have to trust me. Also, maybe you’ll be able to tell it’s not embellished because it’ll be BORING. Because not putting the pretty party clothes on stories makes them, in my opinion, as boring as watching old people screw. Not that I ever have, but I assume it would be pretty boring, right? I mean, that’s a saying, isn’t it? It wouldn’t be a saying if it wasn’t a thing. Or is it as GROSS as watching old people screw? I don’t know, what do I look like, the saying dictionary?

I also debated putting the names of those involved in here. I wanted to. OH, how I wanted to. But that’s probably a bad idea. Because people can get sued for things like that, can’t they? And also, it’s about things that I’m involved in, so it could come back on me, I suppose. Although I’m 110% in the right on this. More. More than 110%. Like, all the percent PLUS percents. So, I suppose, if you wanted to be all Sherlock Holmesey, you could easily figure out the names of the major participants here. But you didn’t get them from me. I’m trying to deep-breathe. I’m trying to be calm.

I went to a play this weekend. How was the play? It was actually really excellent. But I couldn’t enjoy it. Because right before it started, I was asked to leave the theater. I didn’t leave, but I spent the entire show in such a state of righteous fury that I’m pretty sure, had someone touched me, they would have pulled their hand away from me with third-degree burns. I was HOT.

OK. No embellishments. This is against everything I stand for, I’ll have you know. I’m all ABOUT the embellishments. I accessorize like a BOSS. But just the facts, just the facts.

I arrived at the theater. An usher showed me to my seat. I was in the front row. The front row was set up in this way:

XX                                                                                                                            XXXXX

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

STAGE

That’s not the best diagram, but it works. (I did find a seating chart online, and was GOING to insert it here, but decided it was way too obvious what theater I’d been to, for those of you who don’t already know. Some of you do. For example: I ran into one of my readers at intermission. HE knows.) The front row kind of curves around the stage, and where there are breaks in it on the left and right, those are the aisles. I was in the italicized red seat on your far left. Right on the aisle. It was a good seat, if a little off-center. I like front row. It’s my thing. I like center front best, but I’ll take what I can get. And it was a sold-out house, and the closing performance.

As we were seated, the seat beside me and to the right of me was removed (they’re not bolted to the floor, they’re just loose chairs) and a woman in a wheelchair sat there. Right behind me was another man in a wheelchair. The foot-area of his wheelchair was extended and right against the back right leg of my chair. I only noticed this when I went to put my purse on the floor, and I only noticed this to make a mental note for myself not to kick his feet.

Please note: at no point did I change where my chair was located. I did not move it up, back, or into the aisle. Where it was when I sat down was where it remained. It was easy to see that it was where it belonged, as it was in a pretty diagonal line with the chairs behind it.

About twenty minutes before the show, an usher came up to the woman sitting directly across the aisle from me in the front row. He informed her that, since actors would be entering through the aisle, she could not have any of her person in the aisle at any time. She said, “OK.” He then said, “Why is your seat here?” She expressed confusion. He said he didn’t like where her seat was, as actors entered through the aisle. She said that’s where she’d been seated. (It was. I saw her when she sat. She also didn’t move her chair at all.) He said again he didn’t like where her seat was, and that he had no idea why her seat would be there. He then left. I did not like that he seemed to be chastising the patron for where her seat was positioned when it was not her fault the seat was there, but it’s not my theater, and he wasn’t talking to me, so I went back to playing with my phone.

I couldn’t find a good graphic for an angry usher. And this cracked my shit up. I think it’s something animatronic or whatever. Pretend this is the usher, it’s making my day.

Please note he did not speak to me. I heard the conversation because he was standing close to me and I’m a terrible eavesdropper and he was not speaking quietly, but the conversation was not directed to me in the least.

About five minutes later, the same usher came back and positioned himself in front of me. “You can’t be in the aisle,” he said. “Actors use this as an entrance.”

I told him I’d heard him telling the other patron that, and thanked him.

“You can’t be in the AISLE,” he said again. This was confusing. Had he thought I didn’t hear him the first time?

“I will be sure to stay out of the aisle,” I said, a little louder, in the off chance he was hard of hearing.

“Because ACTORS use it,” he said. Now I was truly befuddled. Did he think I wasn’t understanding him?

“Yes, I understand. I’ll stay out of the aisle. I won’t get in their way. Thank you,” I said. He stood there for a few moments more, watching me. I maintained eye contact. I learned on Animal Planet that’s what you do when threatened by an alpha dog, unless you want them to rip out your tender throat-area. He walked away. Back to playing with my phone and reading the program.

I’m not rolling over and showing my throat for any officious usher. Or anyone, actually. I’m stubborn as shit, no joke.

Time passed. The show was about to start. The lights dimmed. Announcements were made; a man came onstage and talked a little about the show and had us applaud for some patrons. All normal things, especially at the end of a season (this is the end of the season for most of our community theaters.)

Then another man came over to my seat.

Now, here’s the thing. I know this guy. He doesn’t KNOW I know him, but I know him. When I first moved to town, he was a client of the firm I worked for. And he was rude, and he was officious. He was one of those people who saw an administrative staff member and immediately thought, “lesser human being!” and spoke to them as if they were mentally deficient. I see him around town now and then. I don’t like him. But he doesn’t know who I am. Hell, he didn’t know who I was when he was seeing me on a daily basis since admin staff didn’t register on his people-who-matter-scale, he certainly doesn’t know who I am ten years later.

He leaned in to me. He was smiling, but it was a very used-car-salesman smile. A politician’s smile. A very “this pains me” smile. Very false.

Maybe he was trying to put me in a nice pre-owned Volvo and I misread the situation. What? It’s possible.

“We’re going to have to ask you to leave,” he said. “If you’re unwilling to move your seat one foot to the right to accommodate the actors, you’ll have to leave. We’re willing to refund your ticket price, but you’ll have to come with me.”

“Excuse me?” I said. “I haven’t been asked to move. I would have gladly moved, had I been asked.”

He stood up, looking at me as if I was a problem to be solved. A disgusting problem. That smelled. Very nostril-flarey. “I was told you’ve been asked to move your seat three times.”

“That didn’t happen,” I said. “I wasn’t asked to move once, let alone three  times.”

He looked at me. I looked back. I was getting red. It’s what I do when I’m embarrassed; it’s what I do when I’m angry. I’m very pale. I get red easily. I was both embarrassed and angry. Therefore, I was the color of a tomato, I’m sure.

“You WEREN’T asked to move your seat?” he said.

“No, I was NOT,” I replied.

He continued to stare at me. I realized something: he thought I was lying. It was obvious from the way he was looking at me; it was obvious from his body language. “Well, why don’t you move your seat on over, then,” he said. Then he patronizingly patted me on the back, like I was a child who’d learned a good, hard lesson today, and walked away.

Well, as mentioned: I was kind of blocked in by the wheelchair guy. I couldn’t move my seat. I attempted it, without thinking, because I was kind of caught flat-footed and wasn’t thinking. Then when I hit the wheelchair I realized, well, shit, I can’t move my seat, even if I HAD been asked, which I WASN’T.

OK. That’s all that happened. I didn’t have other encounters with him or with the original usher (other than seeing them in the lobby at intermission, and I can tell you, the death glare I gave the two of them probably has rendered them unable to spawn devil-children), but other than that, nothing.

Me, inside. Outside, mostly just all glarey, though.

(You can tell I’m telling the truth about this, by the way, because if I was embellishing, I would have had myself saying some more impressive things to him than I did. I’m one of those people who thinks of good comebacks hours later. On the drive home, I thought of three things I could have said to him, and said them, out LOUD, ANGRILY, in my car. So, I’m obviously telling you the truth, because I don’t come across as silvertongued as you’ve come to expect from your dear ol’ Amy.)

Here are my thoughts on the matter.

First: if you knew those seats (mine and the woman across the aisle from me) were going to be a problem with the actor’s movement, remove the seats. Completely. And don’t sell them. I know the theater’s new; I know it was a sold-out house; I know you need the money. But if you don’t want us sitting there, don’t sell us the seats. And if you DO sell us the seats, for the love of Pete, before we get there, POSITION THE SEATS WHERE YOU WANT THEM. Don’t make it OUR FAULT the seats are not where you want them, and don’t blame US for not sitting precisely where you want us. We are not mind-readers. We don’t know where you want our seats.

(Also, side note, and even MORE perplexing, at the intermission? The first usher brought over another seat and placed it on the aisle right behind the woman he’d spoken to first. It was jutting out in the aisle. Very dangerous for the actors. He then seated a handicapped man in it. He did not yell at the handicapped man. He PURPOSELY put the man in a seat that was MUCH more in the way than EITHER of the seats that were getting him all knicker-twisty was. I was completely flummoxed.)

Second: Your patrons are your money.

And, as a very poor person, you’d better RESPECT my dollar signs, yo. I don’t have many of them to pass around all freewheelin’ like.

As such, they are always right. You’ve heard the “the customer is always right” thing before, correct? Well, as much as patrons can be a pain in the ass sometimes (and listen, I’m a theater person, they can, they SO can) they have something we need. Money. And if we don’t get their money? We’re not going to be performing much longer, you know? So, what exactly made you decide, both original usher and Mr. Fancypants second guy, that you were going to come over and give me attitude? Let’s put aside for the moment that I work in community theater. Because you didn’t know that, and at that moment, I was just a patron, anyway. A PAYING patron. Who put down the same amount of money as everyone else in the theater. You really thought it was not only a good idea to come over the first time and give me attitude, but then to go back to your usher smoking circle or whatever, LIE about what we talked about, and be all, “this’ll teach her, I’ll send the big guns over?” Really? You thought this was, what, how we treat people who PAID MONEY TO WATCH YOUR SHOW?

Third: An apology was called for and not given. Am I wrong in thinking that? I’m guessing you think I was lying and you believe that the usher was telling the truth in that he told me THREE TIMES to move my seat (which you can see is not able to be moved, had you even looked at it at all?) But since when do we assume our patrons are lying? And what kind of weird-ass patron would refuse to move their seat a foot to the right? It’s not like you asked me to sit elsewhere, or strip naked and get onstage and dance the Chicken Dance, for the love of all that’s holy.

OK, so, my precious minions, here’s my question for you.

Am I overreacting? Would this have pissed you off? What would you have done? Ignored? Left? Caused a scene? Went and found the original usher and forced him to call you a liar to your face?

And, what would you do now?

I’m thinking my best course of action is a letter to the president of the Board of Directors of the theater. I know, I know. I should be all, whatever, and let it go, and what am I even hoping the outcome will be, if I send it? Probably nothing. But listen, I don’t think it SHOULD be let go. Our patrons should not be treated this way. I kind of feel like I’m speaking up for every patron that’s been treated poorly by every officious little bastard usher ever. We give these people the tiniest bit of power and they abuse the hell out of it. I’ve seen it at my theater and I’ve seen it at other theaters and it makes me furious. I paid for my effing ticket. I’m not saying you need to fan me with a palm leaf while feeding me grapes, but you can at least treat me like it’s not a burden to have me in your building.

(To be clear: the second person was not an usher. Research tells me he is part of the administrative “staff” – unpaid, I assume, as it’s a community theater – of the theater. So he works there. I work at a theater, too. And have never once treated a patron – even the one who called me a liar to my face, even the homeless man who stole all our toilet paper, even the one who started screaming we were oppressing her when she sat in someone else’s seat and refused to move to her ticketed seat, even the drunk one who started screaming during a show – the way I was treated this weekend.)

And I will repeat, as I told my dad like three times when telling him this story last night: I DID NOTHING WRONG HERE. I sat where I was told; I did not move my chair; I didn’t even put my elbows or knees in the aisle all willy-nilly. Why the HELL was I treated like some sort of theater ne’er-do-well? I felt like I should be twirling my moustache and chuckling evilly or something.

Also, if I see any of our ushers treating any of our patrons like this, I’m going to blow my top. I mean it. If a patron is acting like a looney, send them to me, I’ll deal with that shit. I’ve done it before. But don’t you DARE take it upon yourself, ushers, to yell at a patron.

I’m completely serious. Let me know in the comments. Or on Facebook. Or on Twitter. Hell, send me smoke signals, I don’t care. Am I blowing this all out of proportion? (I promise you’re not going to hurt my feelings if you tell me I am. My father is convinced I am. I still love him.) Would you do something (a letter to the board president  or something else?) Or would you let it go, all, “meh, mistakes happen?” I’m honestly curious if I’m reading the whole situation wrong or something.

That’s it. Shoo, fly, shoo. As you were. I’m all civil liberties woman with the not wanting to be moved today, seriously. LET’S MARCH ON WASHINGTON WITH LARGE PLACARDS RIGHT NOW.

I’d be the worst protester, I’d get very hot and exhausted after about five minutes and need a nap and some shade and a cool drink. Sorry, all the important causes.

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About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

45 responses to “If absolute power corrupts absolutely, then a small amount of power must make you a tinpot despot.

  • sj

    I think I would have reacted exactly as you did, Amy.

    Right down to the red faced embarrassment. Then I would have sat there, silently fuming until the show was over, at which point I would have uttered a few choice expletives on my way to the car.

    You’re not over-reacting. If you DO write a letter, make sure you’re not in an angry place when you write it, and have someone you can trust to be unbiased read it before you send it off, so that you don’t come off as an irrational crazypants.

    <3

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you! Letter’s written. It’s going out tomorrow. It’s mostly calm. MOSTLY calm. It might use some big words here or there. I’ll give it one last readthrough tomorrow. :)

      Like

  • Michelle Hernandez (@willieburgscrap)

    NOPE no over reacting here! You are 100% right in every point. YES write that letter- you witnessed something wrong when first lady got yelled at- that was enough to get those fingers clicking. The two employees obviously have ZERO communication ability- saying you are seated in “the wrong place” is not ASKING you to do something and IF he had said PLEASE and HELPED you move (what ushers are meant to do) he would have immediately noticed the wheelchair space issue. I think you handled it quite well- I would have gone full screaming mimi on that sucka AND left in a dramatic huff AND demanded my money back like no one offered it up in the first place AND written this blog post with NAMES and links- they should be very VERY glad you are a restrained (normal!) person.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you! You have all been great. I feel so much better knowing I’m not overreacting. I wrote the letter. It’s going out tomorrow after one last readthrough. I feel better having written it.

      Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Firstly: I’m actually not quite sure how I would have reacted, but I can’t see how you could have been in the wrong.

    Secondly: What’s WRONG with all the ushers? Is it an especially shitty job to have, or something?

    (Hobbes did make me smile, by the way.)

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      It’s actually not that bad of a job? Patrons can be a little rude at times, but usually they’re fine. I usher at our theater quite often. It’s ok. And most theaters give you a free ticket to the show for doing it. The problem we run into is the ones who get a power trip for being “in charge” of something. I don’t see them too much at my theater – probably because the minute I scent someone on a power trip, I try to knock them down to a human level, because there is NOTHING I hate more than a power trip – but I do see it a lot at other theaters. It’s upsetting.

      Yay! I saw that Hobbes cartoon and I thought, BAM, that one’s going in. FOR ANDREAS.

      Like

  • Kris Rudin (@krisrudin)

    Nope. You are not wrong. The first usher did a TERRIBLE job communicating with you. His comment “You can’t be in the aisle” is not the same as “Please move your chair.” Was he a young-ish person? In his 20’s? I ask because I think younger people (in general, in the US) have poor communication skills. He THOUGHT he was asking you to move, hence he told Mr. Tinpot Despot that’s what he said. But, clearly, he did not. In no way did he ever infer that he wanted you to move you chair! Ugh, ugh, ugh. I would have been angry and humiliated, too. I probably would have left, when asked, as I’m way too compliant, sometimes, because I don’t want to “make a scene”. (You and I clearly have different genetic make-up! ;-)

    I’m sorry you had to go through this. But, maybe by writing your letter, you will prevent it from happening to some other unfortunate individual. And, in said letter, I would emphasize the poor communication skills.

    Here’s a virtual hug: <>

    Hope you have a better day!!!

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      He was actually older – my age? Maybe a little older? I didn’t even think, until I was writing this, that that’s what he thought he was doing. Because it wasn’t at all what he was saying. I mean, who communicates like that? It’s like he learned how to communicate on another planet, or something. So strange.

      I have a weird stubborn genetic makeup. I wasn’t always like this. I was so, so compliant for years. Just let everyone bulldoze me. Bent over backward. And then one day I stood up and said, you know what? No. Not any more. I have just as much worth as everyone else. I sometimes get too loud about it, but I’m learning.

      Letter’s on the way. It’s going out tomorrow. It’s concise and to the point and hopefully will get something done, but if not, I feel better having written it.

      Like

  • jbrown3079

    I have a quick temper. I am not necessarily proud of it but it is part of my DNA. I come from a long line of quick tempered people.
    So, I would have asked the second guy to bring the first one here just to see if he would stick to his story.
    I would write the letter and while emphasizing how much I like their theater, it would be difficult for me to recommend it to others based on the treatment that was received in this instance.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I wanted to talk to that first usher. I so did. But they timed it PERFECTLY. The lights were going down. So if I did, I’d have had to leave the theater and miss the beginning of the show. And I REALLY wanted to see the show. (I’m such a theater whore, aren’t I?)

      Letter’s written and will be going out tomorrow. I want to read it through one more time, but it’s good, I think. It does what it’s meant to do. And I feel better having written it.

      Like

  • 35jupiterdrive

    I have so much to say and so little time to say it in. So the short version is: you’re not wrong. All other opinions and advice (which may be worth what is paid for it ;) have to wait until tonight. So I’ll be back. But first I wanted to pop in and give you a virtual hug.

    Like

  • Rich Crete

    For a letter of this sort to be effective, you must write it as you are simply sharing information that you would want if you were in the recipient’s position. If you make it seem like you are demanding justice, you will not be taken as seriously as you should be taken. If it seems you are out for blood, you may be seen as over-reacting. Just write it from the perspective that you are sure the recipient has no clue his/her patrons are being treated poorly. You are being helpful by bringing this “communication/training” issue to his/her attention. He/she can’t, afterall, fix a problem unless he/she is aware there is one. I promise this is the right way to register a complaint and not have it dismissed as wacky.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you, Rich. I kept this in mind the entire time I wrote the letter. It was very valuable. (I know, I’m very often sarcastic. I’m not right now. It was. Thank you. Sincerely.)

      Like

  • padraicban

    Not wrong or overreacting. A letter to the Board President is not only warranted but neccessary for the health and growth of our passion. When choosing an afternoon’s entertainment and you pay $22. or $28. with $4. sevice fee you should not have to know as much as you do about the inner workings of the organization. That the usher, house manager and director who staged the piece (using the aisle only once thereby negating it’s value as intrinsic to the setting of the play) are all volunteers does not have to figure in your expectation of treatment as a patron. That you do not treat your patrons in such a manner is not only commendable but vital to the continuation of our practicing the art.
    Perhaps unfortunately this is the dividing line between community and professional. Completely unneccessarily but what we take for common sense and yawn at thru customer service training that has stolen months out of our lives really does have to be formally mandated. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you so much. I was hoping you’d comment. You’re always a voice of reason and I know I can trust you to be honest.

      I did write a letter, and am mailing it (after one final read-through) tomorrow. It may not go anywhere, but I feel better having written it. I’d want to know if such a thing happened at my theater. I can only hope that the president over there feels the same way. I’m a bit of an optimist. We’ll see where it gets me.

      Like

  • ProfMomEsq

    Why are my comments always lists? Here we go:
    1. Hobbes = love. I have the tattoo to prove this.
    2. You are not overreacting. I think you handled the situation quite well under the circumstances.
    3. I would have given the first usher a verbal beat down of nuclear-language-assassin proportion. The second Bossy Buckeye would’ve gotten the full arsenal assault on with the volume on 10. I would only embarrass myself doing this, because I have a problem with disproportionate responses to rude behavior. Logic, right? The ruder someone is, and the nicer and calmer you are in response, the more assholish the rude person looks But the logic part of my brain is no match for the angry part. Ask the lady who ran a stop sign in the grocery store parking lot then flipped ME off. It felt good at the moment to get out of my car, ask her in a screechy voice whether she was illiterate or just a discourteous asshole. Afterward, though, I felt like a douche. So, DO NOT beat yourself for not saying more during the confrontation. You acted like a mature adult; they were the assholes. Because of that, you are in an excellent position to express a credible complaint.
    4. So, yes, write a letter. I second what sj said: keep it professional and make your point not about correcting what happened to you but about concern for the broader welfare of the theatre.
    5. My rule of thumb is this (when I keep my Barky O’Scara on a leash): if you are still mad about something a day after it happened – after sleeping on it and everything – it is important enough to YOU to do something about it. So do.
    6. I know this isn’t funny, but I couldn’t help but chuckle at the “I hate people” tag.
    7. I am commenting on my phone, so please feel free to edit my work. It’s probably not even mine. Who the hell knows what autocorrect has to say about this.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      The “I hate people” tag totally gets a workout sometimes. It’s been used more than it probably should be. :)

      Letter is written and will be going out tomorrow. It’s fairly calm and collected. I want to look it over tomorrow and give it one last edit.

      I’m usually too upset to react when something happens. But sometimes I explode. Then I ALWAYS feel like an ass. Not too long ago, I totally reamed this person out? And yeah, this person (let’s call the person X, it’s easier) was being an ass. But I went WAY over the top. I ripped X a new one. I went up one side and down the other. There were tears. (X’s, not mine. I was too screamy for tears.) And when I was done, for about two seconds, I was like, “I WIN!” and then, immediately afterward, I felt like SUCH A DOUCHE. I mean, X deserved it – so, so deserved it – but didn’t deserve it of that MAGNITUDE. I’ve felt bad ever since. (I can’t really apologize, though, because, listen, X really did deserve it. Just not so MUCH of it.)

      Like

      • ProfMomEsq

        You can use the line I use with my kids: “I’m not sorry about what I said, but I am sorry about how I said it. And, yes, you’re still grounded.”

        Like

        • lucysfootball

          ZOMG. I totally wrote that to X in an email. See, X wrote me an email DEMANDING an apology? And I don’t do well with demands? So I wrote a non-apology. Almost word-for-word what you just said above. Hee!

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  • michael

    As a former box office manager, I just want to say you are right – and you should send any kind of damn letter you please. Seating issues are not the patron’s problem. This is why a good box office holds back some comp tickets that are the best seats in the house, even if they lose money on the deal. Better to have a few prime seats empty than to have patrons who are unhappy. If, after you were seated, there was concern that the placement of your seat might pose a problem for the actors (no matter WHOSE fault is was), the management (volunteer or not) should’ve apologized to you for their mistake and offered to comp your ticket for a better seat. And all ticket problems have to be addressed BEFORE the lights are dimmed. I’d be furious, too.

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    • lucysfootball

      Thank you, Michael. I’m sending the letter out tomorrow. Whatever happens, I’ll feel better having sent it. It’s fairly calm and collected, very just-the-facts, letting the board president know what happened.

      (Knowing you’d be upset makes me feel better. You’re so calm! Thank you, seriously. That means a lot.)

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  • lynnettedobberpuhl

    I love letter writing, because it gives me time to breathe and allow thoughts that in their infancy are more “raging firestorms” to cool into actual “words.” I understand your angry reaction, and think a letter is in order. I would recommend, as others have said, trying to detach emotionally and approach it as a communication and customer service issue that needs to be solved because that tends to make sense to businesses. Hopefully Marshal McShirty will suffer in the seven levels of hell. As he should. In the meantime, he is clearly an unappealing and probably lonely person with little but his officiousness to bolster his sputtering ego. Pity him or not, but you are far beyond him.

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    • lucysfootball

      He’s got problems. It’s true. I didn’t realize until I looked into it, but the years have not been kind to (heh) Marshal McShirty. :)

      I wrote the letter. It’s going out tomorrow. Where it goes from there, who knows, but I felt better having written it.

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  • Heather

    I would have been mad as hell. As a matter of fact, I got pretty mad just reading about your experience. So you are definitely NOT overreacting, and I think you SHOULD write a letter. Because here’s the thing: if they didn’t —e any problem giving attitude to you and another patron, they aren’t going to have a problem doing the same thing to other patrons in the future. They may have already treated past patrons like crap. This needs to be brought to the attention of whoever is in charge. Seriously.

    And I’m like you–I get so mad sometimes that I don’t think of the good comebacks until hours later when I’ve fumed about it for a while and replayed it in my head a few million times. Ugh.

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    • lucysfootball

      I am the WORST at coming up with timely comebacks. But the ones I come up with after the fact are FANTASTIC. :)

      I wrote the letter. I’m mailing it tomorrow. I wanted to look at it one more time tomorrow before posting it. I’ll feel better, and I think it needs to be done. I’m still angry, and it’s been two days.

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  • lahikmajoe

    Wait, have you written the letter? And when exactly are you mailing it?

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    • lucysfootball

      Yep, it’s done. Tomorrow. I just want to give it one last readthrough.

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    • lucysfootball

      What are YOUR thoughts on the matter, by the way, oh calmest friend of mine? I know it seems like a moot point, but I do want to know. It matters.

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      • lahikmajoe

        The question I always ask myself is: what’s my motivation. Not in a theatre way, but in a ‘what do I want out of this?’

        Have you written the letter to be vengeful? From a place of righteous indignation? That’s no good. Not for you personally or for the good of the situation.

        But if you genuinely want to better the theatre and their customer service, then I’d say it was going the right direction. Just my inclination, but that’s what you asked for.

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        • lucysfootball

          Dammit, you and your rational logic. Also, I’m seriously going to need you to be on retainer for all things in my life ever, would that work for you?

          How about the letter was about 80/20. 80% yes, I honestly want it to be better. Not only for the theater itself – that’s small-scale – but for area theater. We’re a smallish area. We can all benefit from this. Our patrons deserve better. It reflects badly on all of us if this happens to the patrons. It turns patrons off to theater. We can’t afford that. It’s hard enough to get people in the door as it is.

          20% of me is still furious.

          So I sent it. And I read and reread that letter today. It read well. It’s calm and it’s collected and I think it puts the matter forth in a rational manner.

          But thank you. I did want your inclination. Of course I did. I always do. I read it with a little Ken on my shoulder, telling me to calm the hell down and did I *really* need to word that sentence like that? No. No, I didn’t. Look at the distance editing job you did today. Nice job, you. Check’s in the mail.

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  • Samantha

    Yeah I agree, you are totally not overreacting. I’m not sure what I would have done in the same situation because I tend to blubber when I’m angry or get really silent and then think of comebacks later on. I definitely think that you did the right thing in writing a letter, and hope that they discipline those ushers in some way to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Ultimately, it’s bad for business.

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    • lucysfootball

      I’m guessing nothing will happen to the ushers – most likely, they both work there, so they’ll assume I’m the one lying & the ushers are telling the truth – but at least I wrote the letter. I feel better in having done that.

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  • Jericha Senyak (@JerichaSenyak)

    Dude, totally not overreacting. I was getting mad just READING it. So mad, actually, I think it’s HIGHLY ADMIRABLE that you managed not to get shirty and stroppy and all those other wonderful British words for being righteously indignant that you were WELL WITHIN YOUR RIGHTS TO BE GOOD LORD. I’m sure your esprit d’escalier comebacks were FABULOUS, but in all honesty, probably best that you didn’t come up with them until it was too late – because a smart, firm letter to the Board is going to be much more weighty if you failed to rise to the luscious-looking bait those two powermad douchecanoes dangled before you oh so enticingly.

    I would also make a point of mentioning the handicapped gentleman who was placed in the aisle, and the interaction the usher had with the woman in the wheelchair – because a) being rude and officious to people in wheelchairs is very not okay and b) placing people with disabilities in the path of THE ACTORS when it has been made clear that THE ACTORS ARE COMING OH NOES is also very not okay. (If I was in a wheelchair, I would probably have to deal with enough crap just getting seated in the first place that being then told I was in the wrong place and the usher didn’t “like” where I was sitting would make me VICIOUSLY FURIOUS.) And, let’s face it, mentioning that the abovementioned douchecanoes were also douchecanoes to the disabled people sitting next to you will probably get some attention paid to your polite-but-clearly-justified complaint.

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    • lucysfootball

      Oh, no, the woman across the aisle from me that he was rude to was just in a seat, like me, not in a wheelchair. They were actually VERY nice to the handicapped patrons. Much nicer than they were to the rest of us. That’s fine, I’m not saying they should be rude to the handicapped patrons – far from it, they should be nice to ALL of us – but they went out of their way for the handicapped patrons, and the rest of us could, well, go take a flying leap, I guess?

      Letter’s written. Going out today.

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  • lazyboo

    Glad you wrote the letter, totally justified in your reaction. Yes to what everyone else has already said, you handled it amazingly well. I hope Mr Tinpot Asshat gets a dressing down out of it, at the very least.

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  • padraicban

    And yet…Thought about this last night and I’m sorry that I put the ticket prices in my comment. It’s not about the money or hopefully not the jealousy I feel towards a culture that rewards music inordinately compared to drama which this company is profiting from bigtime. BUT not profiting. I’m a patron, not money. Sometimes, I don’t even pay but I’m not attending Sunday afternoon because I need a couple of pounds of entertainment and what price can I get for that?
    We are members of a community and we are going to support and patronize the local arts because it nourishes us. We need it to grow. That all involved are volunteers can be taken into account but there was obviously a problem here which cause the usher, the manager and unfortunately you to get bent out of shape. How can we help them avoid future problems?
    It’s the seating. The director never should have staged exits thru handicapped seating. AND if there were seats placed and an aisle set up according to fire code (ahem,they need to check that entrance) they should have been spiked and none of this would have come even remotely close to a patron. It all would have been set before the house opened.
    I feel for you and I’m sorry it detracted from your afternoon. I’m glad you wrote the letter and gave it a day. It shows how much you care. With faith and hope like that better is coming real soon.

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    • lucysfootball

      Thank you. You’re wonderful.

      I care. A lot. A LOT lot. To the point that, I was thinking, I’m glad it happened to me, and not someone else, because what if it turned a patron off to area theater altogether? That would KILL me.

      Like

  • elaine4queen

    letter.

    also, would it help to write it on headed notepaper with the logo of YOUR theatre on it?

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    • lucysfootball

      No, only because I don’t feel comfortable writing AS the Artistic Director. It didn’t happen to Amy-the-Artistic-Director, but just plain old Amy-the-Patron. So I feel like I’d be misrepresenting myself if I wrote it in my official position. (I did mention who I was, but only to explain why I thought it was important she was made aware of the situation – that was writing from a position of someone who also worked at a theater, so would also want to know, but that it had happened to me as a patron. If that makes sense.)

      Like

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