The Palace Westgarth is fast becoming the newest centre of cinema management incompetance. I attended 2 sessions of the Italian film festival on Wednesday night, and both were moved from the smaller upstairs cinema 2 to the larger downstairs cinema 1. There’s no problem with that as such, but when they don’t tell the people coming into the cinema that this has happened, then the result is unhappy customers.
I bought my tickets for the festival a week before it started to ensure seeing the films I wanted to see and, given their stupid allocated seating policy, being able to sit in a reasonable position in the cinema. My preferred seats were lost of course, and I was expected to join the main queue to exchange my cinema 2 ticket for a cinema 1 ticket, which left me with less desirable seats – worse in fact than people who bought them at the door at the last minute. Where was I told this? Not at the entrance to the cinema foyer, or via a sign. I was told at the entrance door to the cinema upstairs.
The excuse for this was that the films were unexpectedly popular! Rubbish. The number of people in the 7pm session of Days of Abandonment, a slow and tedious drama about a woman recovering from being left by her idiot husband, would not have come close to filling the smaller cinema. The 9.30pm session of My Best Enemy, a predictable but entertaining comedy, was somewhat more popular.
I’m a festival regular. I buy lots of tickets. Being told to go downstairs and queue again is insulting. It reflects a lack of planning and management. Loyal customers should be treated at least as well, and hopefully better, as all customers, but I was treated worse. Furthermore, the ticket counter and bar are combined, so you have to wait to complete a 20 second transaction (buying a ticket) while the staff complete a 2 minute transaction (making a coffee). This is so very dumb. I complained and a flustered staffer finally took some initiative and got several of us new tickets without making us queue. The manager of the place should be sacked. They’re pathetic. It’s a shame because the ceiling in cinema 1 is lovely. I doubt that I will be seeing it much.