Last weekend, I did something that I don’t usually do. I took my kids to see a movie, Ice Age: Continental Drift. I don’t usually attend the movies because I can’t stand sitting through all the inappropriate previews that my kids shouldn’t see, but that is another blog post altogether.

The day before we went to see the movie, I called our local Regal theater to ask some questions about ages and pricing. I wanted to pre-purchase our tickets so that we could skip the long and boring line. Those of you with kids will know how fun those are! After speaking to the theater, and getting the information I needed, I bought the tickets and set our schedule for a fun time the next day. Simple right?

Fast forward to the next day. Upon arrival at the theater I was very thankful that I pre-purchased our tickets. There was a long lineup of 60+ people with one box office open for ticket sales. We happily walked past the lineup to the kiosk, and with a swipe of my trusty credit card, we had our tickets in hand ready to see the movie.

We walked to our theater, and handed our tickets to the attendant. He thanked us and with a pleasant point, and directed us to the appropriate theater. As we turned to walk to our theater, I heard someone say, “How old is she?”. I turned around and saw a man in his mid forties at a table in a coat and tie. My first assumptions was he was a manager.

I looked at the twenty people in line around us, then I looked at him, and finally at my little girl, and responded to him, “She’s 3″. Here is a breakdown of our conversation:

Manger: Can I see her ticket?

Me: She is 3 so we did not need to buy her one.

Manager: You need to buy her one because she is 3.

Me: I called yesterday and your staff told us that 3 and under are free!

Manager: That is correct so at 12:00 am on her 3rd birthday she is no longer free.

Me: Then you need to change your policy, because it currently says 3 and under is free.

Manager: No, you just don’t understand how it is written!

Me: Oh, ok it’s good to know that it’s me and not you, or maybe it’s your staff not being able to correctly communicate what your policy is!

Manager: Our policy is fine, you just don’t understand it.

Me: Fine, I will buy her a ticket, I could care less.

Manager: No, this time she is on the house!

If you know me at all, you know that when it comes to spending money, I am more than happy to spend money on things that are fun, on my kids or just because someone needs to step up and pay for something. So this was not about money.

Once inside the theater, we sat down in our time of fun. I was so dang frustrated I could not even act like I was having fun. I got on Facebook, Twitter and Yelp to see what others had said about this theater. There was not much to see. The few complaints I found were about “uncaring staff”. I left my thoughts about said manager and tried to settle down enough to watch the movie, but was much too frustrated. I sent a email to Regal Theater expressing my frustrations and told them I would be telling my network about my experience. None of my comments or emails have gotten any response. Will they respond to this blog post I wonder?

As we left, I once again looked at the Marquee to see what the sign said about age. This is what it said: “3 and Under – Free!”

the customer is always right

What Did It Really Cost?

As I think about that events of that day, I still get frustrated. I wonder though, how many digital marketers make similar mistakes? I mean this one could have clearly been mitigated by a few easy steps.

  1. Know what you are selling, better than your clients.
  2. The clients is always right, (not really but you should as often as possible let them think so)
  3. Before you make something a big deal, think about the what the residual cost of being “right “ is going to cost you.
  4. Understand you could make someone a raving fan, by simply saying “I’m sorry!”

Have you had any experiences like this? How were you treated? How Was it taken care of?