Is this your rubbish Sir?

Unforgivable amount of time between posts. Many excuses including travel, but primarily my attempt to give up smoking. I’ve been a smoker for over 30 years, so you can imagine it’s been a little stressy.  Writing sets up an overwhelming need for a cigarette, so I’ve been avoiding it.

The pangs are starting  to become manageable so I think I can now finish this post that I started two weeks ago!

Imagine, if you will, a time in the recent past..

Rather selfishly my cleaners went on holiday last week, and it was half term. I Couldn’t find cover for the whole week, which meant  I had to do the weekend myself.

I bet the bloody managing director of Odeon wasn’t doing the cleaning at the weekend, no, he was on the golf course, in a cart driven by high-class call girls stroking his gold-plated putter.

By coincidence I’d also had two or three email complaints about the “frightful mess” during the last house and even while writing this a somewhat mean-spirited comment came in asking why it’s always so dirty in the evening?

That’s nonsense of course. Right off the bat I object to the word dirty. After a very busy day it can be messy in there, but it’s not dirty.

The problem only arises during school holidays. When the day starts the place is pristine clean and tidy, then in come the punters.

Don’t get me wrong, I love punters. Punters are my livelihood, the problem is not all punters treat the cinema with the respect it deserves.

Discarding wrappers where they sit, spitting out their chewing gum on to the carpet, knocking over their coke and watching it dribble down the aisle.

It’s odd, it’s always been this way in cinemas, why? Is it because it’s dark the people lose their inhibitions? No one can see you littering the carpet, so it must be OK?

Presumably when you sit in your living room with a DVD you don’t simply discard your microwave popcorn wrapper on the floor and wait for someone else to pick it up?

I merely speculate.

So it’s quite frustrating when, admittedly a certain type of customer, complains about how disgusting it can be at the end of a day after 1000 people have been through the door. Trust me, it was lovely and tidy when we started twelve hours ago!

I try to explain we do the best we can in the time available. All the large cartons are removed between shows and we sweep as much popcorn out of the way as possible.

In the cinema business we have to make hay while the sun shines. If a film is busy, particularly during a rather short window like half term, we have to squeeze every last show out of the damn thing.

Were we to stop and completely clean the auditorium from top to bottom, we would have to allow one hour between shows. That would mean say three shows instead of five. Quite a significant loss of revenue.

Revenue that’s required to keep things going during the quiet times.

Maybe we could redesign the theatres better,make them easier to clean, take out the carpet, put in less cosy hard floors, I don’t know.

So there I am, the big boss, head man, top dog, grand fromage, on my hands and knees at midnight clearing up the mess all the time renewing my considerable respect for the full-time cleaners that look after the place normally.

And do you know what? A large amount of what I am peeling off the carpet or is getting stuck up the vacuum pipe we don’t even sell!

Come on, you can see how that would piss me off a little can’t you?

If you are going to bring stuff in, at least take your rubbish home with you. It seems only polite.

Some cinemas try to stop contraband goodies getting in, I made the decision some time ago that it was just too difficult to police and causes too much unpleasantness.

But don’t assume it means I approve. Would you take a bottle of wine into a pub? Some of you might I suppose, but that would make you arrogant dickheads and I know the readers of this blog are no such thing.

If you’re honest though, most of you think it’s OK to bring popcorn into a cinema and then leave the remnants on the floor for me to clear up, and then put up with the abuse from crotchety old people who assume I have spread it around the carpet simply to make their evening unpleasant.

So next time you want to save a few pence by bring in a bag of value sawdust instead of buying my popcorn, at least take the bag home with you.

My next project might be a short instructional film called “Popcorn and your mouth, strangers that should be friends”.

Sure fire winner.

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5 thoughts on “Is this your rubbish Sir?

  1. Great post Kevin, I always appreciate your candidness and humour. While I’ll admit that I sometimes I take my own drink or sweets into the cinema, I always take the rubbish home; and seeing other patrons not do the same annoys me. But then we see the same disrespect elsewhere too, people littering etc. Unfortunately many people just don’t seem to show due consideration to others these days, thinking only of themselves.

    I’ve spent most of the last few years in Japan, and I absolutely love the cinema over there, both small independent and gigantic multiplex. One reason is because they’re always so clean and tidy. Not just because the staff do a quick sweep between films, the same as you do, but because almost everybody takes their rubbish out with them. After a show, a member of staff stands outside with a cart, containing a rack for returning blankets (for those that felt cold and borrowed them) and a large rubbish bin, into which everybody duly puts their rubbish. I love it. Same applies everywhere, not just cinemas, everybody takes their own rubbish home (in many places there are even no rubbish bins on the streets, and yet no litter). It’s seen as the responsible thing to do, and to not do it would be seen as an embarrassment to themselves. If only we were so thoughtful and courteous here.

    Apologies, I guess I might have turned this into a bit of a rant, but I just wanted to say that I do wish for more of such behaviour here; if only people would realise that it makes the whole experience more pleasant for everybody, not just the staff and cleaners, but for themselves too. If only.

  2. I for one was brought up being told to take my rubbish home or put it in a bin – and have always put it in a bag that your cleaners have provided at the exit of the film every single time, and am plain old embarrassed if friends try to leave it.

    I am a lovely cleaner now at a multiplex a fair few miles away, so I completely agree with how irritating it is – particuarly going through screen checks and seeing the kids chucking popcorn about like it’s snow, whilst the mum just casually watched the film. Most agrivating.

    Good on you for doing the cleaning though and having respect for us types! Luckily my managers all started out where I was, so we’ve all done our fair share in the past. Phew!

  3. Long overdue rant, Kevin, and I share your frustration. Your PH is a delight and it grieves me to see people abusing it. One example: Ides of March, Cinema One, Weds 16th November, 6pm. Back row, 4 seats in corner on right (as you’re looking from screen). 4 people, not young, not halfterm kids, middle aged and should know better. We were sitting along from them. When we left, there was a huge box of popcorn with a third of its contents still uneaten standing on the floor where it could easily be knocked over, and the equivalent of a whole box of the stuff scattered like gravel all over the floor where the rest of us had to step to get out, under their seats and even some on the seats. There was a drink of some sort also, probably that stuff that takes all the rust off objects if you soak them in it. It was frankly shocking that people of a generation taught to consider others, not to litter etc should be so thoughtless. Eyes larger than stomachs, too: why buy it if you aren’t going to eat it all? My thoughts were with the poor people who have to clear this mess up. An example too of the increasing insularity of people whereby empathy is a trait no longer important, and self-gratification means all. I don’t suppose those four people are reading this post and its comments; if they are, then I hope they feel very guilty.

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