Not all of you are going to agree with me here, but I’m going in anyway. Let’s talk about refunds, always a thorny issue particularly when the number of admissions shoot up like they have the last few weeks.
We do make it very clear to everyone that buys a ticket, we don’t refund or exchange tickets once sold.
Whether you agree with me or not, if you buy a ticket on the web it’s all there in black and white, if you buy one over the telephone we make a point of telling you this and carefully reading back the booking to make sure we have it right. If you buy tickets over the counter in advance we make sure you understand that once you buy them they are yours forever. There is also a sign hanging over the counter underlining the aforementioned rule.
Despite all of those precautions as soon as we start to get busy we have the occasional, sometimes quite unpleasant, argy bargy with customers demanding refunds for screenings they can no longer make or asking for swapsies.
I don’t mind you asking, actually I do but that’s just because I’m a grumpy git.
However, the rule is no exchanges or refunds. Not, no exchanges or refunds unless your name is Harrington and you forgot you were playing bridge with the Davies on Wednesday afternoon.
It’s not always overcrowded social diaries, it’s booking the wrong day by mistake or my husband booked the wrong day by mistake, which is more common.
On the surface this attitude seems harsh and inflexible to say nothing of being the wrong side of the customer is always right. But we have these rules for very important reasons.
We deal with around 140,000 tickets a year, if we allowed swapping or canceling willy nilly, chaos would ensue. You would be really miffed if you turned up and your seats weren’t there because of all the swapping about.
Trust me, years of experience has taught me not to mess with the seating plan. It can only end badly.
We also sell out quite often and last minute returns are impossible to sell as we’ve been telling everyone all day we’re full.
It’s also worth remembering that tickets are valuable and are the distributors only way of measuring how much money we owe them. So you can imagine they have to be strictly accounted for.
Try calling the London Palladium and telling them you want to swap you tickets for another night. You wouldn’t would you? No.
The value of tickets is something that I’m used to people dismissing, and it still makes me cross.
When I was a kid other kids would ask me for free tickets all the time, and because I was a curmudgeon even then, I would ask them what their dad did and whether they could could give me some freebies from his work?
Strangely no items were forthcoming.
We have on average two or three requests per week for giveaways to village fetes or playschool prize draws. Rising to about about six per week in the summer months or around Christmas. I’m happy to do what I can, but there is a limit. Each set of tickets I give out represents quite high value.
Tickets are not disposable bits of paper to be treated like confetti, they’re my livelihood.
There, I’ve got that out of my system and we shall not have to talk of it again.