Pro tip — they can see you at all times inside the theatre!
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
There is nothing quite like escaping the summer heat by slipping into a cool, air-conditioned movie theatre in Canada.
As a young man, my first job was working at my small town's cinema — a job I would keep for roughly three years.
During my time at the job, I became well acquainted with the behaviours that the average cinemagoer would do that would absolutely grind my gears.
So, in the hopes of saving some current employees a bit of grief, here are some of the things you might be doing that are making you a persona non grata among cinema workers.
From complaining to being a litterbug, you better hope you aren't doing all of these or else your popcorn might not be as buttered as it should be!
Complaining about the prices
Yes, going to the theatre is super expensive. I'm a moviegoer myself and I really hate having to pay over $6 for a medium fountain drink.
But, before you say anything to the poor employee behind the counter about it, keep in mind that it's not their fault. Heck, a lot of the time it's not even their manager's fault.
Giving the minimum wage employee hell about the cost of things is really not doing anyone any favours and just makes you quickly disliked.
Not cleaning up after yourself
On some nights, employees only have a few minutes between showings to clean out the theatre. And if everyone has left their popcorn, cups and candy wrappers strewn about, it can mean a mad dash to clear it up for the next audience.
In extreme cases, it could mean leaving a messy space for the next viewing. This is even worse when it's snuck-in outside food. I didn't sign up to scrub a half-eaten McDonald's burger off the floor!
All this could be avoided by just doing the courteous thing of picking up after yourself when leaving.
Asking if the movie will start later
A 7 p.m. start time means a 7 p.m. start time.
That means if you don't want to miss anything, you have to be there on time — and that means accounting for possible lines.
The theatre I worked at would often have a long line out the front for any massive, blockbuster movie and every time that happened someone would always ask "Are you going to start the movie later because of the line?"
And my answer would always be a resounding "NO!"
While it would be great, to delay a movie could mean screwing up the whole schedule for the day.
Doing anything other than watching the movie
The darkness of the theatre is inviting, but please just watch the movie and enjoy whatever snacks you've got.
Pro-tip: Just because it's dark also doesn't mean you're invisible, lots of theatres actually have pretty comprehensive camera systems in their cinemas.
To put it lightly, we can often see everything going on during a given screening.
And I mean everything.
Asking for a refund if you didn't like the movie
Paying full price for a movie you think sucks is definitely an annoying experience.
But, asking for a refund just because you didn't like the movie just doesn't fly.
It's not like a restaurant where the person behind the counter has a hand in making it. We just sold you the ticket to see it. If you didn't like it, that's too bad.
Maybe next time, pick a better movie!
This one is a bit of a no-brainer, but ultimately it needs to be said.
The theatre I worked at was pretty secure, but there were still people sneaking in to watch a movie without paying. And so, it was always awkward to, as a 16-year-old boy, go up to an adult and ask to see their ticket when you know they didn't pay.
Granted, it did feel cool kicking out some kids that were slightly older than myself when they tried to sneak into The Lego Movie.
But ultimately, it's just an awkward thing for everyone all around.
Taking the law into your own hands
There are millions of things that people do while watching movies that annoy me, from texting to talking, to generally being inconsiderate of others.
But, if you're in the theatre, don't be the one to ask them to leave. Sure, asking someone to please stop doing what they're doing is fine. But being the theatre police doesn't do anyone any favours.
There was at least one fistfight over etiquette that could have been avoided by informing the staff and allowing them to figure it out instead.
Enjoy your movies, folks!
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.