Went to see Underworld: Rise of the Lycans last weekend. We usually watch our movies at home (via NetFlix) so going to the movie theater is a real treat. We decided to go to CineMagic in Merrimack, NH, because of their stadium seating and generally good service.
The theater for Underworld was barely a quarter full, though getting tickets and getting through the lobby was an adventure-it was packed! (Tip: always check the lobby for automated ticket kiosks, before you wait in the big line saved us about 15 minutes of waiting in line!)
We got our munchies and settled in. From the start of the movie I thought the volume was pretty low. About thirty minutes in, it still seemed low to me. My hearing isn’t always the greatest, so I asked one of my friends and he agreed. Being the shy quiet person I am, I left the theater and flagged down the first two theater employees I came across. Explained the volume problem and went back to my seat. Saw one of the employees come in to check, then leave. I figured my problems were solved.
Well, the movie didn’t seem to get any louder. Some of the dialogue in the movie is pretty quiet, so it definitely impacted my enjoyment. At one point it was so quiet I could hear the leather shoes of the woman behind me squeaking on the floor.
We made it to the end of the movie. The movie was pretty good, though my experience was rough. It’s hard to immerse yourself in the movie if you have to actively work to hear dialogue and follow along. One of my friends said she found herself sitting forward in her seat through part of the movie trying to hear better. As soon as I left the theater, I went directly to the lobby to locate the manager. He was easy to find as the employees I spoke with knew where he was in the theater (a good sign.)
I explained to him that the audio levels were too low. He knew someone had left the theater and knew one of his employees had gone upstairs to adjust the audio levels. He delicately mentioned they need to be careful not to increase the volume too much. At that time, one of my friends came up to us and added her experience to the conversation. He apologized and explained the volume was turned up, but obviously not enough. He said he’d talk to the employee about it. He offered to give us each a “Rain Check” (being the frugal person I am I accepted.)
The “Rain Check” was a nice touch, but definitely not why I left the theater feeling good. I’ve received vouchers in the past and still left places feeling like I’d been kicked in the teeth. In thinking about the experience, there are a few factors:
- the employees knew where the manager was in the theater
- the manager knew there had been a problem during the movie, even though he hadn’t been present for the discussion
- the manager knew the employee had tried to fix the problem
- the manager was careful to balance the needs of all theater goers with ours in the conversation – and he was very genuine about it
The only thing he could have done better would be to make sure there was follow-up when the volume issue was “fixed.” I hope his employees learn from his example.