Go to the movies to cure cancer

I went to the movies last week, someone gave me a bunch of free movie passes, these were physical tickets, pieces of paper that I had to redeem at the movie theater box office. And so I couldn’t buy my tickets in advance on the phone, I wasn’t even able to use one of those self-service kiosks by the entrance. I actually had to wait on line and interact with a human being.

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Which is fine, I guess, it should be fine. All I could think of though was how much easier this could have been had I been able to just walk in and not have to wait on this line. There were all of these other people in front of me, and only one employee actually taking money and printing out tickets. I was curious as to what other people were doing on the line, and so I paid close attention.

They asked for the tickets, handed a credit card, waited while the ticket booth clerk gave it a swipe, and handed them their tickets. I really had to restrain myself from acting out on the urge to get involved. I’d be like, “Guys, why did you wait on this line? There are like eight empty kiosks over there. All you have to do is select your movie and swipe your card. You really feel it necessary to wait on this dumb line? You’re not even going to bother trying to figure out how to do it yourself?”

But you can’t say stuff like that to random strangers. That’s how you get punched in the face. And what am I going to say to the security guard as they escort both of us off premises? “You don’t understand, I was just asking a question, and this doofus punched me!” No, nobody’s interested, now neither one of us gets to see the movie.

But for real, why do you think they only have one person behind that window? Because they’re discouraging you from standing on line. Just use the kiosk. There’s only one person standing there because there are really only a very limited number of reasons as to why you might actually need someone to help process your movie theater transaction. Like my case with the gift tickets. Unfortunately, there’s no option on the touch-screen to scan my passes in.

Do you know how I know that? Because I tried. I at least gave the kiosk a shot. It’s not my fault that I had to wait in line, but I did, and so here I was. What’s everybody else’s excuse? There is no excuse.

And then I finally got up to the window, I got my ticket, and the cashier said to me, “Do you want to donate a dollar for kids with cancer?” and I was just like, “No.” Because I know this game, OK, they do it at the drug store, sometimes they do it at McDonald’s. Let’s guilt you into donating some money. Come on, it’s just a dollar. And it’s for kids with cancer. Pay up.

Don’t think I’m cruel, or that I’m against charity. It’s just that, these movies cost like twenty bucks. Everything about going to the movies is a rip-off. I still enjoy going, and so I’m stuck in the position where I have to pay. But come on, don’t ask me another dollar. Why don’t you give a dollar? Why don’t you donate to charity and leave the fundraising to someone who’s not charging me twelve dollars for a small soda?

It was the same at the concession stand. I bought a small popcorn, that small soda that I was talking about earlier. “Do you want to donate a dollar for kids with cancer?” It’s like, one, how do you know that I didn’t already donate at the ticket booth? I didn’t, but you don’t know that. And two, again, how about you donate a dollar?

And that’s where I had to resist another urge to start a fight with another random stranger. “No,” I said. And the concession lady just looked at me and said, “Really?” Which, I don’t know why she said that, I’m sure I’m not the only person that’s declined to donate before. Maybe it was the blunt way in which I delivered my answer, unashamed, maybe a little annoyed.

But come on, I’m here to watch a movie, not to have some faceless mega-corporation force it’s minimum-wage paid employees to solicit an extra dollar from its customers along every step of the way. I wanted to ask the popcorn girl, “Hey, you, can you give me one dollar? I want to use it to donate a dollar to kids with cancer.” I didn’t, remember that whole me-trying-to-not-get-kicked-out-of-the-theater thing. But I ran through the scenario in my head, I guarantee you I wouldn’t have been given a dollar. And then what, could I have done that whole, “Really?” thing to her? Like, I can’t believe you’re not donating. Don’t you care about kids? Kid with cancer? Come on. Jeez.

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