Tag Archives: tickets

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.


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.

Hillside Support Facility

EDIT: 09/01/2014 – I see that this story is getting a lot of traffic from some train forum called SubChat. This story is fiction. I am a fiction writer and I make myself write a fictitious story every day. No, I didn’t really sneak into the Hillside Support Facility.

I grew up on Long Island, but now I live in Queens, so every time I want to go home and visit my parents, I have to take the Long Island Rail Road. It’s expensive, yeah, but I don’t have to take it every day, and so I don’t really have any reason to complain about the price, seeing as how it’s fast, it runs very regularly, and I don’t have to deal with rush hour or anything.

But it always drives me crazy, there are like four or five stops in between where I live and where my parents live, and one of them is this place called the Hillside Support Facility. Every time they announce Hillside Support Facility, the conductor makes it a point to tell us that it’s for Long Island Railroad employees only. And sure enough, we pull into this mystery train station, it’s like all industrial looking, like we’ve arrived at the second level from Sonic the Hedgehog, and all of the sudden all of these guys in orange vests and hardhats and work boots are standing up and getting off or coming on.


Every time it just drives me crazy, I want to go to the Hillside Support Facility. Why should employees get their own private train station? I’m sure they’ve got like cool soda machines and maybe an air-conditioned waiting room. Why won’t they let me get off? Why can’t I just walk along the tracks and see what’s going on? I’m not going to walk into any offices or anything, like, if I find some closed doors, I’m not just going to start opening them up and peeking inside. And worse case, I do open up a door and snoop around a little, I’m not going to just leave the door open after I’m done, I’ll shut it behind me, I promise.

It’ll be like I was never there. And these thoughts, they flash through my mind and I’m like, I’m going to do it, I’m going to get off at the Hillside Support Facility, but then the doors close and I’m stuck in my head, just daydreaming about the Hillside Support Facility, I’ve blown my chance, the conductor gets on the loudspeaker, “Next stop, New Hyde Park.”

And I mentioned before how rarely I take the LIRR, so it’s not like I can really build up some momentum with these daydreams. I figured, all right, I’ve just got to do this. I’ve got to go home, I’ve got to make a plan, and I have to make this happen. So I went back to Queens and I found this store by my place that sells all of those worker looking clothes, all of that stuff I was talking about earlier, the orange vests, the safety goggles, I was ready.

I got on the train and sat down, and the conductor started working his way through the car right away. “Tickets, all tickets please.” I figured, OK, I’ve got to make this look convincing, so I’m not going to give him a ticket. I’ll just act the part, like I’m working at the Support Facility, like I’m not going to pay a ticket to get to work. Right? Those guys have to be able to at least use the train for free. Right?


“I’m uh, I’m working at the Support Facility.”

“OK, I need to see your tag then.”

“I … I …”

“Your ID? What subsection are working at? What are you electrical? Maintenance?”

“It’s just that, I just … the Support Facility …”

“Wait here a minute.”

Shit. I really didn’t plan this out too well. I should have made it seem like I had an interview or something, like I was going there for a meeting. And I should have been way more casual. But then what about all of this working gear? I could have said yes to whatever he said, electrical. The conductor came back with another guy wearing an orange vest and a hard hat.

“Hey, where’d you say you work at?”

“At the Support Facility,” I tried to act even more casual, like I was talking about before, “I’m maintenance. Electrical maintenance. Support.”

“All right, well, I’m shift leader today. Stay close. What are you a transfer? Let me see your tag.”

I froze. Just then the doors opened up. We were here, Hillside Support Facility. I made a break for it.

“Hey! Wait!”

It was just like any other stop, there were stairs leading up from the platform. I raced up, down some hallway. There was a soda machine, but nothing special, just Coke, Diet Coke, Dasani. I checked real quick to see if the sodas were complimentary for employees. Nope, a dollar fifty, just like in the civilian world.

After the hallway there was a door, outside an employee parking lot. I ran past all the cars, there was a security guy at a gate letting vehicles in. I sprinted past him too, “Hey! You!” and then I was outside. I had no idea where I was, Hillside, I guess, and I had no idea like how to get home, how to get to a civilian train station, which direction I might start walking to get to my parents’ house. What a bust.