Friday, June 25, 2010

Cineplex, why are you the worst, also please learn about comma splices

Cineplex and more specifically your consumer statistics points program, you are the dumbest.

I won't elaborate too much on unrelated incidents, such as Saskatoon's Cineplex Galaxy theatre's obvious conspiracy with the Impark lot across the street to give people tickets during movies when they have clearly paid and then make them spend 3 hours on the phone to get out of the ticket and then blame the wrongfully ticketed person for causing a hassle, or selling tickets to a broken version of Avatar that pauses in intense moments and then blames the customers for going to the show when they should have known it was broken (there was CLEARLY a 4-paragraph essay in 10-point font posted on the door of the cinema, obvi people are going to stop and peruse that instead of finding a seat at a sold out show).  OR the fact that "cheap" Tuesday is now regular price Tuesday with a "free" popcorn and drink - D00DZ do you know how long and slow the food lines are at Galaxy?  Of course you do which is why you realize that most people are just going to see the long lines and not get popcorn and a drink so you can just pocket the extra money that you don't have to spend on giving everyone a free popcorn.

But anyway those are things that happened to my friends and not me.  My complaint is pretty minor but still ridiculous enough to write about.  It's not so much what happened as how it's being dealt with in 2010.

It all started last week when I decided to buy advance tickets online for Toy Story 3, assuming it would be sold out for weeks.  (Surprisingly the non-3D Saturday matinee had about 30 people attending - it was such a good movie where were all the fans????)  I'd only bought tickets online one time previously and was annoyed because to get my Scene points (100 points per movie, 1000 points gets you a free movie) I apparently had to create an account on the site and then go into my account settings to enter my Scene number, but when I created an account there was nowhere to put in the number, THANKS WEBSITE YOU WERE REALLY EASY TO NAVIGATE.  So this time I was hoping they'd have fixed that problem.

Sure enough, this time I was prompted to enter my Scene number without even having to create an account - DUH this is how it should have been done in the first place, Cineplex software writers.  And also something cool, you could put in up to two more Scene numbers if you were buying tickets for other people (i.e. if you're getting two tickets, both people could get points which you can't do if you buy tickets at the theatre).  Finally, Cineplex had created an easy-to-use, efficient online ticket-buying system.

Until, of course, I entered my Scene number and the name on my card and was told that the number and name didn't match.  Ummmmm guys I am clearly looking right at my card and entering exactly what it says, your computer system is WRONG.  I quadruple checked and re-entered, but still got a message that the name and number were wrong, so I just skipped that part, forfeited the Scene points, and bought the tickets.

I know, 100 Scene points is not a big deal.  But Cineplex is super sketchy with keeping tabs on its customers, Scene card or not - basically if you pay with a credit card or debit card, your name and number is in their system with every movie you've purchased on that card.  A friend of mine was getting a refund on her debit card for a movie that she decided not to go to because the theatre was too full and when they swiped the card to put the money back on, the cashier informed her that the last movie she'd bought with that card (not counting that day) was Maid of Honor.  So ANYWAY I figure if they are keeping tabs on me, I better be getting something out of it, and that something better be a free movie for every $110 dollars I spend at their theatre.

We're getting to the really stupid point, I promise.  I sent an email to Scene customer service with a screenshot of the name and number I'd been entering into the website and the information about what show I'd bought tickets for (how many tickets, the theatre, the movie, the time),explained the problem, and asked them to double check their records as to what my Scene number was and please credit me the points I was owed.  I also included the confirmation number in the email AND SUBJECT LINE.

I received this email back a couple days later from a polite Cineplex robot:

Good day, 
Thank you for your  email. We need you to provide us with some more
information in order for us to look into the possibility of crediting
your account with the points.  Please provide us with as much of the
following as possible 
Theatre Name and Location:   
How many adult tickets purchased and child tickets purchased:   
For online purchases
Order Number:   
Booking number:   
For verification
Your address: 
Your postal code:   
Once we receive this info we'll be able to have the transaction reviewed
on your behalf. Should you have any further questions or concerns please
feel free to ask, otherwise you can always visit our website, listed
below, which has a complete listing of frequently asked questions that
may help with your inquiry.


SCENE Customer Service

Oh MAN you guys I already TOLD you ALL of that information, other than my address and postal code.  BTW what do you need my address and postal code for?  Obviously so they can collect the location statistics without having to give me Scene points, but I perhaps stupidly complied with the request - hey, if they are going to give me my points, they've already got that info anyway so it's worth a shot.

I got another email back a couple days later:


Thanks for your inquiry, we have initiated an investigation on your
behalf to Cineplex to have this issue resolved for you, we would ask
that you allow us 4-7 business days to complete this investigation.
Once this investigation is complete you will be contacted via the email
address in your account and advised you of the resolution. 

SCENE Customer Service

WHAT??????  FOUR TO SEVEN BUSINESS DAYS??????  Are you KIDDING me.  (Also, do you guys know what comma splices are, I don't think you do.)  You have all of that information, you have the booking numbers of the transaction, you have all the info you need to look at my account and see that no points were awarded for this transaction, HOW do you possibly need 4 to 7 business days to "investigate" what happened?  In the time it took you to send and read the emails you should have been able to enter just ONE of the pieces of info I provided you with into your database and bring up all of the transaction info.  Shouldn't you have?  Like seriously, when someone makes an online purchase does it just print out a piece of paper on your end that gets thrown onto a stack of other confirmations and deletes itself from your system so you have to hand-sift through the pile to find the info on my transaction?  Of course not because you are far too concerned with my purchase statistics.  If your high school cashier can instantly bring up someone's list of purchases at the theatre, why does it take people with access to ALL pertinent information 4 to 7 days to look into the situation?  Are you forming a task force for this investigation?  Do you need to go out and buy detective hats and magnifying glasses and fingerprint kits before you can get started?  I don't understand.

So anyway that's why I think Cineplex and Scene are the worst.  I'll be in Ottawa next week so I may not be able to instantly update my millions of readers with the dramatic finale, but a follow-up blog post will be in order when I return.  Until then, pay cash at the box office.  Or stop supporting this horrible corporation altogether.

1 comment:

  1. "stop supporting this horrible corporation altogether" - done! Given how often I go to the movies, that shouldn't be too difficult.

    Given all the OTHER ways people watch movies nowadays, you'd think theatres would be desperately clamouring to retain the customers they've got left. The fact that we saw Toy Story 3 on opening weekend at 3PM and it wasn't full was surprising.