Customer is always right

I was not going to reply to M. Scott’s letter because, to be frank, once she admitted she seldom attends the movies, I figure she is just ranting for the sake of ranting.

However, when Mr. Graham wrote, though he did not say he is one of the current owners, he did write with some authority. So I feel I have to respond.

What are the first and second commandments of any business?

‘Listen to thy customers’ And the other one is ‘The customer is always right’.

I am an avid movie fan, and I can tell you, Mr. Douglas, though you are trying to justify your intermission and dress it up, it is nothing more than a heavy- handed attempt to pressure people to purchase more snacks during intermission.

You wrote:

It serves to allow for a restroom break at one time, rather than a constant procession of people to and from. Isn’t that up to one’s bladder or do you have a remote control on that too?

You wrote:

It also serves to give those with a tobacco habit an opportunity to smoke without doing so in our smoke-free auditorium.

Should non-smokers have to suffer for the sake of smokers again? Have a smokers’ night, and then have your intermission.

You wrote:

We have noticed that many people use it to call and check on the kids rather than disturb their neighbours in the cinema.

If parents can’t leave their kids for two hours, perhaps they shouldn’t have left them in the first place.

You wrote:

We think it has some virtues. The resistance to it is probably borne of what one is accustomed to. I am sure your readers enjoy intermission at plays on stage, on Broadway, or in the West End. What then is the real difference?

You, dear sir, are comparing apples and oranges. A Broadway play can run as long as three hours (some run even longer), and plays are divided into separate scenes and acts so there are natural breaks. The average movie run times are 90 minutes to two hours, and there are no cinematic breaks that make for a natural intermission.

You wrote:

We create the intermission so as not to break the sequence and upset the flow of the plot. It is not crudely inserted. We believe it is quite seamless.

According to whom? There were numerous complaints during Stealth. I believe the projector rolls the film ahead. Ask anyone.

You wrote:

We understand that the ticket price might create some hardships so we have an $8 price at matinees for adults and a further discount for senior citizens and students with IDs from tertiary institutions in Cayman.

Great idea and long overdue.

You wrote:

There was some mention of high prices in our concession stand. The fact is that none of the pre-Ivan prices were increased and some were decreased.

Yeah, right. Can’t prove it, but it’s more expensive to attend the movies now.

You wrote:

Another plus that the Marquee offers very quietly, is the currency of its releases.

What!

You wrote:

In some cases they will play day and date with North America and in other cases they will be as soon as the limitations of two screens permit, having regard to the fact that sometimes four or five pictures are released at the same time.

Though pirated, my tape club gets the current movies before you do – case in point, the 40-Year-Old Virgin premiere weeks ago.

You wrote:

The pluses aside, we recognize that there are some minuses. We feel that it is possible that some of our patrons are guilty of resisting change, whether it is to their convenience or not.

Come on now, don’t generalise. Personally, I love change, but having said that, we are not accustomed to intermission and it is not a good idea. How many people have said they like the forced intermission? I bet the nays outweigh the yeas.

You wrote:

Focused on presentation. It is now as good as the best anywhere in the Caribbean or in the First World.

I complimented you on your décor.

Changed the seating layout and improved the sight lines. I have opened sardine cans that were not so tightly packed as what you have in Cinema 2. However, I like the two-row seating in Cinema 1.

You wrote:

Installed the best cinema seats available in North America.

Dear sir, you need to get out and visit other countries. Try the Dolphin Mall theatre and AMC theatre on US 1 and Kendall – they have stadium seating – reclining seats.

You wrote:

Installed and are proud of our truly digital sound.

Great job there.

You wrote:

Have any of your readers noticed these changes?

Yes, and I compliment you on those. I tried very hard to stay away from the negatives other than the intermission and the $2 price hike.

I have done a bit more research, and I understand that movie intermissions are standard practice in Jamaica and in Switzerland. They are not common practice here in the Cayman Islands, and as Dorothy said in The Wizard of Oz, ‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.’

Let me make myself clear again. I am not advocating that people stop going to the movies; I am asking them not to reward the current management for their heavy-handed attempt to force them to purchase goodies during intermission. Also I am asking the current owners to poll their customers for the next couple of weeks. I bet that the current intermission will be 86ed after that, if you are honest about the results.

Tara Bush