Cold popcorn and anxious seniors

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By Vicki Scott

Our senior activity group adventures continued in Dadeville. Last Tuesday, we finished our exercises in a timely manner and made our way to the restaurant across the road from the movie theater in Auburn where we planned to watch “Where the Crawdads Sing.” Oh, the thoughts of theater popcorn and Diet Cokes dancing in our heads! After the movie, my husband Alan and I planned to race to Millbrook to see our grandchild Saylor Rhea cheer for her first time.

As I mentioned in last week’s column, several of our seniors were concerned about getting to the movie on time, which made me wonder if my timing was accurate. My dear, patient husband assured me it was, and I am glad he did. Even though I assured the seniors that we would probably only miss the advertisements if we were late, no one wanted to miss the beginning of the movie. We were, in fact, on time for everything. The movie theater, however, failed in its timing, an unforeseen circumstance.

Interjecting for a moment, I would like to brag on the Premiere Cinema movie theater in the Gadsden Mall. The woman in charge of the groups always spoiled us when we visited from the George Wallace Senior Center in Glencoe. She was amazing! When we found a movie to watch, all I had to do was call this lady, give her a time and date and show up. She would set us up with fresh popped popcorn and let us get settled in before starting the movie. The problem is I now expect such outstanding service at all movie theaters.

After calling the Auburn movie theater to set something up for my new group of seniors, I was told to use their app, on which it said to contact the theater for group rates. When I informed the person at the theater, she tried to get me to rent the theater. After much deliberation and frustration, we decided to wing it.

We showed up for the 1:05 p.m. showing 20 minutes early. There were five other people watching with us, so there were 13 people in that theater. I guess there was not enough staff to pop fresh popcorn, as our popcorn was stale.
We were all seated when the advertisements began – all 150,000 of them (my numbers may be off a little).

After enduring 149,000 of said advertisements, the theater’s fire alarm went off! We had to exit the building and walk around to the front of the building to wait for the fire department. One of our seniors knew one of the firemen, and she talked to him while we waited.

One of the ladies not in our group said that this happened before and we would get a refund on our tickets. We did not want a refund. We wanted to see the movie.

After the firemen gave the all-clear, one of the employees offered us a refund ticket and suggested visiting another one of their theaters. While he was explaining this, the staff said we could go back in and finish watching the movie. Evidentially, the offer of refunded ticket was off the table.

Once back in the theater, we discovered that the movie had been playing for about 20 minutes. I talked to the manager, who started the movie over, advertisements and all. One of our seniors demanded fresh popcorn to get something out of all the inconvenience.

After things settled down, we started to enjoy the movie, that is until the screen and sound went dead when it got to a really good part. I went to an employee whom I had not yet spoken with and voiced my grievance. She apologized and said two or three other movies did the same thing and that they were working on it.

I went back and we waited. The movie started back about 10 minutes before where it left off, and we finally finished the movie. We left the theater at around 4:30 p.m. The game in which Saylor Rhea was cheering started at 5 p.m. in Millbrook. We were in Auburn. Needless to say, we did not make it. It is inevitable that things such as this happen, but for the most part, there was still a lot of fun and laughter during our day at the movies.

However, the experience weighed heavy on my mind, and I could not let it go. Being that the Auburn theater’s management had already been involved, I e-mailed corporate. I immediately received apologies and free tickets to a movie of our choice any time or date up until December 2023.

What an adventure!

Vicki Scott may be contacted at lily200383@yahoo.com.

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