Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Human Touch

Wanted: Ushers to shush yakkers
go to original article ... or email me for article text
"So, here's a suggestion for NyBlom and all the other cineplex owners out there: Bring back the usher who does more than just tear tickets and sweep up.

Even more than seats with drink holders, I'd like to see the return of cineplex employees in uniform standing in the theater with a penlight at the ready. Instead of forcing audience members to "shush" a theater yakker, let the usher step in.

There's a much better chance that someone will knock it off when asked by a theater employee, especially one who has the power to eject someone from the show. This doesn't mean we need etiquette Nazis stalking the aisles. But a subtle courtesy patrol would be appreciated. It happens in good restaurants and elegant hotel lobbies. Why not in movie theaters looking to create a special experience"

This is pretty close to an idea that I was recently thinking about (coincidentally, or perhaps not) for use at the Camera theater they refer to. I had just finished reading an article about how they planned to reopen it, but that all of their theaters were suffering.

One of my ideas/suggestions was going to be to not only offer the obligatory anti-cell-phone promotional material at the beginning of the movie, but also to cut a message that encouraged people to introduce themselves to the people they were sitting next to. This might diffuse early hostility and get people to recognize that they were sharing the theater with people that they didn't come with. In addition to that, hopefully it would get people to enjoy one of the principal benefits of coming to the movies at all: A shared experience.

But this is a pretty good idea in it's own right. It's good PR for the theaters to let people know that they're taking care of their own business, and I think it might make the employees jobs more interesting and meaningful (if done correctly). I'm all for having jobs be less about menial specialization and more overall responsibility.


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