Saturday, June 25, 2005

Scenes From a Mall is a lousy movie but an applicable title in this case

A few months ago I transferred to another theatre because they were short-staffed. I like the change of venue- my coworkers are more friendly with me, I get all the hours I want, and the booth equipment is newer. However, the new theatre is not without its drawbacks. One of the big ones is that it's quite a bit further from my house- about 15 more miles each way, which hits my gas budget pretty hard. A more personal issue is that, unlike my old theatre, it's situated smack dab in the middle of a mall. And you know how I feel about malls.

Now, I'm not going to gripe about my ideological objections to mall culture- after all, I've done that already, and seeing as how I almost never update this thing the post won't be hard to find. No, this space is reserved for more specific observations/gripes about the mall in which my current place of employment can be found.

To begin with, the food options found within are slim and, for the most part, pricey. Now, nothing against PB&J, but you just get sick of eating the same thing every day, so sometimes you have to shell out for lunch. However, even the most modestly-priced restaurants can't fill me up for anything less than $8. Which may not sound like much to you but is a decent chunk of change when you're a non-union projectionist.

A more work-related gripe is a typical projectionist pet peeve- the staring audience members. Maybe this will come as news to some of you, but there are people who start the movies, and before they start the films they have to thread the projectors. But just because a person is doing something behind a glass partition doesn't mean you're visiting the zoo. Projection booths are filled with people who work this particular job because they aren't big on interacting with paying customers (who have a tendency to treat service-industry workers as subservient goons). As such, chances are the guy threading the projector doesn't really want to be watched as he is working, much less waved at. I'm willing to make exceptions for young children, but once you're in double digits, I'll ignore you no matter how largely you gesticulate in my direction.

My next observation isn't a gripe so much as just something I noticed when leaving the mall today. On the way out to the garage where I usually park my car, a modeling agency has an office, and today they were advertising for "free screen tests for reality TV show." I didn't really think much of this until I noticed that there were three sharply-dressed model-type girls standing by the sign trying to reel in mall-walkers (they didn't bother with me, to my relief). To me, this says just about all there is to say about reality television as a genre- only type-A photogenic (or in this case telegenic) hotties need apply. THE AMAZING RACE is pretty cool though.

Then there's the parking lot itself, where I have recently rediscovered the phenomenon of the space-stalker. You know the types- when the lot is semi-full, these are the drivers who circle the lot in search of customers who are leaving in order to swoop in and steal their spot. Today, this was taken to an almost frightening extreme by a guy who followed closely behind me like the world's most inept stalker while I strolled out to my car. If I wasn't in a hurry to leave I would have taken a nice long walk around the parking lot, up and down a bunch of rows (or maybe even levels), acting lost so as to throw this asswipe off the scent. Following someone around simply to have first dibs on their parking spot is pretty much the definition of being a selfish leech.

Which brings me to my final gripe- customers who park in employee-designated spaces. Perhaps this doesn't sound like a big deal to some of you, but I really hate this. Say I'm working the late shift on a Saturday and I get stuck in traffic. Lot's pretty much full anyway, but there is absolutely no way I'm getting an employee spot. Half of them are invariably filled with cars no mall employee could possibly afford (H2s, Lexuses, etc.). Sometimes I see these people parking and getting out of their cars, and some of them even have kids with them. Yeah, great example for your progeny, parents- take a parking spot that's designated for someone that's not you. Children have a tendency to pick up on little things like that, and can seize on the realization that rules aren't really all that important. Listen, the employee parking spaces weren't designated in the lot for the purpoe of stealing space from the paying customers- they're a courtesy given to mall employees for convenience, and they are certainly convenient. When I'm on a schedule, I shouldn't have to hunt for a place to park for twenty minutes. The sooner I turn the car off, the sooner I can come in and start your movies. So leave me the spot, so that everyone wins.

1 comment:

Rich said...
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