Friday, June 19, 2009

Movie Madness

I don’t like to criticize, but . . . I am going to anyway. The entertainment industry has gotten out of hand. Each movie or show that comes out costs more and more money to produce. Movie stars are getting paid more for a few months of work than my whole neighborhood would make in a lifetime. I don’t really care how much movie stars get paid, except that they pass those costs onto the consumer. And by the consumer, I mean me. I am not made of money. Jelly donuts maybe, but not money. The truth is I don’t even have any money. Unless you count the 18 pounds of change that has collected in the bottom of my purse, I am penniless.

The recession hit me hard. It was so bad I had to give up shopping at the dollar store. Not because I didn’t have any dollars, they just told me I couldn’t shop there anymore. Some outrageous rule about not opening and using deodorant in the store and putting it back on the shelf. I don’t get it. Product testing, hello. Anyway, most everyone has been somehow impacted by the recession. The only ones not affected by the recession are Bill and Gates. No, not Bill Gates. My Uncle Bill and his cousin Russell Gates, they work in the printing department at the U.S. Treasury. All the rest of us cannot afford to do fun things like go to the movies, who has that kind of money?!

In my family, we reserve high dollar amounts for silly things, like food and shelter not completely unnecessary things like movies. Incidentally, that is the number one reason that they don’t take checks at the cinema, most people don’t keep that much money in their checking accounts. I am afraid to even go near the theater. Anyone seeing me go up to pay for a ticket knows that I am carrying at least a thousand dollars of hard cash on my person and that is just to cover admission. A professional mugger would make a killing if he just stood outside in the parking lot; he could rob a few people and call it a night after only working an hour. It wouldn’t be a bad gig, especially on weekends with the matinee crowd. Hey that gives me an idea . . .

No, not that idea! Stick with me people. Focus. I know how we can afford to go to the movies. As with all of my ideas it is a very simple premise, we just need to put a plasma donation center on one side of the theater and an organ harvesting center on the other. Can’t afford Milk Duds? That is ok; your body automatically makes something that you can sell!

“Mom, can we get popcorn this time?”
“Well, I don’t know honey. We already took out a second mortgage on the house and I don’t have any more cash.”
“Pleeeeaaase Mom!”
“I am not sure sweetie. Why don’t you go ask your father?”
“Where is he?”
“He is at the blood clinic.”
“Where, I don’t see him?”
“Look through that window. See he is lying on the table.”
“He is in between the man with no arms and the man with no legs.”
“Wow, he looks different through the glass. He is so pale.”
“Yeah, that is how you can tell they are almost through with him.”
“What should I say when I ask him?”
“Just ask him if he really needs that other kidney.”

Ok, so maybe that idea still needs some tweaking but there are more where that came from. Another idea I came up with is the black-market candy sales business. I could sell generic candy inside the theatre, I would only have to unload enough to cover my costs. However, it is dark in there and people don’t always know what they are getting, so a hefty profit is almost guaranteed. If you see someone wearing a trench coat in the middle of summer, and they appear to make a lot of noise when they walk, slip me a fiver and I will give you some ‘Malted-Milk-Duds’ and some ‘M & N’s. Or maybe you would prefer some ‘Crimson Vine Licorice’ or some ‘Mike & Spike’s. However, use caution when opening our sodas, the ‘psssshh’ sound tends to alert security. They have a vest and a little rolling floor sweeper thingy, they mean business. Other than their militant rules, I feel sorry for them. You can tell a job has little upward mobility when they won’t even let you use a real vacuum.

Honestly, I don’t even know why I would want to go the movies anyway. Between hogging the armrest, kicking the backs of the seats and talking over the actors, it isn’t as relaxing as other people make it out to be. It makes me tired; I don’t normally do that much activity in a day. Plus, it is a workout climbing over all those other people in the row just to get to the bathroom. And don’t even suggest not doing that. I tried it once, and let’s just say those ushers get very nosey about puddles under the seats. “Is this what I think it is?!” “Did you do this?!” “What is the matter with you?!” Too many questions. I paid to watch a movie, not get the third degree.

See how hard it is to go to the movies? Is it fair that I have to follow all these rules and they can charge exorbitant prices and make me watch whatever garbage they put out and I have no recourse? It is not right. Anywhere else, if you are not satisfied with the product you return it to the store. You raise a fuss, you demand your money back, you scream for a manager, you stand up for your rights, you use force if necessary, you get tasered! Ok, so except for that last part, it is a good system. Why not use it at the movies too?

Me: Yes, I just saw your latest movie “Return of the Swamp Thing” and I am totally dissatisfied. Them: So?
Me: I want my money back.
Them: What?
Me: It was no good. I was not moved to a single involuntary emotional reaction. I did not learn anything. There was no moral. Oh, and the popcorn was stale.
Them: What do you want me to do about it?
Me: I want my money back.
Them: Uh, no.
Me: But it stunk. It was a terrible movie. I want my money back. And I want to be reimbursed for my time.
Them: Lady, are you crazy?! Did you not see the movie previews? Of course it stunk. The posters weren’t even any good. I had to have the snack-bar guy photo-shop them just to make them look better.
Me: I am sorry about that, but I am still upset about this. Don’t you want to keep your customers happy?
Them: I would love to. But since they put in the Plasma Center and the Organ Center next door I have had to invest a ton of money in handi-capable services. Like extra wheelchair spaces, IV hook-ups, staff nurses, and a defibrillator. I had a guy code last week; and I can tell you that ambulances are not good for business. I can’t afford to give you a refund. On top of that, candy sales are way down and if things don’t pick up I may go out of business all together.
Me: Um, you know what? Never mind. I can be the better person here. It is just a few dollars after all. So I will just be on my way.
Them: Hey you dropped something, it fell out of your coat. Is that a generic peanut butter cup?! SECURITY!!!

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