5 Things Cinema Staff Want You To Know

1: No, we cannot and will not let young people into age-restricted film without ID

The film is a 15; you can tell me you’re fifteen all you like and beg me to allow you in, but if you haven’t got ID then I won’t let you in. It’s the law, and if I let an underage person in I could be fined or even go to jail. Your wheedling might be because you’re a Secret Shopper testing our practises, or someone who sees might report me.

If you’re plenty old enough and feel offended that you get IDed, take a look around. Some people look much younger than they really are and other people look much older than they really are. If there’s any doubt of your age, even a tiny part, staff are required to check ID. If you’re old enough, bring something with your photo and date of birth; you can just take a photo of your passport!


2: Take your rubbish with you, or at least don’t stuff it in hard to reach places

The ushers have to clean up after you when you leave. It’s one thing to sweep up tonnes of spilled popcorn and pick up all the drink cups and popcorn buckets after a popular film, especially a children’s film, but it’s disgusting to pick up your dirty tissues and time consuming to tug large items from under chairs.

When you’re leaving a screen, take a millisecond to consider the human being cleaning up after you. If the ice cream cup is the same size as the seat’s cup holder, how is the usher supposed to get it out? If you push your rubbish under your chair, the chair folding up will make it harder to reach. If you have sweets wrappers and a popcorn bucket, it saves a lot of time if you drop them in it rather than presumably tossing them out like ticker tape. We love the people who pick up their rubbish and bin it, we like the people who stack their rubbish up in clear view, and we hate the people who make our job harder for no reason.


3: Don’t complain about paying too much for the popcorn and drinks if you aren’t even going to eat and drink them

Everyone complains about the price of the concessions, and the two arguments of why they’re expensive and how they aren’t compulsory are for another article. So, they’re expensive and people like to complain; enough people still buy them and are annoyed if there’s a delay or an item has sold out.

However, staff know from cleaning the screens that almost half the people buying popcorn and drinks don’t finish them; a ridiculous amount of cups and buckets just sit there at the end of the film, untouched. It’s annoying to know people fuss at the till about the cost of concessions and then just put them on the floor and leave them. Just stop whining and eat up.


4: When it’s incredibly busy, there’s nothing that can be done about the crowds or queues

When a popular film comes out, the school holidays start or its discount day, it’s going to be incredibly busy. There’s nothing that can be done about that, so if it’s too busy for you your best option is just to go home and come back another time. Somehow, people don’t seem to notice the sheer amount of people or somehow can’t comprehend that the reason they’re there is the same reason everyone else is too.

For some reason, people seem to think we’re hiding staff out the back doing nothing, or that staff are purposefully low, and have a go at the staff they’re served by as if the queues are deliberate. It’s incredibly annoying for people to walk through a massive crowd, queue for more than ten minutes and then be incredulous that the popular film they want to see is fully booked.


5: It really does make a difference to us how rude or nice you are.

A pair of small children who picked up all the booster seats in their screen not once but twice in one day were the talk of the cinema; such a lovely thing to do made all the ushers’ days and we made sure to thank them. A man who argued about age restrictions and shouted at the manager he made me call made an already stressful shift even worse. The seniors’ special is the best day to work, as they’re quite friendly and chatty.

This is another case of remembering that staff are humans. People don’t work in retail or customer service for fun, they do it because those are the jobs going, jobs pay money, and money can be exchanged for goods and services. Before you act like the cinema staff are you personal servants or even robots, think about how you would feel if you worked shifts in a high energy role and had to keep a happy friendly face on. There’s no need to for to take out your day’s problems on the poor person who sells you popcorn and the ticket to the current superhero movie.