A Brief but Common Scene at the Contemporary Cinema

The hordes line up at the box office, awaiting a ticket, or several, from the overburdened cinema employee. Children beg their mothers for candy to accompany their popcorn. The mother subtly forwards the child’s plea to the father. Half an hour passes. An enterprising young individual approaches one of the three lineless automated kiosks to purchase her ticket. The hordes turn to look at the enterprising young woman, confused and unsure of whether they should be envious. The enterprising young woman purchases her ticket and proceeds to the theater. The hordes figure if everyone else is staying idle, it can’t make sense to approach the kiosk. The hordes remain.

11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Wey on September 2, 2009 at 3:14 PM

    um…who wants to pay the service charge?

    Reply

    • Posted by Josh on September 3, 2009 at 1:35 AM

      The past three cinemas I’ve went to had no service charge. Most people don’t even think enough to check on that assumption. Many people used to think E-Z pass had a surcharge for a long time as well.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Wey on September 3, 2009 at 1:54 AM

    then the specific reason I don’t usually use them (though, for me, it’s rarely an issue since I rarely put myself in the environment you describe above)…the inability to get the student discount

    Reply

  3. Posted by doc on September 3, 2009 at 9:50 AM

    One day, none of you will be students and there will never be a surcharge. And it will be a beautiful world.

    Reply

  4. And the tickets dispensed by the kiosks are the older style 1.5 square inch ones, as opposed to the new-fangled 1.5″ x 3″ ones that don’t fit into the leaves of my movie-ticket-stub collection binder.

    Reply

  5. Posted by John S on September 3, 2009 at 5:31 PM

    I think it’s safe to say that the kiosks are, at this point, a work in progress.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Dan on September 4, 2009 at 3:45 AM

    i.e. they work and you progress to the theater while everyone else stays behind?

    Reply

  7. Posted by Josh on September 5, 2009 at 7:52 PM

    These objections are silly. Yes, of course there are some fanatics who like their tickets to be a certain dimension and yes, some machines don’t give out student discounts (although, from my experience, many do), but this doesn’t describe the vast majority of people buying tickets. Most people buy general admissions tickets with a credit card.

    And, this phenomenon is not isolated to the movie theater. It happens at the airport and the post office just as frequently. In fact, at my post office, they have someone standing by the kiosk who takes people off the line to the kiosk where they could mail their package much more quickly and conveniently.

    Reply

  8. Posted by John S on September 5, 2009 at 9:27 PM

    Not to harp on this point, but going to the movies is different from going to the airport, as it is different from going to the post office. People generally go to the movies with friends, as a leisure activity, so the time “wasted” on line (what are we talking about here? 3 minutes?) is not really as torturous as you imply. I suppose if you are running late, or if you’re an invalid, but waiting on line for movie tickets probably wouldn’t make my list of the 500 most annoying everyday experiences, so I don’t really know why it warrants your scorn.

    As for the airport, I must concede defeat: I didn’t realize you could check bags at the kiosks until now.

    At the post office, given the infrequency with which I (and probably most people) mail things, I generally have no idea what I’m doing. I think the person standing by the kiosks is evidence that most people are similarly confused, not that these kiosks are so obvious that missing them must mean you have some sort of learning disorder.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Tim on September 5, 2009 at 9:39 PM

    Josh has now written more words in response to his post than in the post itself. And Tom was pro-kiosk, by the way. I think.

    Reply

  10. […] …How the Structure of the Journalism Industry Changes: I’ve already posted about my intrigue on this matter. Is journalism going to be undersupplied? Are fair use laws going to be more stringent? Will journalism—a public good—be publicly subsidized? Or, will advertising models change? Will the distinction between mainstream journalism be completely blurred? As I said in my initial post, “It is by no means clear that the net amount of journalistic information will be less (or more) than it presently is or was during journalism’s heyday: There are just too many factors at work… In the end, we should approach this shift in the dynamics of the journalism industry with curiosity and not downright pessimism (unless of course, you are currently a professional journalist).” And, I remain curious. …The mass population finally becoming acclimated to automation: See here. […]

    Reply

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