It was just going to be a simple girls night out. Seven of us were getting together to go see the movie “Red Sparrow” and then have dinner. I was in charge. I don’t mind doing that because I like to organize things and generally all goes smoothly. I usually reserve the tickets and pay for them online. Then I get dinner reservations. All is good. This might be my last time at the helm.
Well, this whole venture was doomed from the beginning. First of all, I contacted my friends to see who would be interested in this sort of evening. Seven replied and said they’d like to go. One said, “I’m not interested in that movie at all but I’ll meet you for dinner.” OK, whatever, now we had a plan. I was all organized and ready to go. Oh, maybe not.
The morning of the event, one woman notified me that she forgot she had a very important doctor’s appointment. She wasn’t able to change it and will not be going to the movie, but will only be meeting us for dinner. I quickly thought to myself – but I already bought the tickets. She immediately adds, before I say anything, that she will be glad to pay for the ticket.
Now I’m feeling bad about that, too. I don’t want to pay for it, but I don’t want her to have to pay either. I scouted around among our other friends and actually found someone who wanted to go at the last minute. So the problem was solved. Everything will be fine … and then the email arrived.
It seems friend number two spent the night in the emergency room. She woke up with stabbing pain in the abdomen and finally, at 6 a.m., left the emergency room to go home with news that she was not dying. Her situation could be fixed fairly easily. Seriously, I was glad she was going to be well, but are you kidding me, how could this be happening?
She also offered to pay for her ticket. Why should she have to pay for a ticket she can’t possibly use? Oh, but on the other hand she wanted to meet us for dinner.
Now we were down to six with our last-minute substitute. We jumped into the cars and headed to the movie. I wondered what else could happen? But, when we got to the theater … you won’t believe it.
We walked in and it was very quiet in the theater area out front. I looked for the place to check in with my online receipt to get the tickets. A guy stepped up to help me and as he looked at my receipt he said, “Oh, we’ve just been talking about this.” I asked if he meant he was talking about the movie or about our particular tickets and he said, “Just a minute, I’ll get the manager.”
He turned out to be a very nice man and began to explain to me how we were not going to see that movie, in kind of cryptic terms. It took about three times for me to understand what he meant. It seems he just couldn’t quite come out and tell me that the movie was no longer even in his possession. It had been removed several days early. The theater had no way to contact us ahead of time.
The distributor rep came to pick it up that morning at 7. What? They replaced it with another movie, which was a cartoon that we had no interest in seeing. In fact, there was nothing else we wanted see. This has not ever happened to me before. Has it happened to you?
They quickly refunded all my money and the online fee I had paid to buy the tickets, plus gave each of us a free ticket to another movie. The management couldn’t have been nicer. Customer service is everything! But really, no amount of kindness could actually fix this.
Two of the women had already purchased a drink and popcorn, each about $11. They received vouchers for more at another time.
So, at this point it was just mid afternoon, way too early for dinner and we were not meeting the other women for 2-1/2 hours. We walked around a modest shopping area near the theater and finally decided to sit down and have a drink. That should fix everything!
This was a crazy situation. Finally, we moved on to the restaurant, where our other two friends were – the doctor appointment gal and the one who was ailing. We had a great dinner. The one who only wanted to meet us for dinner made other plans, instead. Oh well, maybe she was the smart one.
I have never heard anyone say they went to the theater and the movie just wasn’t there anymore. What a crazy situation it was and one we will laugh about (probably) for a long time. I think I’m definitely done as the planner!
(Melanie Behrens – firstname.lastname@example.org)
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