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When the Customer Is Wrong

May 5, 2010  

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema of Austin, Texas, encourages its patrons to enjoy dinner and a movie—at the same time. "The theater is laid out like a traditional movie theater," explains the company's website, "except every other row of seats has been replaced with a long narrow table for your food and drinks."

A discreet ordering system keeps distractions to a minimum, as does a policy of warning—and, eventually, ejecting—noisy customers who disrupt the film. In a post at the Church of the Customer Blog, Jackie Huba highlights an Alamo Drafthouse PSA, for which the theater recruited a former Texas governor: Confronted with a rowdy customer, she throws him onto the sidewalk. The PSA reads: "Don't talk during the movie… or Ann Richards will take your ass out."

Importantly, the venue stands behind its stern words. After a recent screening of Where the Wild Things Are, Tim League, the theater's founder, was confronted by a man who became irate when a waiter shushed him. The outraged moviegoer followed League to the parking lot, punched the windshield of League's car, and promised never to return.

"Fabulous," responds League at his blog. "You, sir, are exactly the type of patron that I never want to see at an Alamo Drafthouse ever again. People who continue to talk when the movie has started are impolite, self-absorbed losers who were never taught common decency by their parents."

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  • by Jake Bergen Wed May 5, 2010 via web

    Right on the money. Abuse is never acceptable, and ignorant people have used the "customer is always right" slogan to warrant abusing others for far too long. A similar (but slightly longer) blog post on the subject can be found here: entitled "How To Be A Good Customer".

  • by Andrew McFarland Thu May 6, 2010 via web

    Nice post. When customers abuse privileges they begin to turn profitable customers into defectors. You can be profitability suffers and the business spirals away. entitled "Customer Loyalty Bad? Never!"

  • by Carlos García-Dubus Thu May 6, 2010 via web

    If a customer ruins other customers' experience then we don`t want him or her with us. We can not protect a customer who will damage our business.
    I totally agree with the article!!

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