Falling out of love, a bit, with something

Dear Letchworth Broadway Cinema,

I rather love you. Always have, for as long as I’ve know you. One of the best things about living in this part of the world is you. You’re an independent cinema in a lovely building. Your weekday prices used to be £3.75 but are now £4.50. This is awesome.

I have fond memories of you. The evening before my ex-wife went into labour with our first son we sat, in comfy seats, which I know she appreciated being so close to her due date and watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. My ex-wife and I are massive film buffs and both of us thought you were the best cinema in the world ever.

Yesterday decided I’d take my two children, my son now 3 and my daughter, 21 months, to the Kids Club screening of Top Cat this morning. To avoid disappointment I booked the tickets last night so we could be sure of getting in as I had no idea how busy this could be.

£1 each. Bargain.

Hang on a tick, why am I being charged £4.05p for 3 tickets which cost £1 each. Oh, you have an online booking fee. Something I wouldn’t be paying if I turned up just before the screening. A bit odd. Anyhow, the tickets are cheap so I shouldn’t mind.

*Something niggles at me a bit*

Actually, I do mind this. It’s all relative I guess and £1 per seat is good but a booking charge which costs more than a seat, for the convenience factor of making sure I don’t clog up your foyer with impatient children? Dunno. Feel a bit penalised for having forethought. Anyhow, I digress…

I still went to bed loving you, thinking about you, and woke this morning singing the Top Cat theme tune. My first cinema experience with my children beckoning. AWESOME O’CLOCK.

Actually, that’s not true. We took T to a few Parent and Baby Screenings when he was a baby and he slept right through them.

Hmmmm. *Something from then niggles at me a bit*

Yeah. One parent and baby screening session my ex-wife and I went to was held in a theatre upstairs. Lots of mums, and babies in pushchairs, and the world’s smallest lift. Suitable for one person and a pushchair and the only thing able to carry people upstairs.

And downstairs.

I’ve questioned this often, now I think about it. Mums bring babies, and babies come with child transportation devices. Putting the parent and baby screening session in an upstairs theatre, which you can only access by a lift, only able to take one person at a time does seem a little bit stoopid. Especially when there were two empty theatres downstairs.

I guess we were lucky. Both me and my ex-wife went so I could carry the pushchair down the flight of stairs. Not the safest move in the world but I’m quite strong.

But a little thought wouldn’t go amiss would it. Eh?

So, back to today.

Go to the cinema with my children for a kids club screening but was told I couldn’t take my pushchair in. Fairy nuff. K got out and stood. Was told couldn’t take my bag in. Not really MY bag as it contains nothing of mine, merely nappies and wipes for a girl not yet able to use the toilet. Accepted, grudgingly.

Sorry? What was that?

I can’t take in her sippy bottle thing? Why not?

Because you don’t allow it?

Really?

Really? Really?

Actually really really?

It’s a bit like finding out your loved one used to be a man called Geoff.. The shocking realisation that everything you held knew to be true isn’t. You don’t mind it, because actually you still love them, but something’s changed.

But it’s only got water in.

Sorry. Not allowed.

To be fair to your staff I think they realised I’d go mental about this. Asking for the details of your manager and promising to contact them may have helped my case. Perhaps it was my mad scary blue eyes. Perhaps I just argued my point wel,l but eventually you let my 21 month old daughter in with her sippy bottle. To be honest you dodged a bullet because if the bottle HAD been forcibly removed from her she would’ve KICKED OFF. She’s beautiful to look at, with a face that would turn a stone heart to putty, but she’s definitely got my temper.

Oh fuck. Here comes the flood.

To be honest she may need a nappy change. But I’ve had to leave my fucking bag full of nappies and wipes at the foyer. Check my bag. Nothing in it other than nappies and wipes. Nadda. But no. I can’t take this in.

Why?

Why can’t I take nappies and wipes and a sippy bottle into a… wait for it… KIDS CLUB SCREENING?

Give me a good fucking reason and I’ll walk away, happy and fulfilled. Your argument filling all the nonsensical gaps in this scenario.

How many less rabid parents were told they couldn’t do this? To be honest your staff looked quite young so maybe some people with parental experience at these screenings would be a good idea but, in all truth…

…I’ve fallen out of love with you a bit.

It’s not me. It’s you. You disappointed me. A real cinematic experience, for me and my children was somewhat arsed up. But I know you can change. Just like you did when you became Geoff.

Yours sincerely,

The Me

Thanks for reading and please let me know if you’ve encountered such hideous child/parent/baby nonsense policy balls in the past. In my usual slot. I kiss you on both cheeks.

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22 responses to “Falling out of love, a bit, with something

  1. That sounds stupid to me and I would have kicked off followed shortly after by the little ones screaming the place down.

    After that did you enjoy the screening?

  2. I’ve never gone to the kids screening ones, but I’ve been to the ones in the day with ‘babes in arms’ (kids under 2 years are free). First one let me take the pushchair in, second didn’t which was fine as she was crawling and the third time they allowed it. They helped me carry all the 500 things I was juggling; popcorn, drinks, baby bag, handbag, booster seat for child, and the squirming baby. Honestly, I think they were more concered for the babys safety as the elder one just stood there useless complaining when I asked her to open the door for me.
    I would have gone mental if they treated me like they did you. I can be scary, believe me 😉
    I hope your next experience is better! x

    • Thanks. It’s not put me off. T wants to see The Hobbit now so we’ll have to revisit soon. 🙂

  3. If you’re going to do a kids screening, you make it kid/parent friendly – sippy cups, nappies and all. They were just wrong. Hope you get an apology.

  4. this is effing ridiculous. my hubby and i are obsessed with the cinema and have an arts picturehouse in our town that does the job very well. staff are extremely attentive and kind. the only issue for us is the single lift. which goes to the kiosk floor and the bar floor. but not to the screen floor. that’s another lift. which is down from the bar but up from the entrance. you get me. it’s complicated. baby problems. :/

    • As first time mother of a 7 month old I’ve experienced far more of this nonsense than I ever thought I would – more than I can write here! Your blog proves it’s not just me over reacting, parents really are treated like crap in this country.
      Department store with baby change upstairs but lift knackered, GP surgery holding baby clinic on top floor, supermarket with escalators buggies can’t go on and one tiny ‘freight’ style lift, post office parcel office with two enormous steps to door. Wheelchair users must hate going out. I vote with my purse – if I’m not welcome, I won’t come in. Except for gp of course. I have no choice, but I let em know they’ve annoyed me!

  5. That’s ridiculous – I’d have been cross too. Fair enough have a look in the bag but once they realise it’s nappies etc it should be allowed in!

    I met a friend recently to see a film together, and he brought me three courgettes from his garden. The cinema wouldn’t let me in with my courgettes. Presumably they lose a lot of popcorn sales through people bringing their own courgettes to snack on.

  6. I’m afraid I’ve seen too many places welcome the family market’s money without thinking about all that brings with it, like having even a basic understanding of a family’s needs. I take my twins, their double buggy and all their paraphanalia with me most places I go. Don’t even get me started on inaccesibility. You had a crap experience, which is a shame, and good for you for standing up to it.

  7. What ridiculousness… And yes it may not be real word but think it’s a little bit more polite than bull****
    Still unclear as to *why* though. Did they actually give any reason at all? Valid or otherwise….

  8. Wow. I love this piece. You use more volition language than I do when I write, but I understand why. I want to laugh because the writing is so good, but I found myself getting more upset along with you as the piece went on. Fortunately, I do not have any experience with this, but a friend of ours was told not to breastfeed at a pool. She was told to go to the restroom – which is against the law. Some businesses can be funny like that and it is said because you aren’t penalizing the parent, you are penalizing the child.
    Love your writing. Sorry about the experience.

    • Thanks for sharing your friend’s story which, in my opinion, is shit. People should be allowed to breastfeed wherever the fuck they like…
      Now I’m getting angry on your friend’s behalf.
      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  9. So stupid they don’t have toddler friendly showings for toddlers! What if they’d wanted snacks during the showing? I guess they’d have made you buy from their kiosks only?

    • Yep. And I wasn’t going to do that as I don’t want them to have popcorn or hotdogs and didn’t see any other healthier options. Another point entirely perhaps.
      Thanks for reading. 🙂

  10. Fabulous. Never had anything like that but I had plenty of hassle when I was breastfeeding. To waiter “please can you put me somewhere out of the way because I’m going to be breastfeeding my son.” He puts me right in front of a floor to ceiling glass window then glares at me as I, shock horror, breastfeed my son.

    I’ve heard loads of cinemas are now adopting a “you can’t take in any food or drink” rule which you can understand to protect their profits, however, when the only choices are not choices I would make for my toddler, what are you meant to do?

    • Totally agree about the choices thing, but in this case my daughter can’t drink from anything other than that. And in terms of the food options then I didn’t see any healthy snacks. T noticed the pick and mix and wanted to buy a lollipop. I had to give in on that bbut wasn’t happy.
      Thanks for reading and for commenting.

  11. OMG! Wrong – wrong – wrong! I do not see how they have the right to withdraw the bag or any other item from you. Really hope you complain and get something changed (wishful thinking??). I got told 3 days ago I could not take photos of my kids in an outdoor pool at a Haven holiday site. No other kids were anywhere near them or in the shot. I asked why not -they are my kids? -she said. ‘I dunno – I think it’s the law’. Poor girl. I’m afraid I let rip. Common sense no longer seems to apply to the UK.

    • I will write a letter. Sadly the pool thing is a common one. Sometimes they even have a sign up saying it. But yes, when it’s just your children that is very silly.
      Thanks for reading and for commenting.

  12. We’re very sorry about the poor experience you encountered at Broadway Cinema, it appears policies may have over taken common sense on this occasion.

    Please email me, or give me a call on 01462 476058 so that we can apologise properly and gain your feedback to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    Thank You

    Glen
    On behalf of Broadway Cinema.

  13. Customer-hostile approach to a kids’ performance. Ridiculous, especially the part about the sippy cup.
    On the other hand, I’d like to see theatres be much more rigid in enforcing policies against babies in evening, R-rated films. THAT’S where they should show some resolve. (No one needs to hear anyone’s baby–including my own–in the middle of Pulp Fiction, etc.)

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