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She Texted in a Movie Theater








(YouTube link)

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema enforces old-fashioned theater etiquette. They have two rules: no talking during a movie, and no phone usage. After a woman was ejected from the theater for texting during a film, she left an angry voice mail. The theater promptly turned her message into a public service announcement. In discussions at the Drafthouse site, Roger Ebert's blog, SlashFilm, reddit, Fark, and Metafilter, most commenters applaud the theater for enforcing silence during films. Link (video at the site contains unedited NSFW language)


I applaud them, too! I can't stand the fact that people can't seem to be without their phones for a 90 or 120 minute movie. What she fails to realize in that DARK theatre, is that it isn't just the sounds that are bothersome to other paying customers.

I was in a theatre over the holidays and the person in front of me was texting as well. I finally got fed up with him flipping open his phone and flashing me in the face with a sudden bright light every 60 seconds, so I politely demanded that he put it away. I got several nods of approval from those around. As well as many other things, social courtesy goes straight out the window with this generation.
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Failures of realization are quite common, good to know that public ridicule and ostracization are the most effective means of facilitating realization. Here I would have thought things like school, instruction, information, a heads-up, notification, an alert, a warning, or something along these lines would be more ammenable to realization and the former would be more effective in generating hostilities. Which leads to my confusion, as to why we don't just smack kids when they are 5 years old, tell them to smarten the f- up and send them off to the workforce.
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This is one of the reasons I ONLY go to the Alamo Drafthouse.

If you can't put the phone away after being warned, you deserve to get thrown out. Pretty simple. And to claim you weren't AWARE after being warned? Obviously a drunken nuisance.
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I've been to the Alamo Drafthouse and I can attest to the house rules being very clearly spelled out. Bravo to them for enforcing the rules and allowing the well-mannered moviegoers to enjoy the film they paid to see.
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Good for the Alamo Drafthouse! Wish I lived close enough to patronize them.
Really, have people gotten to the point that they *must* text/tweet/FB every few minutes no matter where they are?
I realize it's not in keeping with the popular 'I do what I want, when I want, because I want' philosophy, but it's not asking that much to require that people shut off their tech for a little while in public places.

Go dark and enjoy what's going on, for goodness sake. Or save yourself the $9 and stay home where you can text to your heart's content with no hassle to anyone.
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I do agree that the person was in the wrong and should have obeyed the rules of the theater. I also can't help but think that, if those words are a direct quote of the letter she sent, that the theater may have opened themselves up for a lawsuit of some sort. People sue for a lot less these days.
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@Miss Cellania

Despite wanting to be many things I've spent most of my adult life working in customer service. I worked for two major customer service corporations which go by the names Teletech and Stream International. They are both call centres providing customer support for various large corporations like Nextel, AT&T Mobile, Sony Ericson, Hewlett Packard, Compaq Presario, Roadrunner and Telus. Those are the contracts they had when I worked with them, but I mainly worked with HP, Compaq and Nextel. To say the least; the way the Alamo Drafthouse handled this customer was compeltely unacceptable customer service. As an employee for either Teletech or Nextel you'd be promptly fired. Nothing you or your client say to each other on a call are for anyone else's ears. You don't divulge information about clients to others, especially other clients. You give a minimum of three attempts to explain to the customer before hanging up on them and all three of those attempts are your direct speech, it doesn't matter if it says it in their contract or if the IVR told them, as a matter of good policy you tell them at minimum three times on the phone. You don't just say "Well, that's what it says in the contract, you shoulda read it." then delete their account and hang up on them.

Maybe it is just me, or because I don't care to go to the cinema, but I see a certain inhumanity in the manner of customer service provided by the Alamo Drafthouse. I don't understand why a full refund was not provided. Sometimes as a business you take these losses in order to preserve good customer relations. She may have returned to the cinema and respected the rules, who knows, she may even have worked their and proven to be a great asset at some future time, but with their way of addressing her, positive relation between them seems unlikely.

I also use to operate my own Internet Cafe which was met with a lot of conflicts between customers and most of our customers were teenagers with insecure little egos that needed to be reassured. Our customers came, not because they didn't have computers, but because they could sit beside their friends. We also had a number of game servers they could access from our store or from home. Once I permabanned a customer's home computer from our Counter-Strike server for cheating and never again saw him or any of his friends or their money around my store. Had I dealt with it the same way I always did which was to issue a warning, then kick him, then a temporary 1-hour ban, he probably would have wised up and came back. But instead we were in battle, you see, ego-battle. He hated me as a consequence, and though he never came back to my store, he did threaten me when I ran into him on the street. I wouldn't be surprised that he still hates me to this very day and to my deathbed. It was a big deal for him, perhaps much bigger than it was for me. He may be wrong and I may have been right, but is it really worth being right over? We had disclaimers stating cheating would be punished by ban, but customer relations is not about being right, a lesson I seemed to have learned the hard way when my business plummeted after two years due to lack of popularity. I think it became less about the service I provided and more about the kind of jerk I was. Anyway, the Alamo can do whatever it wants. But it may suffer the same fate I did.
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I realize she's probably lying to save face, but I can't quite equate flashing your phone momentarily as a flashlight (hopefully with a whispered apology to those around you...) with texting every two minutes or whatever. So hopefully they would rather tolerate a moment of that than have someone fall on their face because they can't see what they're doing.

I totally agree on the texting part though. You text? You go away.
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I love this. If I lived anywhere in a 50 mile radius of this place, I'd watch my movies there and even buy over-priced snacks to boot!

Though I take slight offense to the "THIS generation" comment, @khark... ouch! As someone in my early 20s, I consider myself part of THIS generation, and I'm also extremely grumpy when it comes to people interrupting a movie that I've paid for with their incessant texting and giggling. Once there was a whole row of middle aged ladies behind me who were calling each other on their cell phones during the movie. Let's be real: rudeness, as well as ageism, can happen to anyone. ;)
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Sure, younger people texting/talking are a nuisance in movies but in my experience it's anyone over 60 (baby boomers) that's the real problem. They talk at conversational levels during the film and are completely oblivious to any attempts to ask them to be quiet. It's amusing to me to hear people over 60 complaining about how "kids these days" don't know how to act...
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Good for that theater!!
I wish more did something like this.
My mother-in-law is a talker. I dunno what the hell her problem is but I refuse to go to the movies with her b/c she does not know how to shut her damn mouth during the movie. And she's LOUD about it too so it's embarassing b/c I know she's bothering the people around her with her comments/questions.
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She's in the typical age group of the new self-centered, mannerless world we are coming into. Awwe, sorry you couldn't irritate everyone around you, obnoxius drunk princess. If mom & dad would have put a stop to this kind of spoiled behavior when she was younger, there would not have been a problem. Kids need to wake up.
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We have an Alamo Drafthouse here in Winchester, Virginia which I often frequent. I can attest to the fact that the warnings are obvious and repeated and couldn't be more clear. Because the theater has waiters who serve food and drinks during the show there are lots of staff in the room at all times. Everyone gets a warning or two unless their behavior is egregious and everyone who I have seen warned by staff have quickly cleaned up their act with no further problems.
The Drafthouse puts on lots of shows in which talking, singing along, and audience interaction is encouraged, but these shows are clearly delineated and cell phone use will still get you kicked out.
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I'd love to be a bus driver and have the power to go up to someone loudly on the cellphone (mobile over here) and say

"Get off the f**king phone, get off the f**king bus and get out of everyone's f**cking hair"

After being subject day after day to loud people yelling and swearing their heads off to whoever is on the other end of the phone oh and everyone else on the bus because we really all wanted to hear.

Japan has it right - no mobile phones on public transport. Done deal.
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New Rule: All Theatres are to be retrofitted with cellphone-blocking transmitters. No cellphones will be allowed to operate within the theatre. This policy will be loudly and clearly announced prior to ticket purchase and admission. Those who cannot or will not comply will be tasered, tarred and feathered, and set afire. Their remains will hang outside from the marquee in iron cages until the birds strip their putrid flesh from their bones.

Second offenders will be dealt with more harshly.
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If this isn't a sign that the FCC needs to drop their ban on Cell jammers, I don't know what is. The problem wouldn't even exist.

I've lived in Austin since the mid90s and patronize ADH almost exclusively and I can say this little drunk toad had it coming. The lighting is on par with "normal" theaters, they warn you at least 2 times before the show starts and the server even asks you if you're new; then explains the rules and how to order if you are new. Also, they DO serve alcohol, which is part of their seemingly severe policy. They simply will not deal with a drunk who can't stfu, electronically or not.
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It's not just movie theaters, either. I run the box office for a small professional theater company, and I hate the fact that we have to ask people to please turn off their cell phones and "no texting" during performances! But, believe it or not, people do have to be reminded -- can't they understand about not interrupting live actors on stage, not distracting them? It's amazing how self-centered the general public has become, but theatergoers? You'd think they would be better educated as to protocol! Personally, I'd like to see cellphones banned in restaurants, too.
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"Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel you're
acceptable, respectable, oh presentable, a vegetable!" - Supertramp, The Logical Song

"Who are these men of lust, greed, and glory?
Rip off the masks and let's see.
But that's not right - oh no, what's the story?
There's you and there's me
That can't be right" - Supertramp, Crime of the Century
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@synikol, that was the recorded message that the texter left on the theater voicemail.

@manticore, it's clear from the message that the complainer is lying, as she complains she was ejected for texting, then claims she was only using her phone for a flashlight, then says no other theater has tossed her for texting. She's a big ole liar.

As for the people who suggest cell phone jamming, many doctors and emergency personnel require their cellphones to be on, even on their free time. Jamming signals would interfere with this.

We used to have a couple of theaters like that, but they closed down. It was so nice to kick back, have some good food, and watch a movie in near silence.
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@synikol: Do you not understand what voicemail is?

And FYI for anyone who bothers to read this far, the Drafthouse's website states that they had already warned her twice before kicking her out:

"Recently, we had a situation where a customer persisted in texting in the theater despite two warnings to stop. Our policy at that point is to eject the customer without a refund, which is exactly what went down that night."
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We have reared and become generations of people tied to their devices.

Texting has become the opiate of the masses. See what it did for Congressman Weiner.
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