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Bad Timing

Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 in Small Business Today Articles

Sometimes I can do really dumb things.  Those of you who know me well might say I do dumb things more often than smart things, but that is another column.  One of my most recent mistakes happened a couple of weeks ago on a cold, snowy Saturday when my wife, my kids who were in town and I decided to go to an afternoon movie.  With today’s technology, it was easy to go online and buy 10 tickets for the 12:00 show.

But that was only one of the times we talked about.  We also talked about a 1:00 show which would fit in very well with nap times for some of the grandkids.  Joanne and I showed up at the local theater here in Ankeny at around 12:20 for the 1:00 show.  Picked up our tickets and waited for the rest of the clan to arrive.  Around 12:50, Joanne walked into the theater to put some of our coats down and get a little settled.  The only problem was that the movie that I thought started at 1:00 actually started at 12:00.  I was devastated, and unsure about what to do next.  There was a 1:00 movie that was ready to go but after checking with the box office, there were only 2 seats available, a far cry from the 10 that we needed.

There we sat, 5 adults and 5 kids unsure what to do next.  Thank goodness nobody was yelling at me for making a huge mistake, because I was really angry with myself.  The next movie time available was 2:30, a long wait for those 5 kids.  Some of us talked through the possible scenarios, while others entertained the kids. We went to the manager on duty at B&B Theaters and asked for help.  He was extremely kind and understanding of our situation. 

In the end he offered to exchange our mistaken tickets for gift cards that could be used at a later movie.  Now we had another decision to make.  Do we wait around for the 2:30 movie, or call it quits and try again another day.  We debated the merits of the options and there was no clear cut answer.  By now both the little kids and the big kids were getting antsy and just wanted someone to make a decision.  The decision was made to try and see the 2:30 movie and find a quiet corner and give those little kids who needed a nap, a chance to get one.

As small business owners and managers we are often confronted with customers who are asking for our help to fix a mistake that they made.  We have the option of telling our customers that we feel bad that they made a mistake, but the mistake was theirs, not ours, and they will have to live with the consequences.  Or we can work with them to find a solution that fixes their problem, causes minimal heartburn for our company and possibly earn loyalty from the customer.

B&B Theaters fixed my problem, and for that I am very grateful.  They didn’t have to fix the problem caused by my own stupidity.  They didn’t have to worry about the money we would have been out or try to force us to see a movie that was already half over.  But they did help by giving us options that allowed us to feel good about the outcome no matter what we decided to do.  And in the process gained a loyal customer.  In my opinion, management at the theater handled our situation perfectly.  Congratulations to them!

We all enjoyed the movie and after it ended I still felt bad about my mistake, but I felt really good that management fixed it and didn’t make me feel like it was my fault.  Now you know where I will watch my next movie, and will double check that I have the correct time.

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