Regal Cinema In Boise, Idaho Is Awesome, Even When You've Clearly Screwed Up

Dave did something really stupid last weekend (no offense Dave), and bought two tickets to see “Iron Man” on the wrong day. He didn’t realize his mistake until Saturday, when he thought he was going to go see the movie. We would have never even bothered to call Regal to beg for ticket leniency, but Dave tried it anyway—and the theater actually exchanged the expired tickets for two new ones.

Here’s Dave’s story.

I just wanted to take the time to commend Regal Cinemas in Boise, ID. On Friday 2 May 08 I bought 2 tickets to see Iron Man on Saturday 3 May 08.
 
The next morning I was getting ready to go and see the movie and I happened to check my email and received one from Fandango asking me if I had liked the movie that I had not yet seen. I was somewhat confused so I checked my receipt and I then noticed that I had accidentally bought tickets to the Friday show.
 
Thinking I was now pretty much out the $15.50 for the two tickets, I decided to call the theater to see if anything could be done. When I called the theater the person I spoke to just told me to bring the copy of the receipt for the Friday showing and they would give me two tickets to the Saturday showing.
 
When I arrived, the individual I spoke to on the phone wasn’t there and another individual came out to see me and upon explaining the situation the manager went back and got me two tickets for the Saturday showing.

Nice going there, Regal.

 
(Photo: tvol)

Comments

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  1. Kajj says:

    Outstanding customer service is often astonishingly cheap.

  2. mountaindew says:

    Wow! Excellent customer service!

  3. B says:

    It’s actually not that surprising. Movie Theaters don’t make any money on tickets, espicially opening weekend, they’ll send 70% of the ticket proceeds to the movie studio. They make all their money on concession sales, so it’s in their best interest to get you into the theater and sell you popcorn.

  4. picardia says:

    Should I ever find myself in Boise, I know where to go. :)

  5. JustThatGuy3 says:

    $15.50 for TWO tickets? Wow, I pay about $13 PER TICKET in NYC. Really gotta move.

  6. Leiterfluid says:

    @B: Heh. You beat me to it. I was going to say the same thing. Theater owners would probably let you stand around and loiter if you bought a $12 bag of popcorn and a %6 soda.

  7. crackblind says:

    Actually had something similar happen to me at an AMC Loews in NYC a few weeks ago. We had pre-bought tickets for a Saturday morning show and one of my sons woke up sick. I didn’t want to disappoint my other son so I took him and my wife stayed home. For some reason, I decided to ask if I could exchange the tickets for passes, explaining what had happened, and was instead given a refund. Never expected that at all.

    Guess which theater is now the one we choose to go to?

    wish I’d thought to send it in. Goes to show you we think about posting bad customer service and not the good.

  8. Xerloq says:

    @Leiterfluid: I know you meant $6, but sometimes the soda at movie theaters (which is cheaper than the water – $7 for 12 oz Dasani!) tastes like it contains only 6% soda.

  9. Imafish says:

    “Theater owners would probably let you stand around and loiter if you bought a $12 bag of popcorn and a %6 soda.”

    Reminds me of the old joke, A guy asked out a girl for a date. She agreed only if he took her to the most expensive resturant in town. So he took her to the lobby of the local cinema.

  10. BloggyMcBlogBlog says:

    @JustThatGuy3: Damn $13 for a ticket!! I just paid $4 for a matinée ticket to go see Iron Man in Suburban Chicago. I (heart) Nova Cinemas.

  11. puffyshirt says:

    That is really good going on Regals part. Well done.

  12. Buran says:

    @JustThatGuy3: My local theater wants $9/ticket and they just changed their matinee hours ($6/ticket) from “before 3pm Sundays” to “before noon Sundays” (don’t know about weekends – I always go on Sundays).

    As a result, I wait for the blu-ray even more and go to theaters even less. The fact that it’s ridiculously hard to catch a captioned showing (being hard of hearing) because they’ve got ONE auditorium fitted with the system, and because they never seem to think people might want to see movies on opening weekend with captions, doesn’t help their case any.

    I guess they don’t really want me buying popcorn there and prefer that I pop it in my own kitchen and prepare my own toppings.

  13. Underpants Gnome says:

    Amtrak did the same thing for my girlfriend. The ticket agent in Chicago let her transfer the tickets she had bought a month earlier (accidentally for travel a month earlier) to tickets on that day’s train for free. Sad part is that the price of a movie these days is almost the same as a train ticket from Chicago to indinapolis.

  14. SkokieGuy says:

    With an electronic ticket, it has a scanned bar code, so it is easy to confirm that the ticket wasn’t used, yes?

    And althought the house may have appeared sold-out due to ticket sales, if these tickets were never scanned, the theater knows it has two open seats left.

    So yes, they did the right thing, but it was easy to do, not extraordinary.

  15. MeMikeYouNot says:

    I love movies but seldom go to the theater anymore–too many rude, talking, cell-phone using people,(yes you!) to deal with. I did go a couple of weeks ago to see “Sarah Marshall” and paid $6.25 for a matinee(she gave me the senior discount although I’m only 59). I noticed that weekend evening prices are now $10.25 here in Las Vegas. Looks like I won’t be going to the movies much at night. And don’t even get me started on concession prices.

  16. JustThatGuy3 says:

    @Underpants Gnome:

    Train ticket Chicago -> Indianapolis: $10

    Train ticket Indianapolis -> Chicago: $200

  17. legotech says:

    One independent theater offered Fox 105% of the box office take in exchange for letting him have Phantom Menace, he makes all his money on the concession…its usually more like 90-95%% for the first weekend or two and then falls off after that.

  18. synth7 says:

    I work at a Regal theatre and that is pretty much SOP. Customer has any reason to speak to a manager, said customer basically gets whatever they are asking for, or free passes.

  19. At first glance I saw the phrase “Idaho is Awesome” and damn near had a heart attack. It isn’t. [Spent 15 mos. there, so I know what I'm talking about for once.]

  20. glass says:

    damn, tickets are cheap out there! in LA its about that much per seat.

  21. tealcandtrip says:

    My brother worked in an AMC movie theatre during high school. They’re actually pretty lax with giving out vouchers for free movies, mostly because they want you to come back and buy more popcorn. So now, anytime anything is even slightly wrong (movie out of focus, lights come up, wrong lens on the projector), I go get a free pass for another movie.

  22. macinjosh says:

    @MeMikeYouNot: Sorry, my BFF was totally buggin’ and I had to get her to take a chill pill.

    (Do the kids still say ‘chill pill’?)

  23. Turcicus says:

    synth7 is right, this is standard for Regal. I once worked at my local Regal and saw this happen all the time – person would get tickets for wrong showtime/day and an exchange or refund was never a problem.

  24. spinachdip says:

    @SkokieGuy: Easy, maybe, but it feels like too many businesses try to squeeze every dollar out of every transaction, even if it means alienating consumers. So it’s refreshing to see a business, a national chain at that, that understands if doing something costs them only *this* much but makes the consumer THIS happy, then they should do it.

    In this case (and pretty much every case posted on Consumerist), it’s not so much about doing the “right” thing, but simply having the head out of the sand.

  25. chiieddy says:

    @JustThatGuy3: $10.50 in the Boston ‘burbs. But I pay $7/ticket by buying through AAA.

  26. spinachdip says:

    @chiieddy: It’s $10.25 where I am, but I put on old man makeup for the senior citizen discount.

  27. P_Smith says:

    @B: Movie Theaters don’t make any money on tickets, espicially opening weekend, they’ll send 70% of the ticket proceeds to the movie studio. They make all their money on concession sales, so it’s in their best interest to get you into the theater and sell you popcorn.

    True. But if two tickets weren’t used on the day and that led to two empty seats, not two more sold, that’s lost revenue for the theatre.

    Even so, it’s the right thing to do. It would be clear that the tickets weren’t used, so why not impress a customer by honouring the tickets instead of gouging him?

  28. P_Smith says:

    Additional: It would be nice if theatres would only tell customers when the *movie* starts, not the advertisements. That honesty is still missing from most/nearly all theatres.

  29. TheCase says:

    @Bay State Darren: A matter of personal opinion. I think your actual location in ID has a lot to do with it.

  30. I don’t think the average ticket ripper at the movie theaters I go to would have any idea that my ticket was expired.

  31. El Nino2783 says:

    Comment on Regal Cinema In Boise, Idaho Is Awesome, Even When You’ve Clearly Screwed Up This is just basic policy for Regal. As long as you can present an
    unused ticket to an employee, they can have a manager authorize the
    printing of a new ticket.

    Having worked for Hoyts/Regal (Regal bought out Hoyts) for about 5
    years it was common practice to have the customer always be right, as
    long as they brought their complaint to management.

    Policy there is have the customer yell and scream at a peon who has
    been told they are to say no to a specific problem, but if they bring
    the complaint to a manager they give in in 2 seconds. Makes the
    general staff look like idiots, but they pretty much hope most
    customers will feel it is too much of a bother to bring a complaint to
    management that for the most part has no backbone, even if the
    customer is truly being unreasonable.

    I only had a manager back me up once when a customer was being very
    very unreasonable, but that’s because he wasn’t a lifer and was just
    working their to pay his way through college.

    One more caveat, if it is a simple problem most employees will say no,
    but be understanding if your complaint is reasonable (95% of them are
    reasonable for the prices you pay), but at least give the employee a
    chance to help you because if you go straight to management the
    employee gets scolded (nothing serious but no one wants to be scolded
    by their boss).

  32. mesamunefire says:

    its true, ive never had a bad time at regal theatures. At least in California. They are really nice but sometimes sparely populated.

  33. dukrous says:

    In most theaters I’ve been to they’ll gladly exchange unused tickets for showings later in the day or the next couple of days in the case of a weekend. I’ve seen some people exchange tickets as much as 72 hours after the showing listed. Generally, if you approach them and give them a decent explanation they’ll oblige you.

  34. AD8BC says:

    wow, nobody blaming the OP!

    Just kidding. Kudos to Regal. They sold a ticket and he got to see the show. That’s how it should be.

    Did you enjoy the movie? I’m thinking of seeing it.

  35. kc2idf says:

    Regal have been like this ever since they bought/changed name/whatever from Hoyt’s. I’ve only once ever asked to exchange a ticket (decided we wanted to get some dinner before the movie), and they didn’t even give it a second thought.

  36. kc2idf says:

    @AD8BC:

    Did you enjoy the movie? I’m thinking of seeing it.

    It’s a good movie. Yes, go see it.

  37. jbrains says:

    I had a similar experience at Rogers Centre, where the Blue Jays play. My wife bought us tickets to a game and we went on the wrong day–the day /after/ the game the tickets were for. The ticket-taker suggested we go to the Box Office, and sure enough, they exchanged the tickets for even better seats, no questions asked. Very nice of them.

  38. ssaoi says:

    My buddy bought tickets for the wrong theater (different chain), and the AMC manager took the tickets and gave us tickets to his theater. I’m an AMC fan for life now.

  39. sponica says:

    @ssaoi: Hehe, that happened once at the theater I used to work at. My boss took Regal passes when we were an AMC.

  40. billsquared says:

    I actually had almost the exact same thing happen this weekend, at AMC Forum 30 in Sterling Heights, MI. I bought tickets on Saturday for a Sunday 2:30pm show, and then the babysitter we had arranged cancelled on us. I called ahead to inquire about refunding tickets, and was told that they could refund up until showtime or exchange for passes afterwards.

    The helpful lady who I handed the tickets to told me what I was being given in return were “Re-Admit Passes” which are good for any showing at any time — including IMAX — at ANY AMC Theater. So, theoretically, if I had a business trip to NYC planned, I could purchase AMCinema tickets locally for $5, exchange them for Re-Admit Passes, and use it on a $16 IMAX ticket in Manhattan.

    Pretty spiffy!

  41. Phildawg says:

    I would except nothing less. If they had not done this, I was have spit on their windows and never been there again.

    This isn’t amazing customer service, this is just what is supposed to happen. How sad we have become, eh?

  42. Milkham says:

    I’ve never had any trouble exchanging or refunding unused tickets.

  43. Robobot says:

    Wow, I wouldn’t dream of asking a theatre to fix my own mistake. Then again, I’d be too embarrassed to even admit to a total stranger that I did anything that dumb.

    Good on Regal, though. The one in my area never does anything right. Regal is the only theatre within 25 miles of us, but a lot of people in my town choose to drive even further to avoid them. Glad to see at least one Regal manages to do good by its customers.

  44. @Milkham: Word. Movie tickets aren’t non-refundable, like airline or concert tickets may be. They are supposed to exchange or refund the tickets if they aren’t used.

  45. tokenblackgirl says:

    I didn’t think this was a big deal. ive done this so many times i’ve lost count and never had a problem exchanging tix. Heck i usually don’t have an excuse, because you know what? they don’t care.

    Most people that work in theaters are underpaid high school kids who could give two shits.

    I once saw 3 movies in one day ( back in high school) same attendant at the door all the doors oddly and didn’t bat an eyelash, even though she knew there was no way we bought three tix.

  46. pigeonpenelope says:

    the Regal Theater at the Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham, WA is cool like that too. I bought tickets for a show I thought was at noon and it was actually at midnight. They refunded them when they didn’t need to.

  47. pigeonpenelope says:

    PS. Iron Man was awesome

  48. jennieblue22 says:

    Kudos to the theatre :D

  49. fredmertz says:

    This is another one of those posts that reads like self-parody.

    “Movie Theater Lets Customer Exchange Tickets”

    How is this even remotely interesting.

    Next thing you know, some guy at a wal-mart will misprice a sign!!!

  50. Timelock says:

    The Palladium in San Antonio, Tx does this as well.

    I’ve screwed up my ticket purchases several times, and they’ve always exchanged them without asking any questions.

    I’ve also got them to refund the tickets on many occasions when I felt that the movie theater was to overly packed, and I didn’t want to sit in the front rows.

    I really think there is a misconception about movie tickets, and that if you actually ask for them to change out the tickets, they will.

  51. PaulMorel says:

    Props, Regal.

    PS: I’m moving to Boise, so I can afford to take my fiance out to movies again.

  52. LUV2CattleCall says:

    @Underpants Gnome:

    Not sure why it matters though…either way she’ll get there next month!