Saturday, 8 January 2011

Customer Service

My favourite cinema is the Harbour Lights in Southampton, part of the Picture House chain. Not only is it a five minute walk from my flat, but it shows a very interesting and diverse range of films, mixing the big name Hollywood blockbusters with more obscure (but usually much more enjoyable) independent films from around the world. The staff are also enthusiastic, friendly and helpful.

On Monday this week I went with a friend to see Tron Legacy - not a film I expected to enjoy but which I was really curious to see. I'm glad I saw it, although science fiction doesn't generally do much for me and this was no exception.

Clearly there was something wrong with the projection in the cinema because the whole screen was bathed in pink and green for the duration of the adverts and trailers. The content was practically unwatchable because the colours were completely wrong and every scene appeared entirely in shades of pink and green.

Initially we wondered if this was intentional. The film was in 3D, I've only seen one 3D film before (Avatar, and I was so bored I left early - it was either that or fall asleep!) so we wondered if this was some peculiar side-effect of the 3D process, but putting on the 3D glasses made no difference at all! In due course a member of the cinema staff appeared and explained to us that they were having problems but hoped everything would be sorted by the time of the main feature.

And so it was! Once the actual film started it played perfectly, with no distortion of colours or sound.

So that was the end of that we thought, until the film ended and we were leaving the cinema. As we walked out, a member of staff was there apologising for the earlier problems and handing out a voucher to watch a future film free of charge. This was entirely unexpected as the actual film had been fine, but I thought was highly creditable.

In fact we used our vouchers the following night to watch a film called The Tourist, a thriller set in Paris and Venice which was quite fun to watch, albeit the action scenes were hugely unrealistic, some of the acting was dreadful and the final plot twist was obvious almost from the start!

But the point of this post is that I already thought very highly of this particular cinema. I have had many enjoyable visits there, this was the first time there has ever been a problem and even then it didn't affect the film at all. They had no need to do what they did but by doing so, they have elevated themselves into the stratosphere in terms of my perception of them, and of course have caused me to blog about it here and hope that by doing so, at least a few people might be encouraged to visit and see what they have to offer!

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