I’m not the kind of person who complains about service. I might have short hair, but I’m not the “I’d like to speak to the manager” type. As someone who feels incredibly passionate about the film industry, however, I cannot let this go. Ster-Kinekor and the likes want to know why people aren’t going to the cinema anymore? Maybe they should take a good look within.
On December 17, I headed to Ster-Kinekor at Mall of Africa to watch Aquaman. The excitement was real and I was pumped for the James Wan-heralded undersea adventure. Unfortunately, right off the bat, I could tell that the staff were having a bad day. The attendant at the self-service kiosk snapped at me, telling me I didn’t need to collect my tickets, even when I told him I still needed to order snacks, though. Then, at the snack counter, the attendant seemed to have left her festive spirit in her previous life. Nonetheless, I get it – it’s the Christmas season and it’s hell in retail, so I let it go.
When I sat down and the trailers started, I saw a blurred line horizontally across the screen. Needless to say, this line didn’t disappear and remained throughout the entire film. In my opinion, it was likely a kink in the actual screen or the camera lens was dirty. This isn’t the first time I’ve had issues with the picture quality at Ster-Kinekor theatres, and I’ve raised this same problem on at least two occasions (with no answers provided). I made the best of it, though, and watched the film – even if the picture quality betrayed the time, money, and effort that Warner Bros. invested in the movie. It’s pretty good, by the way, so you should check it out.
— Smilo Gosa (@SlimGosa) December 17, 2018
Now, I don’t know if during its renovations Ster-Kinekor lost its cinema etiquette or something, but it committed a cardinal sin as the Aquaman credits rolled. The lights went up immediately, as the cleaners started chasing the clientele away so they could clean up. There are two problems here. First, it’s a comic book movie, which means there will always be a post-credit scene (and there was). As soon as the operator realised there was more to it, the lights went off, but about two-thirds of the cinema was already gone. Second, it’s disrespectful to everyone who worked on the film. A movie isn’t over until the screen fades to black. Whether you choose to stay until the end is your choice, but Ster-Kinekor is spitting in the face of the film industry by treating the credits as unimportant and an afterthought.
The worst part about this? It isn’t the first time that any of these things have happened. Even though the experiences left a sour taste in my mouth, I feel it’s fair to provide some constructive feedback for Ster-Kinekor and not just complain about it.
— Shane Louw (@shane_da_louw) December 17, 2018
First, the staff need to check their ego at the door. The process of buying movie tickets (and snacks) has changed; the average moviegoer won’t know what to do since there’s hardly any visible signage. Several times, I’ve witnessed the staff get irritated and annoyed with the patrons because they don’t know the process. This is a failure on the brand’s side to educate its consumers. Don’t get me wrong – I think the new process is smoother and more effective, but people can’t assimilate it via osmosis.
Two, check the screens and equipment for goodness’ sake. The reason people go to the cinema is for the full experience. If your sound, cameras, or screens are faulty, fix them. There’s simply no excuse for the lack of quality control.
@sterkinekor #vaalmall how can a cinema let a group of drunk people into a 11:30am movie with alcohol in their hand and then do so repeatedly as they came out 2 to refill. They were loud and rude ina family film
— Sandra Barbosa (@Sands023) December 17, 2018
Three, educate your staff about cinema etiquette. You are a massive cinema franchise. Treat your products with the love and respect that they deserve. If I want to stay right until the end, I shouldn’t be chased out. I get it – you want to get the cinema clean for the next showing, but if you didn’t show that damn OUTsurance ad a hundred times, you’d probably have more time for preparation.
With more and more people avoiding cinemas in favour of streaming services at home, it’s crucial that the likes of Ster-Kinekor ensure that it’s providing the best possible experience to its consumers. I love going to the movies, but even I’m questioning if I want to go through these same issues again. When I walk out of a movie, I want to feel elated – not like I should’ve stayed at home and waited for the film on Blu-ray or DVD.