"Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in."
— Michael Corleone, Godfather III
I know. I know. I know. I said my last post about Movie Tavern would be my last post about Movie Tavern. Actually, I think I said that every time I've written about Movie Tavern. (Counting this post, that makes a total of five.) But, this one, I swear will be my last. Promise.
|click image to enlarge|
Mrs. P received a fat little envelope stuffed with a letter of apology accompanying the free tickets and food coupons. We stuck the envelope on our refrigerator with a magnet and nearly forgot about it, until just this week. "Hey, I wonder if there is an expiration date on those Movie Tavern vouchers?," I inquired aloud to my wife. She shrugged her shoulders, so I checked. Sure enough, they did expire... at the end of July. With our free time in short supply, we decided to use them just this week. Y'know, to get it over with. We didn't even care what film we saw, as long as we wouldn't have to return to Movie Tavern after this last trip.
Rob, the General Manager at the local Movie Tavern, asked my wife to email him before we come, so he could arrange for seats and we could skip the box office. He also said if there are any problems this time, we should ask for "Matthew" or "Wanda" at the theater. When we arrived, we had to go to the box office anyway to get our tickets. We explained our exchange with Rob. The nice gentleman at the box office had no idea what we were talking about. No one had informed him of our arrival, of our "make up visit," of anything. (This was off to a fine start.) The fellow at the ticket window called for a manager for help. A young man, who was neither Matthew nor Wanda, arrived. He, too, knew nothing about our arrangement, however, he did give us tickets when we surrendered the passes Rob had mailed to us.
When seating was announced for our theater, we entered the auditorium, found our pre-selected seats and began to peruse the menu. I have never had a complaint about the food at Movie Tavern. It's always good and plentiful and filling. They have changed their menu considerably since our last visit, so we took our time weighing our meal options. There were several non-meat offerings, including a reformulated black bean burger, which I decided upon. My wife chose their new traditional pizza that replaced the flatbread option from the previous menu. Soon, a waiter appeared to take our order. After we gave him our meal selections, he asked for a credit card to create a "tab." I produced the three $10 food vouchers that we received from General Manager Rob and handed them over. Then, I gave my credit card for any overage that the vouchers didn't cover. As the waiter walked away, I joked to Mrs. P: "You know, when our check comes, it's gonna be for the full amount and he will have forgotten about those vouchers I just handed to him." We laughed. My wife added, "If that happens, I am not complaining about it. I don't want more free passes and have to come back here again!"
Our appetizer and main course came during the movie. We ate and everything was fine. We were both enjoying the movie — Edgar Wright's action-comedy Baby Driver, reminiscent of Pulp Fiction-era Tarantino, but done much better — when the check arrived. The waiter leaned in and whispered, "I was only allowed to apply two vouchers to your bill."
Oh, Movie Tavern, Movie Tavern, Movie Tavern. When will you get your shit together?
He asked if we'd like to talk to a manager. I told him "yes," but that I'd also like to watch the movie! In the darkened theater, I could see that he nodded. He continued down our row, dropping checks on the trays of other audience members, A few minutes later, he returned. He placed his hand on the faux leather portfolio and asked if our check was ready to be paid. "No," I said, in an annoyed whisper, "I'd like to talk to a manager... and I'd also like to watch the movie!"
Finally, the movie ended, the lights came on and our waiter asked if we'd still like to speak with a manager. "Yes," I answered, as I unfolded the apology letter from my pocket, "Is Rob here?" He told us that Rob was not there this evening. "How about Matthew or Wanda?," I continued. "Oh yeah," he said, "I'll get 'im." Soon, a fellow in a Movie Tavern polo shirt entered the theater.
"Can I help you folks?," he asked with a friendly smile. My wife questioned, "I guess you're not 'Wanda'." "Actually, I'm 'Wanza'," he said as he pointed to his name badge which read "Wanza." Mrs. P and I both swallowed hard, but Wanza didn't seem to be bothered. I was ready for an argument, raising my voice and reading Rob's letter — but I didn't have to do any of that. Wanza announced, "We usually don't accept more than two vouchers, but since Rob said it was okay, it's okay with me. Give me a minute and I'll adjust your bill." He returned in a moment and added, "There was a balance of $1.30, but forget it. I'll cover it. No sense charging your credit card such a small amount. I just want to make this right." We thanked him sincerely. As we left the theater, he thanked us again and said, "I hope you'll come back again."
He was the first Movie Theater employee who truly expressed a feeling of pride and caring for the company he represents. He was really concerned about us, the customer.
Unfortunately, Wanza, we will never see you again.