Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Dark (sweaty) Knight

When the summer heat is unbearable and you want to cool off, where do you usually go? To the movies... or so we thought. Last night we went to Warner Moderno (the place I'd previously raved about for their online ticketing system) to see The Dark Knight in English along with more than half of Rome's English-speaking community, apparently.

As soon as we walked into sala #4, we all noticed it wasn't nearly as cool as we wanted it to be or as it should be. It was still early so I strolled downstairs to inform one of the workers who said he'd "take care of it". The theater is packed and the movie starts... but the air conditioning does not. It was a sauna in there, the air was hot, sticky & stale. The AC occasionally let out a spurt of cold air but not strong or long enough to even remotely freshen up the theater.

Half way through, I literally started to feel sick and had to leave the room. A dozen people or so did the same before me. Covered in sweat, I marched downstairs and asked to speak to the manager. She was super nice and tried to bullshit me by saying "Oh, we had a problem with the AC just before opening and couldn't get it fixed". Nice try lady, but that won't cut it with me because as we were suffering in the theater, my friend mentioned to me that her friend had the same exact problem in sala 4 last week... AND I vaguely recalled having the same problem in sala 4 about three years ago! So manager girl was wise enough not to fuck with an annoyed, sweaty American and fessed up: the AC in sala 4 had been broken for about 5 years and despite her constant requests, Warner never bothered to fix it. Why? Because it wasn't worth the money for them to close down that sala for a day or two. Instead they stuff unwitting movie-goers into that sauna because they know only a handful of people (like me) will complain and ask for their money back. So in the end, Warner still makes a killing without having to spend a cent for repairs.
The manager obviously offered to reimburse me & my crew for the tickets, she apologized profusely and said unfortunately there's not much she can personally do to fix the situation. I was seriously tempted to make an announcement in sala 4 after the movie telling everyone to go ask for a reimbursement, that way Warner would realize that it's NOT okay to cram a theater with people when the AC is busted. Unfortunately, I was too worn out by the heat to muster up the energy. Instead we high-tailed it out of there and went out for drinks...
But I just wrote an email to Warner about the incident because I do believe it's actually illegal for them to place all those people in a non-ventilated, crowded room without AC. I'll keep you all posted, in the meantime avoid sala 4 at Warner Moderno!


Leanne said...

Go you writing a letter to them. I cannot believe there is no AC in sala 4...if I go to the cinema there I will make sure it is not #4. As you said half the joy of going to the cinema in the Roman summer is that it will be cool. There are no public pools really, or no beach close by so we have to cool down somehow!

*Belgian said...

That's awfull! Anyway thanks for the heads up!

Emmina said...

Shall we talk about Trenitalia???

Romerican said...

Leanne- Yeah, I'm a letter-writing junkie. I do believe that if people speak up more, things can and will change in this country. I have to admit, most of my complaint letters have always been a success in one way or another.

*belgian- you are very welcome.

emmina- OH you don't even want to get me started on that topic... and the letters/emails I've written to Trenitalia, actually I've had NO success with them apart from the generic "thanks for contacting us". the end.

Monika said...

Good on you for writing them a letter!
Typical Italian attitude unfortunately.
We caught a cab this week to the Florence airport. The same route my husband takes every time he goes on a business trip except this time it was so much more expensive even though there was absolutely no traffic at 6am in the morning.

Romerican said...

Monika- they try to pull that stunt in Florence too? Cab drivers are the worst of the worst... in Rome they finally solved the problem by establishing a set fee for city center to the airport so the cabbies can't rip people off anymore.