Friday, March 08, 2013

Oz; the movie we almost saw at the UEC in Cleveland

Oz The Great and Powerful is the 2D movie that we almost saw tonight at the UEC theater Cleveland,  Tennessee. We've been there before and had a good experience but that wasn't the case tonight.  You know the drill. We arrived early, bought our tickets, visited the concession stand and headed on over to Theater Seven at the UEC.

The Oz the Great and Powerful movie is interesting in that the first part of the movie was filmed in black and white. It's a throwback to earlier movies and is supposed to add interest to the film. Just about the time that the black and white was making me twitch, the movie switched over to color. (I don't want to reveal why but trust me, it's beautiful.) All the while, I never dreamed that we'd have a theater problem.

The movie plot takes a familiar route. Boy meets a girl. Girl falls in love. Boy stands there, tries to figure out what just happened and starts stuttering... and stuttering. This was the first problem with the UEC showing. It took about 30 seconds for the machine to recover, then stutter and repeat.

After the fifth time, I decided to alert UEC management. The manager I found was nice about the situation but casual. He even joked, "we didn't have a problem in that theater last night". Frustrated, I kept my mouth shut.

Back at Theater Seven it was clear that the machine was in its death throes. Instead of seeing Oz: The Great and Wonderful we were watching The Death of the Pixel Player in 2D.

Before running to reboot the player, this manager delivered us to someone higher up the UEC food chain.  By this time I (and most of Theater Seven) was fed up. The upper manager said that the 6:00 p.m. showing of Oz; The Great and Wonderful would start in about five minutes. He was willing to let us stay and watch it without making us pay the evening upcharge.

Let's see. Ruined movie experience, expensive concessions, staying later than anticipated at the UEC and a machine that suffered a performance-related panic attack. My review experience and night out was shattered. Upper management was only willing to let us watch the 6 p.m. showing and waive the upcharge?

Where was the sincere apology and attempt at customer service? Nope. None. The offer of a no-upcharge viewing wasn't good enough. Instead I joined the growing throng of people who wanted a refund. The UEC in Cleveland opened another register and directed me to that line. Just my luck. This register didn't have money in it so refunds couldn't be given. I got back in the next line.

Before releasing the refund, the manager again offered to swap our tickets out for the 6:00 p.m. showing. I explained that my plans for the evening and reiterated my request for a refund from the UEC.

At this point upper management finally coughed up the bucks. I asked about a refund on the popcorn and drinks but he said that they don't do that. Although our enjoyment of seeing Oz: The Great and Powerful was ruined, we had been able to enjoy the customarily overpriced drinks and popcorn. So sorry. No refunds on concession items.

We pocketed our $11 refund and left. As upper management pointed out, equipment problems happen and I understand that. However; the UEC customer service left me feeling like I was in Oz and I didn't feel great about it.

I may try them again someday but not anytime soon. Instead, I'll visit a different Cleveland theater, a Carmike or Regal Pinnacle in Knoxville.

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