[nobe-l] How AMC Stole Christmas

Brian J. Quintana satellite07 at msn.com
Sat Dec 26 20:33:22 UTC 2015


I definitely can sympathize with your frustration about this matter.

I go to the movies at least once a week. When I first started going, the 
same issues happened time and time again. Either the device didn't work at 
all, or it was set up for the hearing impaired.

Each time, we would return the device, and they would always give me guest 
passes, so I almost never had to pay for the movie.

Finally, I spoke to the manager directly, explained how this type of problem 
should not happen every time, and I asked her what we could do to remedy the 
situation. I proposed calling ahead of time, tell her which movie I planned 
on attending, and make sure they tested out the device before I arrived, 
letting me know before I arrive whether it worked, or did not.

As of now, this practice has worked almost flawlessly. She knows me, and it 
seems she has made sure her employees know to set up for the visually 
impaired when I call or e-mail ahead of time.

By the way, this is a Cinemark chain, and I too have had the same problems 
at AMC, but when I do go to a different theatre than my regular one, I still 
call ahead and make them get it ready before I arrive.

I recommend you call ahead from now on, or, make the employee come find you 
in the auditorium at the start of the movie to check that the device works. 
This way, if it does not, the employee, not you, or your husband has to 
leave to get it fixed.

Oh, and also, I try to remember to bring my own headphones. Those the 
theatre provide are bulky and have a 20-foot chord that gets in the way of 
my nachos, candy, and drink.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sharon Dudley via NOBE-L" <nobe-l at nfbnet.org>
To: "National Organization of Blind Educators Mailing List" 
<nobe-l at nfbnet.org>
Cc: "Sharon Dudley" <sharon.a.dudley at gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, December 25, 2015 12:54 PM
Subject: [nobe-l] How AMC Stole Christmas

> I’ve been in tears over this several times today. My husband and I are 
> fans
> of science fiction and fantasy, and for years, we’ve shared this hobby
> together. I was a kid when Star Wars came out for the first time, and I’ve
> always loved the movies.
> For a Christmas surprise, he got us tickets to see the new Star Wars movie
> at a time when they offered audio description. There were only two such
> shows during the day, and the morning showing on Christmas day seemed to 
> be
> the best chance that we could avoid overcrowded theaters and make sure we
> got the right headset for audio description.
> The introduction of audio description in movie theaters was such a
> wonderful advancement, and made me so happy when our local theaters added
> it to their list of services. I have had terrible anxiety about going to
> movie theaters ever since I went to see the LAST Star Wars movie: Revenge
> of the Sith. My daughter was quietly describing the action on the screen,
> and the woman next to her kept tapping her and shushing her. Then my
> husband, sitting on my other side, took over describing, and the woman
> glared at us, even though it was impossible for her to hear him 
> describing.
> After the movie, she yelled at us, and at me in particular, and called me 
> a
> bitch for ruining her movie experience, even after we explained that I was
> totally blind. She said that if I needed someone to talk to me during the
> movie, I should just stay home. That experience has stayed with me for a
> decade and colored my expectations of going out to the movies.
> When we got to AMC, we went straight to a manager, who flagged down a girl
> working there to give us the headset. We specifically asked if it was 
> audio
> description, as opposed to enhanced audio for the hearing impaired. She
> assured us it was, but that it wouldn’t start working until the movie
> started. So we got into the theater and waited.
> I don’t think I need to describe the anticipation we felt, but when the
> long-awaited words “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” came onto
> the screen, the headphones were silent. And with the opening crawl of
> words, there was no reading from the headphones. When my husband started 
> to
> describe things on the screen, I heard sound in the headphones, but it was
> only amplified sounds of the events on the screen. No description. No
> narration.
> We left the theater and angrily complained to management. Yes, we got our
> money back after it took 20 minutes to explain the situation and for them
> to realize what they’d done and get the right headset, and then they
> offered to let us back in with the right equipment. What good is that?
> We’ve missed the whole first part of the movie! There was no other showing
> with audio description for 7 more hours. We weren’t going to come back at
> 6pm when our daughter is coming over for dinner with our 2-month old
> grandson!
> This was not the first time this has happened to us. The many many times
> we’ve tried to go out to a movie, there has not been one single instance
> where they gave us the right equipment the first time. And I can only 
> think
> of two times where we caught their mistake in time to enjoy the movie. I
> have complained to management each and every time, in at least 3 different
> theaters in our community. Every time, they have promised to train their
> employees better in the future. And every time, we get the same ignorance
> of disability accommodations.
> I wonder if anyone else with disabilities has experienced such 
> difficulties
> at AMC theaters in particular, or movie theaters in general. What do you 
> do
> and how do you explain to them what you need BEFORE it’s too late to enjoy
> the movie? This was such a nice surprise from my husband, and it turned
> into such a heartbreak on Christmas. We’re going to try again in a couple
> days, but how does everyone else get past this barrier?
> Sharon Dudley, NBCT
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