Christmas and New Years were very busy when I worked at a theatre venue and even though I’m no longer there, I think about those events that came to us year after year. Mostly how lucky I am not to be working those shifts anymore. People seemed to complain more at this time of year – maybe they were people who didn’t usually go out to live events and had unrealistic expectations, maybe life was too chaotic and stressful and Handel’s Messiah unleashed the rage, maybe poinsettia bring out the jerk in some people. I really don’t know.
In times past, a well-meaning manager had the idea to start a log of complaints from patrons. It didn’t last for a variety of reasons. A lot of complaints were fairly routine: “the person next to me smells”, “I thought my seats would be better”, “I’m late but want to barge in at an inappropriate time and disrupt the 2500 other people who came on time, why won’t you let me?” Also, people complained ALL THE TIME about EVERYTHING. Between the sheer volume of complaints and our inability to do much about how people smelled, the sight lines of the (already designed and built) venue or someone else’s lack of time management, there wasn’t enough computing power to maintain that kind of system. Still, the logbook lived on and seemed to be used to put the most ridiculous of complaints, especially when the patron was extremely adamant, rude and/or angry. Mostly it lived on for the staff’s amusement.
Every New Year, I think back to an entry of mine, logged after an annual New Year’s extravaganza: “Patron complained that there was not enough dancing and the costumes weren’t fancy enough.” It wasn’t so much the complaint but the man’s (yes, a MAN) raging insistence that I do something about it during intermission. It reminded me of another fine complaint: “Patron is upset that Aretha Franklin didn’t sound the same as she did 30 years ago.” First world problems, indeed.
I wish my former coworkers and all those living with a “I Work With The Public During The Holidays” post-traumatic hangover a very relaxing New Year.
And just because, the obligatory gift sharing:
Our area is lousy with artists’ studios and that’s where Thomas and Adam bought my gifts. I love the mug and the awesome chipmunk picture, destined to hang in our bedroom, I think.