Irritated Movie Theater Employees Share The Worst Things Patrons Have Done

When people go to see movies at a theater, they're often tired from a long day at work and just want to see some mindless entertainment. But when their experience doesn't go as planned, they often take it out on the easiest target they can find: movie theater employees.

I can't believe the nightmare customers these Redditors had to put up with!

Former theater chain employee here. Once a customer's snack food order came up as $6.66, and she actually asked me to charge her extra for something to change the amount because it was an "evil number."

It's not a bad omen, it's junk food.


I had this happen tonight: A lady came in with her infant to see The Purge: Anarchy. It was the 10:00 PM show, and she couldn't understand why she couldn't bring her crying infant into a theater with 200 or more people.

She proceeded to call back after she left and threaten the manager who she spoke with saying that he was lucky, because she was "about to mess him up" if security wasn't literally standing next to him. Her kid was on her hip the entire time.


I think what bothers me most is every time customers complain about the prices and tell me I am committing "highway robbery." For one, I don't set the prices. Also, you do NOT have to buy popcorn and a soda. It's your choice. Stop complaining.


"I need twelve tickets." "Ok, which movie?" "Uhhh.... [insert Hollywood blockbuster]."

After transaction is complete.

"You didn't give me the children's discount for seven of these tickets, also I'm military and my mom's a senior and I only wanted nine tickets."


Not a theater employee but saw this older woman the other day when I went to the movies. She spent 5 minutes at the counter in front of me, griping angrily about how the food and drinks didn't get a senior discount. 

They give her a ticket and food and she starts walking away. Her friend, another elderly woman who was browsing the snack stand 10ft away, walks up to the cashier and completely cuts the line and orders her ticket and food. This woman ALSO gripes loudly about how expensive it is and how there is no senior discount. Finally she goes off and I get my stuff and I go into the packed theater to find that the only seat left is right behind them. So the movie starts and they spent the entire movie talking to each other out loud with their commentary on every scene, what they liked, didn't like, and so on. Mostly they didn't like it.


Dear Customer,

Picking up trash isn't fun when you could have thrown it away yourself, but spelling out "HEY" in popcorn on the floor is just rubbing it in.


This was almost a daily occurrence for me:

Customer: "Excuse me, the movie in theater 5 hasn't started yet."

Me: "Well what time is it supposed to start?"

Customer: "6:00."

Me: "And what time is it now?"

Customer: "5:54."

Me: (Just stare at the customer, deadpan.)


On a lighter note, there was one lady who forgot what movie she was going to see. After we figured out it was one of the Twilights, she informed me, "I've been calling it Sexy Vampires all day."


I loved the time that I spent working in a movie theater, but I rarely miss some of the customers. Like people who brought in food hidden in bags, then left the trash. More specifically people who brought in chicken wings and then left the bones on the floor under the seat. 


Former movie theater box officer manager here... One thing I really hated was when customers accused us of overselling tickets because there were no seats left. 

No, we don't oversell. Our computer tells us how many seats are left per auditorium and we halt ticket sales for a showing when it sells at 90%... so quite the opposite. Sorry you don't want to sit in the front or not sit with your date. Get there earlier.


Former movie theater employee Here:

My favorite was kids who made it obvious they were gonna try to sneak into an R-rated movie. When I asked them for an ID, which I do for any younger-looking customer who wants to see an R-rated movie, they'd say something to the effect of: I left it elsewhere... and then they would yell at me like it was my fault they couldn't get in.


The worst thing I've seen a customer do was commit armed robbery. 

The movie theater I worked at was in a pretty rough neighborhood.


We have this super obnoxious customer who always comes alone and sees multiple movies in a single visit. Every time he finishes his bag of popcorn, his tosses it on the counter for me to refill, makes zero eye contact, and says "butter."

Get your own butter, jerk.


My theater is 21 and up only (we serve alcohol and corporate policy allows no exception for easier compliance with the liquor laws) and the amount of entitled angry parents that think they can get an exception to this is amazing. Yes your child is an infant and we assume you won't give them alcohol. They are still under 21 and aren't allowed into the theater. Beyond the alcohol reason, a lot of people come to our theaters to get away from kids because they know how restrictive our policy is, so exceptions are not something we are interested in. Also, we have physical signs in and out of our building as well as alerts online about our policy. ALSO, there is literally an all-ages theater in the same building that families and underage customers can go to instead. 

The worst customer situation was on Mother's Day the first year I worked there. We had two families come in each with an obviously underage person. The 1st one was a mom, dad, and teenage son. They had pre-purchased tickets but told them that we would have to refund them since their son was underaged. The mom started yelling at me about it then moved on to the manager when he came up. They kept trying to beg for an exception, since it was mother's day, then demanded a higher up manager to yell at when they were refused. 

Meanwhile another guest came up to the ticket desk, a middle-aged woman, followed shortly by a young girl around 10-11 years old. After asking a few questions about the theater, the mom tried to buy tickets for her and her daughter. Now the 1st family is still up there now yelling at the GM, so yet again I had to tell someone that they couldn't come in due to the age restriction. This woman exploded!! She started slamming her fists on the desk and screaming that we were discriminating against her because she was a single mother, that we were ruining her mother's day, that she was going to tell her story to all the news outlets/Oprah/Ellen and have us closed down for disrespecting her. 

The bright side to this was that the 1st family took one look at this irrational woman and calmly took their refund without further argument. The other woman stood in our lobby for 30 mins yelling at all 3 of our on-duty managers until they could get her escorted out of the building.


I can't tell you the worst but i can tell you the best!

"Enjoy the movie!" "Thanks, you too."

Never gets old. It's even better when the customer acknowledges their mistake and gets all awkward.


I'm a manager at a theatre, and one of my biggest pet peeves is people who do not listen to me when I am explaining things. 

It's particularly bad when I am watching the podium or working the box office. It is an exercise in patience when I ask people if it is okay that a movie is in 3D, flash the 3D glasses in their face, have them agree, and upon completion of the sale, they will hold the 3D glasses, give me a dumbfounded look and tell me they did not want a 3D movie.


Yes, people complaining about prices can be obnoxious. Managers like me get to deal with this on a higher level. I have had people request a manager only to tell me something along the lines of me being a bad person and a conman for putting prices so high. They think that because I wear a suit, that I run the whole shebang. I can't just override the entire corporation's pricing!


As a manager, I will do as little as I possibly can to help unnecessarily angry people. I understand that if something bad happens, people aren't going to be chipper and smiling, but there is absolutely no need to yell and cuss and be toxic. 

I will completely bust my behind and break notable company rules to make you 110% happy if you are calm and respectful, but if you treat me poorly, I will see to it that you get the shortest straw I can possibly give you without it coming back to haunt me.


When people get personally offended that we are upselling/suggestive selling. IT'S OUR JOB. We literally get suspended if a secret shopper catches us NOT doing that. Is it a crappy job? Yes. Would we rather go about like robots and not get suspended? Yes.

One time, this lady comes up and is like: "Large."

Me: "A large what?"

Her: "DRINK."

Me: "... What would you like to drink?"

Her: sigh "A COKE. LIGHT ICE!"

I'm thinking, ok, she's gonna be rude no matter what. I'm not going to suggest a bigger size, she might kill me. "Here's your drink."

Her: "Popcorn."

Seriously, people. A customer who uses complete sentences is a good customer indeed. I am a person, not a vending machine. "What size?"

Her: "Ugh, larrrrrrge!"

Me: "Okayyy, any butter flavoring on that?"

Her: "NO."

So I get her stuff. Out of habit, I say "Alrighty, any nachos or M&Ms with that?"

She loses it. "NO. If I wanted anything else, I would have said, hey, THIS. IS. WHAT. I. WANT."


Her: "Yes. That's how that works."

I swipe her card: "Straws and napkins are at the condiment stand, thank you!"


I was a manager for 14 years. I was once in the bathroom (didn't have my name tag on) and one of the high school employees came in to clean it. 

This elderly woman turns to her granddaughter and says "see honey, this is why you have to go to college." Like how do you not realize that 95% of the staff are high school students saving money and college students trying to pay off their tuition costs. And jeez, who cares even if they are adults. It's a fun job!


I will never get over people who argue with me about what my theater is showing. My theater does not get every movie as we split with another theater. People will YELL at me and tell me that OUR website is lying. Every time I look at their phone if they have it on there, they either have that other theater's website (who is a part of a different company + has a completely different name) open or some strange website that is the kind of thing you find like 30 pages into a Google search.


At my theater, we had a military and a senior discount (no student discount though). It's inconvenient when you say you're military AFTER you purchase your ticket. It's also irritating when you get offended if I ask you if you'd like the senior discount. I realize you spent thousands on Botox, but it's clear you're at least 70.


A lot of people have told me they don't get why, as an employee, I get angry at people fornicating in the theater. There are several reasons. Let's look at a few.

1. It makes people's jobs more difficult. The managers are the ones that usually have to deal with it since floor staff don't know how to deal with it properly. Theaters are run on a tight schedule, especially if it's busy, so dropping what you need to do to go kick out a couple of horny teens is, you guessed it, annoying. This carries over into the following reasons as well.

2. It's not sanitary. It just isn't. Not for the people having sex, nor the people who have to clean up any mess that may be left behind (yes, this happens more often than you think). Movie theaters can be pretty dirty, and the ushers already have other cruddy responsibilities.

3. It's most likely illegal wherever you live. The cops can be called and you can be charged with indecent exposure, public indecency, etc... Also, going back to reason #1, any time the cops are called, I had to fill out an incident report, which is extremely annoying.

4. It's rude. Now, I'm not saying sex isn't a good thing, but it's just not appropriate in public. I'm sure there's some voyeuristic types out there that would rather watch some couple give their own Oscar-worthy performance than whatever is onscreen, but most people are there to watch their movie in peace. Having to hand out refunds or rain check tickets to upset customers on account of other customers' behavior just sucks.

Yeah, sure there are tons of times that people can get away with it, but it still doesn't make any of the above less true. So how about we all just keep it in the bedroom, eh? Or at least inside your car in the parking lot of the theater.


This was the most infuriating customer I've ever had. She got into a disagreement with our ticket taker who has special needs. I intervened to talk with them and got their complaint sorted. 

After we've resolved this issue, this old lady says that I "shouldn't let the [offensive slur] talk to customers" fully within earshot of the employee in question, who could totally understand what she was saying and how it was offensive. 

Needless to say this woman was shown to the door, screeching and cursing the whole way out, demanding a refund (which I refused flatly), insisting that they speak with the manager (me) and that they'd call corporate (for once they were on my side).


I work at a discount theatre. I ask (in my head) the following questions weekly, if not multiple times a day:

If it's soooo expensive, why are you handing me your credit card?

Do you really think I will mistake the outline of a 2 liter bottle of soda in your jacket for a beer belly?

If you're in such a hurry to see your movie that started a half an hour ago, why didn't you get your wallet out while you were standing in line?

I also frequently have to make the following 'Apologies':

I'm sorry you drove an hour to see a movie 20 min late on a Friday night and it's sold out.

I'm sorry I gave you a coke when you asked for a coke but you were thinking Dr. Pepper in your mind and you only realized this after you drank 44oz.

I'm sorry that you didn't read the sign and walked into the wrong theater and missed the first part of your movie. Really, the number 5 on the door wasn't very clear and the sign that reads, "Neighbors" and has a picture of Seth Rogan really does look like a blue bird and could easily be mistaken for reading, "Rio 2."


I had a customer who was pretty rude throughout the transaction. He pays with cash and when I hold out his change for him to take it, he looks me in the eyes for 10 seconds while my hand was in the air. He finally puts his hand out and I put the money in his hand, only he doesn't grasp it at all, and it falls on the counter. I say "Oops, my bad" and pick it up and put it back in his hand. Once again he doesn't grasp it, he just looks me dead in the eyes with his hand completely flat while his money falls on the counter again. I was just like "Alrighty then" and walked away.


Good story of my days in a theater:

A large group of kids from a summer camp come in to see the latest blockbuster. Businesses love this. 30+ kids come in with pockets full of cash and each one buys a large popcorn, large soda, and a ton of candy. Money Money y'all.

Ushers, however, hate it. Because they are messy and never clean up.

Except this time.. one of the kids forgot their purse, so the chaperone comes in after the theater just empties to try and find it for her. She sees the horrific mess the kids left. So she apologizes profusely, goes back and pulls every single kid off the bus and made them come in and clean it up.

I tried to tell her it was no big deal, that's what we pay the usher to do. But she insisted.


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