BCC has recently unilaterally imposed seat allocations for all movie goers at its cinemas including Garden City, the Myer Centre, Chermside and Indooroopilly.
In the past, you could walk into the cinema and pick your own seats based on the theatre layout, distance from the screen, how tall the people were in front of you and whether or not you wanted to be surrounded by young and restless children.Not any more.
It all seemed to work very well until the marketing gurus at BCC decided that they were smarter than the Australian public and that people must be told where they had to sit.
That might work in a crowded cinema but how can it be justified in a cinema less than half full?
This is exactly what happened to me and my two sons a fortnight ago at the Chermside edifice of Birch Carroll and Coyle.
John Paul aged 8 and James who is 6 fronted up to watch the Bee Movie and we were politely informed that we would be given specific seat allocations.
When I queried this, I was told that it was "world's best practice" by the dizzy young blonde behind the cash register.
"You can pick your own seating," she said.
"That's what I want to do," I responded.
"No - here on the screen. Pick your own seats."
"OK. Give me these three on the side about half way up," I suggested because my boys wouldn't have anyone in front of them and we wouldn't have anyone behind us kicking the seats and generally annoying us for an hour and a half.
I asked if she would keep the seats free around us for that very purpose.
"Of course," the sweet, young thing from BCC nodded with mock approval because 10 minutes later we were in our seats with a group of wriggling kids immediately behind us and tall moviegoers in front of us - which forced my kids to sway from side to side for the whole movie trying to get a a glimpse of part of the screen.
We had been mislead - if not lied to - by the staff of Birch Carroll and Coyle!
The cinema was less than a third full and whereas previously we could have chosen our own seats, we were now forced to sit in unacceptable, pre-allocated seats like regular inmates in a German concentration camp.
And now Michelle Vecchio reveals the height of her marketing prowess when she declares that forced seating allocations at BCC cinemas are no different from attending a QPAC concert or a major sports stadium.
I'm surprised she didn't throw airline seating in as well.
Michelle - there is no comparison!
When you go to your favourite coffee shop and there are plenty of spare tables, you would be unhappy if the staff told you where to sit, irrespective of your own wishes.
In my 50 years of movie going since I first enjoyed the canvas seats at the El Dorado cinema at Indooroopilly in 1957, I have never seen fist fights or punch-ups over self-selection seating arrangements.
What has changed so dramatically to force this new situation on patrons?
Ah! World's Best Practice. World's Best Bloody Practice!
As if we should all bow down and exalt: "World's Best Practice is good for me and good for Australia".
I am in full agreement with the woman in The Courier-Mail who described BCC's new arrangements as "stupid" and vowing never to return after they "has all been lumped together towards the back of the theatre, all in neat little rows on top of each other".
She went on to say: "So long BCC, it's been nice, but don't expect the people in my group to return until this stupidity is removed and people can make their own decisions as to where they want to sit".
Michelle - come down out of your ivory projection room - and talk to the people who are really angry at this new company policy which you are defending so passionately.
It used to be great in a Birch Carroll and Coyle cinema to flop into the first available seat.
Now, the only flop is the company's new seating policy.
And moviegoers in southeast Queensland who object to the new arrangements should boycott BCC and save a stack at the same time by patronising the Cinexplex Cinemas at Southbank, Balmoral, Hawthorne and Victoria Point where adults pay $6, students $5 and children $4 to attend daytime screenings Monday to Friday and just a little more at other times.
And where the popcorn, drinks and ice creams are half the price of that charged by Birch Carroll and Coyle!
It is all reminiscent of 2 years ago when the Birch Carroll and Coyle / Greater Union chain placed a ban on patrons bringing their own food and drinks into their theatres.
The only reason that the patrons were doing it was because of the crackerjack, ripoff prices which they were - and still are - being charged.
The people of Australia voted with their feet and this company - which seems to be perpetually full of out-of-touch marketing experts - was forced to back down.
Click here for a flashback to this disgraceful action by this money-hungry conglomerate.
Will they ever learn?
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