Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Scheduling 101 - I get an F.

On Monday, I bought two tickets for C & I to go see the Hunger Gamezzz movie on Saturday.
On Tuesday, I checked my calendar for Saturday. 
You can probably see where this is going.

In all my excitement over the movie coming out this weekend, I committed a fatal error in entertainment – failure to check for previously scheduled events. And what did I do? Purchased movie tickets for smack-dab in the middle of when C & I are supposed to be out to dinner celebrating a good friend’s birthday. OOPS.

Bah. Therefore, my mission yesterday was to figure out if I could correct this error. While I figured this would not be easy, I didn’t think it would be very hard… I can't possibly be the first person who's ever done this, right? Plenty of people buy movie tickets for times when they can't attend movies, right? RIGHT? Yeah well. Live & learn!

I purchased the tickets from Fandango, so I went to their website for assistance. After searching all over the site, I finally found the link for contacting the company. Went there, and found a list of FAQs. Found the one regarding “refunds/exchanges.” Learned that Fandango can’t refund or exchange because all the tickets are related to the actual theater you purchased them for, but if you call their customer service line, they’ll help you figure out how to do whatever you need to in order to remedy the situation. OK… good. Called the customer service line. Went through the automated options, the second of which is “if you are calling regarding a refund or exchange for tickets you’ve purchased, please press ‘2’.” Pressed. And then I was launched straight into hold music. Very, very bad hold music. Where I stayed for 18 minutes before a recording finally came on and said, “All representatives are busy; please hold and your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.” Seriously?! 18 minutes in is when you feel it’s necessary to share that with me? Shockingly, I’d already figured that out… and was starting to ponder exactly how many calls Fandango gets. Or perhaps, how many people are sitting there answering calls. And then I started picturing one little old woman with 27 phones surrounding her, ringing off the hook. Because I’m pretty sure that was the only possible scenario for why I could have been on hold for 18 minutes already.

**disclaimer - I was doing work with my phone on speaker, listening to the hold music. I swear I did not just sit at my desk for that long twiddling my thumbs. I can multitask!

Unfortunately, I had to disconnect that call as I had some work to do away from my desk. Sigh. 18 minutes down the drain. That’s fine, I thought, I’ll call back later this afternoon. Surely, I’ll have better luck…

HA. Followed the same procedures a few hours later, and sat on hold for 27 minutes before I finally hung that call up. That’s a total of almost 60 minutes on hold! Are you joking?! Fandango, fail.

While I was on hold the second time, I started researching my options. Eventually, I found a posting that said that essentially, Fandango was going to be useless, and that any calls for refunds or exchanges should be directed straight to the theater the tickets were purchased for. OK… I can do that. I found the phone number of my theater (which is a Regal, in case you’re wondering), and, at the 27 minute mark, hung up on Fandango again.

I was nervous for the next call – I was pretty sure this was going to be even more complicated. I foresaw an angry theater worker judging me for buying movie tickets to a movie I couldn’t attend, and arguing with me because the tickets were purchased from a third party. EEK. I dialed the number… and the phone rang once before Dan answered. Nice, sweet Dan, who only let me get halfway through explaining my issue before telling me it was absolutely no problem to exchange; all I had to do was bring my tickets to the theater when I actually want to see the movie, and they could do the exchange on the spot. He also informed me that while it’s going to be busy, they’re showing the Hunger Games on eight different screens, and have the movie starting every 20 minutes all weekend, so I should be good to go any time I want to see it. He wished me a nice day, and that was that. DONE! No problem at all!

I could not believe how helpful and nice the man at the theater was, and how useless Fandango was. Chalk that up to a win in the Customer Service department for Regal, and a giant failure for Fandango. I will now be seeing the Hunger Games on Friday night, and enjoying a lovely birthday celebration on Saturday night, and all is right with the world. Hooray!

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