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Dear Cinemark

Christopher L. Jorgensen
P.O. Box 93042
Des Moines, IA 50393


February 12, 2009


Cinemark
900 Dallas Parkway, Suite 500
Plano, Texas, 75093


Dear Cinemark,

Recently I went to see “Sherlock Holmes” in Ames, Iowa, and I have to question if I’ll be returning!

I don’t want to sound like some old guy who tells stories about a time when a Snickers was a nickel, but have you checked out your concession prices lately? Amazing! What year are you people from? Yes, year, because by my calculations, with the current rate of inflation, a popcorn and a pop shouldn’t cost the consumer $10.00 until approximately 2025.

Seriously, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has gotten to the point where I refuse to be extorted just because I am a captive audience. From now on I am smuggling in all my snacks, and unless you can give me a compelling reason why I can buy the same products for $1.50 at the gas station across the street I will encourage others to do so as well. I might even write my Congressman or create a website calling for a snack food boycott!

I figure what are you going to do? Have me arrested? Kicked out? I won’t go quietly! And I don’t see you doing this anyway, since then you’ll get nothing from me! Not even the money for the overpriced ticket.


Sincerely,


Christopher L. Jorgensen

Sponsor:

Reply:

Cinemark
The Best Seat in Town

Cinemark Movies 12 #264
1317 Buckeye Avenue
Ames, Iowa 50010
Phone: (515) 232-5066
Fax: (515) 232-5112


Christopher L. Jorgensen
P.O. Box 93042
Des Moines, IA 50393

March 12th, 2010,


Dear Mr. Jorgensen,

I’m sorry that you feel our concession prices are out of line. When compared to other local theaters, our prices are comparable, if not less. We currently have value combos available. A large drink and large popcorn is $10.50, but when compared to the Carmike Cobblestone or Wynsong theatre, it is $12.35. Granted, this would only cost about $9.50 at the Boone theatre, however they don’t always have newly released movies and the selection is not as wide as ours. We have also added $2.00 candies to our line up for more cost saving options.

We do try to offer the best values on our ticket prices. Every day we have Early Bird pricing available. If you come to the first showing of a feature, it is only $4.75. We also have matinee pricing before 6:00pm where all tickets are only $5.25 for everyone. We have Bargain day every Tuesday where all tickets are only $5.00 all day and night. If you are a senior, we have Senior pricing every day at $5.25 except on Monday where all tickets would be $4.75. If this is still to costly, we do have the Cinemark North Grand 5 in town. They do not show new releases, but if you are willing to wait a few weeks, ticket prices range from $1.00-$2.00.

As you can see we have many money saving options available for you to take advantage of.

Sincerely,

[signed but redacted]

General Manager

 

Cinemark website: www.cinemark.com

Scan of the letter from Cinemark

Commentary:

I find it a bit odd that I wrote the corporate offices, but got a local response. I honestly can’t tell if this is great customer service or a sad passing of the $10.50. I’ve redacted the manager’s name because I am sure she is not the one that sets the prices and she was never the target of my ire. I also once worked at this theater, so it would be a bit weird.

I am not going to heap too much abuse on this response. It would be too easy to do. I will point out a few things though. First, I hate it when someone tells me she is sorry about how I feel. But that aside, let me point out that the “local” theaters used in the examples are 30 or 40 miles away. That’s a long way to go to save a buck. Also, I wasn’t taking this theater in particular to task, but rather the industry as a whole. I despise being a captive audience and only having a choice to buy or not. The fact that all theaters are overcharging for concessions isn’t an excuse. I’ve been watching more and more movies, but going to them less and less over the years. I see this personal trend continuing. I’m probably just old and crotchety.

There are tons of arguments for and against high concession prices. A profit has to be made somewhere, the food subsidizes the tickets, it’s the whole experience you’re paying for, etc.. None of these arguments put my ass in a chair.

That this reply isn’t corporate marketing boilerplate is pleasantly surprising though.

By Christopher L. Jorgensen

Website: http://jackassletters.com

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Christopher L. Jorgensen
PO Box 546
Ames, IA 50010

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