When Zambia got 3D movies it was the coolest thing since the escalators. For those of us who grew up in Zambia, barefoot dusty kids that only owned one pair of shoes because you just couldn’t get much, where ice cream was a treat beyond wonder and where chocolate was something the exotic relatives brought occasionally, the movies are just super cool.
Myself and three friends decided on a Tuesday to watch a movie at Manda Hill. For the 4 of us to sit together we opted for the expensive VIP seats. Once in the movie after the usual chaos at the popcorn counter we entered a very full movie theatre. There were two girls sitting in out seats and I asked politely if they could move. The one retorted that we should sit anywhere. I explained that we didn’t mind sitting somewhere else but the four of us would like to sit together so they would need to move. As it was obvious that the girls were not going to move asked the usher for assistance. He came and all chaos broke out as we were not the only ones that had had their seats commandeered. I for one was not going to watch a movie I had paid the higher priced tickets going to sit in the front rows to get neck strain. It turns out the guy at the counter had said everyone was free to sit where they liked. I promptly walked out. It was mentioned to one of the managers that they better get in there as it was getting pretty bad in there, to which the answer was
‘ I’m not in there as the manager’ promptly walked off. The movie was stopped and everyone told to go to the seats they had been assigned.
We reentered and of course the ladies had not moved. At this point I was a little annoyed and asked her to please move. She said no that we could sit somewhere else as she somehow managed to skulk further into her seat. I said that since she has not paid for the more expensive seats she shouldn’t be sitting there to which she replied ‘ how can you come here with this attitude’ doing a perfect queen letifa head roll’ ‘ it doesn’t matter that you paid K10 extra, you people can go sit somewhere else. ‘
In a final bid to watch the movie as we were now stranded with no seats and popcorn my friend reentered to plead our case to which he got ” its people like you…… ” To which he got a very angry retort.
This whole incident made me feel very sad.
I love Zambia and mostly I love the Zambian people who have taught me as a first generation Zambian the great virtue of the zambian people, that when you are hot and frustrated waiting for hours in a queue for your tax disc, or your passport form, or stuck in traffic that there is a patience in them so stoic and a friendliness so enduring. Everyone is willing to help you find where to go even if they’ve already been in the line 2 hours. So its gravely disappointing when you go for a movie that you get treated with so much disrespect.
So we ended up having to leave as by this stage we were totally frustrated. Its fine if there is free seating if you don’t charge us more and make us the one to have to sit in the terrible neck stretching seats at the front. Of course we were told we could come back for our free movie (though we had already paid and had to stipulate a time to return). Management promised us free popcorn but sadly we had also already paid. It is policy not to allowed to be given our money back. So we left our popcorn to the rats I guess and walked away and the ladies got to enjoy their movie in the seats they even hadn’t paid for. Management telling us the one who told everyone there was free seating would be fired. But of course that’s not helpful to us, people make mistakes for sure and we understand that, it was busier then expected as movie ticket prices had been reduced, but we still expect to get what we paid for. And what is management for if they can not iron out these sort of incidences. Will I ever go back. Would you?
In retrospect ,it was probably a good thing that we didn’t watch it because then we would have to deal with the modern trend of bad manners in Lusaka movie goers ; the answering the phone during movies, the talking, the mother who has brought a three month old baby to the late show and the distraction of little lit up squares of light of the instant messengers in front of you. What exactly are these phone addicts needing to tell their friends anyway, or is it facebook update ‘ the middle of this movie is just so cool ‘ ‘ no the end is even better dude’
It saddens me that there seems to have been a massive loss of respect for ones fellow neighbour, that with the modernization of Zambia the culture of its people is disappearing. I am more appreciative now that it was a cardboard box I got to play with, that I ran around barefoot and there were no 3D movies and no malls. If that makes me terribly old fashioned then that’s fine with me, I won’t be going back to Fresh view cinema.
Author chose to withhold his name