Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Film Festival Blues

Ugh...this film festival hasn't worked out very well for me. I've seen four films (Cellar, Quiet as a Mouse, Right Now, and Frozen), and none of them impressed me. Actually, I should tell you I tried to see "Frozen", but the festival switched the venue at the last minute and only told people who were there 15 minutes early. I arrived only 5 minutes early, so I got stuck with a different movie.

You're saying, "Couldn't you tell from the title or content that this was the wrong movie?" I was putting my book away and I missed the title, and to be honest I didn't realize the content was, uh, different, until about ten minutes into the film. When I pick movies I tend to forget what they're about in the interval between reading about them in the catalog and going to see them. Anyway, this was a French film (obviously I don't know the title) about sexual perversion. Now, you'd think that a French film about sexual perversion could not possibly be boring, right? Wrong! It was ninety minutes that seemed like three hours, and I can't tell you how many people left the film early. The movie was dreadful, just dreadful, easily the worst film I have ever seen at the festival.

Being the ornery sucker I am, I phoned the festival office yesterday and asked what the hell happened. They admitted they didn't advertise the change in venue the way they should have, and I was like, "You think?" Those of you who know me know that when I feel I've been burned on a service for which I have paid, I go for the gold. I've gotten free shipping from UPS, free service from Comcast, free charges from FirstUSA, free food from Houlihans (for what it's worth), and once got a $75 credit from Verizon. I do this by taking the issue in my teeth, digging in my heels, and shaking it, dog-like, until my victim screams for mercy. Not literally, of course; in real life this translates to me making phone call after phone call until the organization finally pays me off to get me out of their hair. I contemplated giving the festival the old pit-bull treatment and demanding a refund for the "Frozen" ticket plus another free ticket for my time. I am usually pleased with the festival, however, so I held off.

If I may digress (and it's my blog, so I may), I once got a $100 credit from FirstUSA in a way I found pretty amusing. I wasted the requisite amount of time with the customer service folks, whose job it is not to solve your problem but to put you off, and then I got serious. I found an old marketing letter I'd gotten from FirstUSA, took note of the name of the veep who'd signed it, then got dialing the corporate office. I got a recording that asked me to enter the name of the person I was trying to reach, and of course Veep's didn't register. I put in "Smith", and sure enough I got poor Patty on the phone. Here's the conversation:

Patty: "Accounting, Patty speaking. Can I help you?"
Me: "Oh...hello. (Feigning confusion). My name is [insert name] with MP Industries, and I had a conference call with [veep name] but I think your receptionist misconnected me."
Patty: (Sounding eager to please) "I'm sorry...please hold on and I'll connect you."
Me: "Thank you Patty. May I have the direct dial in case the transfer doesn't go through?"
Patty: "Certainly, sir."

Well, let me tell you that Veep was pretty surprised to hear from me. He was very polite and accommodating, but of course he asked me how on earth I'd gotten through the phone net. I just smiled and said that I thought it was more important to focus on solving the problem instead of talking about the past, and he dropped it.

The lesson of this post is: Lying is good.

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