Assigned seating hurts the overall movie experience

BY: JOANNA SNYDER

The easy days of walking into a movie theater and choosing the perfect seat are over. All moviegoers are now expected to choose their own seats while purchasing their tickets, in person or online.

When this new idea came to be, I was not sure how to feel about it. However, I now can say I am not in support of this method. I believe it’s unnecessary and should stop being practiced across all movie theaters.

I don’t understand why assigned seating was implemented in the process of going to the movie theater. Technically, I know this was done to increase sales, make seat selection easier, and make more room in theaters, but there are obvious flaws that need to be worked out.

The one thing that makes me hate the assigned seating is the other people attending movies. There are always annoying people that choose to sit next to you or people who are on their phones the whole time. For example, a woman a few months ago sat directly in front of me with her phone brightness on full blast, making it hard to focus on the movie.

I get that people will always go to the movie theaters, and that it’s a part of life, but when the movie theater is packed, there is no place to move to get out of sight of these pesky movie watchers.

A few months ago I went to the movies with my family, and much to our surprise, we had to split up since all seats were taken by people who ordered online. This method of ordering online makes assigned seating even worse, because you have to show up very early to get a good seat that has not already been taken by someone pre-ordering.

Instead of showing up at the movie theater, getting tickets, popcorn, and a drink, it has now turned out to be an event that needs to be planned days or even weeks in advance in order to secure a spot.

According to a Chicago Tribune article by Darcel Rockett, assigned seating at movie theaters causes a lot more harm than good. She says that going to a movie has turned out to be an event that is planned days ahead when it used to be more spontaneous.

She compares movies now to going to see a Broadway show. As stated before, this was done to make it “easier” on moviegoers, but overall it has done nothing but make movie trips take more time than necessary to plan.

Another big pain of assigned seating at the theater is the mix-up in seats. A few months ago, I found my seat fine and had no trouble. However, just as the movie began to start, a group of older women came in and were sporadically looking for their seats. After a few minutes, it came to their attention that another family was sitting in their seats.

How horrendous! They then marched up to the family, demanding their seats. Turns out, the family was a day early to the showing. I believe this could have been prevented if the family did not get their seats ahead of time online, since it causes a boatload of confusion.

According to the article in Insider titled “Reserved Seating at Movie Theaters is a Terrible Idea,” seats always get messed up among moviegoers, and it is extremely awkward to ask someone to switch seats.

It is also stated that there are no ushers in the theaters, so it’s harder to resolve issues. There are ushers that come into the movie theaters while the movie is playing, but I think there should be a few more during the seating process to help clear up any mistakes and discrepancies.

On the news site “Thriller,” which focuses on movies, entertainment, and traveling, Jordan Hoffman says, “you shouldn’t have to look for numbers on the aisle to find a certain row and seat number to see a movie.”

People should be able to plop in like a regular person, not like someone who has their entire life planned out. I agree that it creates more of a production when going to the movies; when it should really be a carefree experience.

Another drawback that assigned seating causes is confusion when picking out seats. From my experience, comparing the seat map to how the rows appear in real life is confusing, even with the provided labels.

I notice every time I go to the theater, there is always some older person that is having trouble differentiating the back from the front rows and understanding which side of the theater they will be sitting on. I believe this added technology makes it harder to pick seats easily.

Lastly, assigned seating makes a bigger dent in one’s pocket than normal. In order to get the “perfect” seat, you need to reserve seats online before stepping into the theater. More seats tend to cost more when online purchased online.

Let’s face it, tickets already cost a hefty amount without the additional food and drinks, so having to pay extra fees just to reserve a seat seems excessive and no better than just going to the theater earlier like the rest of us.

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