Tales from an ex cinema employee: turning away the underage teen

Hello again! Today is a return to the tales of an ex cinema employee series. You. Are. Welcome. We have gone through the world of people getting intimate in a cinema screen and a brief dip into the world of food in a cinema. This time I will tell you about turning people away from seeing a film.

What’s your date of birth?

Let’s set the scene… It is a Friday night and a horror film has just been released, it is rated 15 (15A for Southern Irish readers or R for North American) In the UK this means that NO ONE under 15 can watch the film in the cinema, no excuses. So you try to remember what year it is and go back 15 years in your head as you know for a fact that you are going to ask someone their date of birth to test them… So for example today. No one after 8th August 2003 can watch that specific film. You prepare yourself to disappoint a few teenagers and families as bad news is coming their way.

You see them from a distance, a group of 8 teenagers huddled together slowly moving in, a little unsure of how to approach the ticket/concession desk. Then, you see the confident one, the brave soul who will walk up and ask for a ticket. They approach and confidently say “Can I have a ticket to (insert film here). You smile at them and then politely ask what age they are. A confident “15” is returned to you. You ask for their date of birth and then their confidence falters. The eyes look up and to the side, so you know they are really thinking it through. You already know they are lying, but like a good predator, you await the response, ready to pounce for the kill.

“7th August 2004” Your eyes open wide, you have them, but you can’t be mean to the youngster you have to let them down slowly. You tell them you are sorry and that, the date they have given means they are 14 and thus are too young to watch the film. They try to fight back with a few excuses. “Oh I got it wrong, please believe me, why would I bring ID?” They try hard but the battle is over, they have lost and you remain tall and victorious.

Who is that one at the back?

Another example is when someone purchases a few tickets for the group or are collecting the tickets that a parent bought online. The group either approach the counter enmass or splinter with some in the foyer standing. You count the tickets before giving them out, you count the group… But there is a ticket too many, then you see a small head weaving around or sitting in the middle. Ah, someone is being kept hidden. You make them come together and then you see the smallest group member. Obviously a younger sibling. You deny them, they throw a huff, you try not to laugh.

This isn’t just done with groups of teenagers though. More often than not it is a family who are trying to smuggle their underage child in as they are obviously just that bit too young. They hide around the back with one parent and when they get their tickets checked before going into the screen, they tuck behind a parent. Stopping a parent is never fun as you know you are going to get some grief from them…

I give my child permission to see the film with me/without me

That is all well and good dear parent, but we are not in Ireland or North America. This isn’t a 12A. So take a look at our programme and pick a film with a suitable age certificate for your child. Or ya know, try and sneak into a place that allows you to do that. You are not getting past on my watch! Oh, and saying I have ruined your night or week does not affect me, please try that line somewhere else. Also, trying to bring your toddler or baby into a 15 rated film will not work either. They still count as a person and people who attend 15 or 18 rated films do not want or expect a child to be there, especially with the relaxation of what constitutes a 15 and an 18. Take your pram to a different film!

I have a feeling I could do another few on this topic, so let’s leave it there for today! Have you ever been turned away from a film due to your age? What tactics did you use to get it? Let me know your stories below!

If you want to chat more about any of my posts, please follow me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook to also receive updates. Until next time, thanks for reading and I hope to see you again soon!

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