A couple of weeks ago I decided to investigate the Magic Mike hype with some friends on a Friday after work. As my experience with cinemas and their hearing systems has been universally poor, I rang up Event Cinemas in Mt Gravatt to check if they had one. After ten minutes of listening to an automated recording of film times, with no option for talking to someone or asking questions, I got aggravated instead. I found the number for Event Cinemas in the White Pages, called and explained that I was deaf and wanted to ask about the hearing system at Mt Gravatt, and could I please speak to a human being. The woman at the other end took my number and said someone would call me. A few hours later, a lady from Mt Gravatt called. I asked about hearing systems and she assured me that all Event cinemas had them. I asked if she might be able to test it before the movie, as often they didn’t work.
‘The move is in Cinema 5 and the hearing system will be working,’ she replied. With that assurance, I hung up.
After work I met my friends at the cinema and, at the ticket desk, handed over my licence in exchange for a set of headphones, in which the ticket lady had put fresh batteries. The headphones looked a little clapped out, but I figured they would still do the trick.
Lo and behold, we went into Cinema 5, the previews came on, and the headphones didn’t work. When I turned the switch on, there was no change in the volume. Entirely unsurprised, I went out and found some floor staff. They didn’t know anything about the hearing system, but located a supervisor. The supervisor tried out the headphones in Cinema 5 and agreed that yes, they weren’t working. He came in another two times with other headphones and they didn’t work either.
‘Can you hear any difference?’ I asked him, just to be sure it wasn’t me.
‘No,’ he said.
Finally, after all this to-ing and fro-ing, which disrupted the other patrons in the cinema and upset my friends, who couldn’t enjoy the movie because I couldn’t, the supervisor gave my licence back to me and told me to come to the desk for a refund when the movie ended.
I managed to get about 50% of the dialogue, and at the end, when I went to see the lady at the ticket desk about a refund, she assured me that I hadn’t missed much. She was a nice girl, but I would have preferred to have heard the whole movie and made that decision myself. I had actually liked what I’d seen and heard (and not just because of the robust male actors), and enjoyed watching the characters’ trajectories. To me it didn’t really matter that there was no plot, because for me there was enough suspense in seeing what decisions they would make.
The supervisor came back downstairs and gave me a postcard that I could exchange for a ticket at any Event cinemas, but frankly, I'm so disheartened by their conduct and complete disregard for their disabled patrons that I’m just going to give it to someone who can hear, as this is evidently the only section of the population that Event Cinemas cater for. To their credit, the floor staff tried their best, but this didn’t make up for the incompetence and dismissive attitude of the woman who assured me the system would be working.
What a waste of effort, especially when I could have been at home happily reading a novel instead.