I have not heard back from them yet.
To Whom It May Concern,
I love BAM Rose Cinemas. I have been a member for a number of years and have regularly attended movies at your fine theater since you opened in 1998. However, I am seriously contemplating letting my prized membership expire at the end of August for a variety of reasons.
Rigidity of Staff/ Policy:
There have been numerous occasions where I have been made to feel like my patronage is not respected. Some are small matters, some are larger but I believe that all add up to an air of not understanding how to make customers happy.
1. Last year, I sent my check in to renew my membership in plenty of time. My membership card did not show up. Eventually, my old one expired but I didn’t think that would be a problem. I went to see a movie and was told that I had to pay full price. I explained that I had sent in my money and that I had been a member for a few years and couldn’t I be given a member price. I was told no. I asked to see the manager and was again told no. I was steamed. Is this the way members are treated at BAM? To be fair, I called to complain and received two comp passes to another screening but the point had been made to me how people will be treated at your theater.
2. This past week, I attended the wonderful Buster Keaton screening. I bought tickets in advance for four friends and me. Two of my friends were running a little late. I knew that the screening was going to be crowded and I wanted to go in at about 6:30 to save seats for my friends. I asked if I could leave my friends’ tickets at the box office and was told that that was against BAM policy. In the few moments it took to be told that BAM will not do anything to help its patrons, she could have taken the tickets and my friend’s name. I understand that this could be a slippery slope but how often would this kind of thing even occur?
3. I have been going to movies at your theater since 1998 but almost every single time I go, I am asked for my ID. This isn’t that big of a deal but it adds to the lack of trust and friendliness at your theater. I have been a member at Film Forum since 1997 and also have had memberships at MOMA and Walter Reade over the years and I have not been asked for my ID once at any of those establishments. Is it really such a rampant problem of your members going out of their way to pass around a membership card that this policy is needed? What if a person did not have their ID on them? Is it BAM policy to deny members admission in a case like that? At Film Forum, the ticket sellers have consistently proven to be mellow and able to adapt to situations that might arise. In general, at BAM, there seems to be a chilling effect stemming from rigid policy.
4. Your movies consistently start early. Often, the previews start close to ten minutes before the starting time and the movie itself starts a few minutes early. I have been to many showings where older patrons have stumbled in the dark looking for their seats because it is so dark one minute before the screening time was supposed to start. I respect your theater’s wishes to start a movie on time (or early) but you are the only theater I’ve ever been to that does this. I go to many movies at your theater so I now know to arrive early. If this is your official policy, maybe you should post an announcement in your print ads, on your website, and in the lobby that states it rather than simply doing it in this passive-aggressive manner.
BAM – Always a Guessing Game
It is very difficult to figure out what films are going to come to BAM. I understand that it isn’t your fault that films usually open in Manhattan. However, this doesn’t explain why you consistently show previews and put up posters for films that never come. As a member, I would rather save some money by seeing the film at BAM rather than when it opens in Manhattan but you make it extremely difficult. There have been countless times where you have put up a poster or shown a preview leading me to believe that a film is coming and then it doesn’t. What happened to Murderball? Why were you still showing previews for A Very Long Engagement weeks after I had already seen it at Cobble Hill? Why do you still have a huge ad for Hustle and Flow displayed when you clearly aren’t going to show the film? It opened at Court St. so I find it hard to believe that you couldn’t get it.
I understand that if a film doesn’t do well at the box office in Manhattan, you are inclined not to get it. However, many of these films I wanted to see and foolishly waited for them to come to BAM because I had been led to believe they were coming.
I will say though that things have gotten slightly better in the last year. I appreciate that you do state when a movie is going to close and at least let the public know a few days ahead of time if a film is going to open.
Price of Tickets/ Membership
The final straw for me is the raising of your ticket prices for members. A three-dollar savings? I have attended a little over twenty films at your theater in the past year. If I do that in the next year, I will break even or save six dollars. What is the impetus for me to stay a member when I can still go to your events for the exact same amount of money? As a bonus, I can go see movies in Manhattan for only fifty – seventy five cents more at Sunshine, IFC, Angelika, or Lincoln Plaza when they first come out and not have to guess if a movie is coming to BAM or be misled by your false advertising at the theater. Not to mention, many of your films also come to Cobble Hill. I’m not going to pretend that Cobble Hill theaters are anywhere as nice as yours but their matinee prices and their Tuesday/ Thursday prices are $1.50 cheaper than your member prices.
But the most ridiculous aspect of your membership prices is that it costs $60 for an individual and $120 for two. My wife had an individual membership and has let it expire. If we were to join as couple, would she have to come with me to be able to go to the movie? If so, would she be out of luck if she wanted to come without me? I’m not sure but everything about your rigid policies indicates that this would be the case. What would be the reason to even buy a dual membership since there is absolutely no benefit to it?
Compare this to Film Forum (5 dollar savings per ticket) where an individual membership is $65 and a dual one is $95. Or to Walter Reade (4 dollar savings) where an individual membership is $65 and a dual one is $85 and you get a year subscription to Film Comment.
Again, I understand that the economics are different for those two theaters than for yours. But if you are going to charge Manhattan prices and then have senseless membership pricing, you are going to lose more members like me. I already know of two other friends who have either let their memberships expire or plan on doing so.
I would love to hear your thoughts on these matters.