Friday, June 13, 2014

Guests Behaving Badly

Most Six Flags guests behave. A few complain. They take issue with the prizes, the rules or the foul line. As best we try to head off disagreements, some people are born disagreeable. Usually I can kick disputes up to a foreperson or even a supervisor. But even if we're in the right on the rules, the guest will often prevail out of the need for good PR. More than a few Games workers catch onto this and bring it up at a staff meeting.

"We know," a supervisor says. "But now that Time Warner owns us, they're really stressing guest service."

"So let's just get rid of the foul lines," I remark. "Because obviously they don't mean anything."

The foul lines stay. But we can't call a foul on a the problem guests unless they get flagged for unnecessary roughness.

One night around closing time, a stand worker in Britannia is giving a refund to a guest who had run into a machine malfunction. Another man walks over and snatches the money. Naturally that starts a ruckus. The second man gives back the money, but then a third man runs over, shouting "That's my money!" Fists fly into a three-man battle royale.

Soon the area is crawling with Security officers. They're still there a half-hour later when I go back to close up and count my till. An Eureka, Missouri police officer steps in takes a statement from the girl running the stand. It doesn't look like anybody is seriously hurt. At least I don't see any blood.

Sometimes fights break out at the basketball tosses. People make side bets on whether they'll hit a three-pointer from half-court or beyond. Some people try to shoplift, forgetting they're in a controlled area that can be closed down. It's like trying to rob a casino.

When the video arcades fill up, we send up the most irascible personality types to police the crowds -- which mostly means keeping girls and boys from hanging over each other and breaking up shoving matches. I once ask why everybody else seems to be working an arcade shift. A forewoman tells me it's because they need nasty, mean and tough people... and I'm not any of those. I don't know whether to be insulted or flattered.

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