So i take the kids to the Saturday morning flicks to see Coraline, a brilliant animation that is one of those few films that comes out each decade which works for a 6 year old daughters and 39 year old dads in the same theatre. Bloke Jr (aged 4) considered it mostly boring. We left Mrs Bloke at home to have her legs done or something.
So I’m in the queue looking like a divorcee (why whenever I take my kids to a museum or cinema sans mother do I look like a single parent on their every other weekend access outing) and go and buy the tickets from the counter.
And it costs £26 for three tickets.
I say to the girl: ‘eh? are you sure, i mean don’t little people get discounts and stuff?’ pointing to the little people who are staring longingly at the vast vat of popcorn next to the ticket office.
‘that includes the discount.’ says the girl, deadpan, used to the look of defeat in parents eyes. Little people are looking up at me all excitedly. I can hardly go home and download the thing can I? Besides, the cinema is all about theatre. Sitting there in my dim lit study crouched round my monitor aint gonna cut the mustard. Besides, Coraline is in 3D and I’ve spent the car journey trying to explain 3D and failing. They want to know what all this 3D malarkey is about. I hand over the switch card to the 17 year old mugger.
But that’s not the end of the mugging because parked next to the ticket booth is the sweets, popcorn, hot dog and general bad-for-you-shit stand. No broccoli here. You have to then go to the chronically slow serving confectionery counter where they seem oblivious to my urgency given the film starts in 3 minutes. We’ve been through the torturous episode of choosing sweets for the pick and mix bags. A bag each because sharing doesn’t happen between 4 and 6 year olds. They have different ideas on life. And they know their rights. They want to fill the bag with stuff that is designed to choke children in the dark. Large gobstopper type things, huge pet sized sculptures made of jelly that is engineered to clog an epiglottis of a rhino. I’m trying to get them to eat small chocolate things that won’t require calling 999 on my mobile mid film. I pick up a lemonade for them and a small bottle of Coke for me. We queue again. This time it’s £12.00.
I say to the youth: ‘are you sure mate, i mean you haven’t accidentally charged me for, say, all the sweets purchased this morning? I mean is your till faulty?’
‘No, that’s right, do you want to put them back?’ says the deadpan lad serving on the bad-for-you-shit counter, knowing there is no chance of me putting them back. I figure they’ve been trained to deal with parents suffering from fiscal injustice. A 5 step process:
Sigh [belittle them]
keep your voice deadpan [don’t get them angry]
avoid eye contact [be like a machine]
give them an option to back out [which they won’t]
take the money/card
Add £3 for the parking and misc £5 that you have to spend every time you leave the house with two kids and you’re in the hole for £ 46 for a morning at the flicks. That’s without Pizza Hut.
And then a thought occurred to me. The common factor amongst all these money grabbing MP’s is they have kids. It may not be cynical thievery or opportunism ,but actually a necessity to raise cash for their family. They’ve been away all week in Parliament trying to make the world a better place and when they get back home, to their second home (or third or first home depending on how you look at it), they feel they should do something with the kids.
Mummy, mummy, lets go to the cinema?
Ok darlings, but let me think how i can claim for a new flat screen telly and some bath plugs to fund it.