My batch-mates and I decided to catch Interstellar in Dehradun on the 14th of November. One of the things I hate about Roorkee is the absence of a good multiplex nearby. The nearest theater is Wave Cinemas in Bahadrabad, but that only screens Bollywood flicks. To satiate our appetite for the occasional Hollywood movies, we have to indulge ourselves in a 2 hour bus journey to Doon! So, here we are, a merry group of 7 friends, excited about the prospects of some Nolan powered intellectual orgasms! But, we got a little more than we bargained for. Little did I know, that 12 hours after we started off from Roorkee, I would be writing this angry email to BookMyShow, the contents of which I am reproducing in this blog post.
I had booked 7 tickets for Interstellar, 4:50 PM show on the 14th November (Booking ID : GLDD0000647080) at Glitz Cinemas, The City Junction Mall, Dehradun. I received an email as well as a S.M.S. confirmation for the same. We reached the venue (Glitz cinemas) to collect our tickets from the box office with sufficient time to spare (like the punctual and responsible people we are), only to realize that we were handed printed tickets to the movie “Kill Dill”. We immediately pointed out the mistake to the guys at the ticket counter and they cross-referenced, double checked, triple checked our Booking IDs and then called in the manager who cross referenced, double checked and triple checked our bookings again. All this while, we were waiting patiently for the correct set of tickets to be handed over to us. The manager then proceeded to inform us, to our utter dismay, that Glitz was not screening Interstellar at all. Naturally, we were heartbroken (talk of “Kill Dill”, huh)! After each of us had passed through the seven stages of grief, we ruled out watching Kill Dill. I think you would agree that it would be utter blasphemy to replace Nolan with Aditya Chopra. No sir, not in this, or any of the parallel universes can this happen. Thankfully, the manager was co-operative and promptly returned the money for the 7 tickets (Rs. 1680/-) in cash and we were on our way.
FYI, we are residents of Roorkee which is more than 70 kms from Dehradun, a 2 hour bus journey on a road which is not really meant for F1 races, if you know what I mean. We wanted to see a movie on time travel, not spend the entirety of our time on travel. I have immense respect for you guys, but when such incidents happen with names like BookMyShow, it sort of makes you lose faith in the sanctity and authenticity of online transactions! I request to arrange for the reimbursement of the “Internet Handling Fees” amounting to Rs. 196.63/- when clearly all the “handling” of the predicament bestowed upon us by the “Internet” was done by us and the travel expenses amounting to Rs. 1120/-. #RefundMyShow
Hoping to hear from you guys very soon!
Things did not sort themselves out after this though. There wasn’t any response form their side for about more than a week, after which I had to fire another angry email. But this time, they were prompt with their replies and within the next few days, I had received the reimbursement! What surprised me though was that such an incident could happen with someone like BookMyShow. This was not the first time that online transactions had deceived us and left us in an uncomfortable situation. About a year back, 4 of my friends had planned a trip to Shimla and we had made our hotel reservations through an online portal named Travelguru. Upon reaching our destination, we found, to our utter dismay that the hotel authorities failed to identify any association of theirs with Travelguru. Thankfully, mid-January was not the busiest time of the year for tourists in Shimla and we were able to find rooms in the same hotel. But, it did involve a lot of convincing, reprimanding, threatening – all of which left a bad taste in our mouths.
These two separate incidents have one very subtle implicit similarity between them. Both of them involve a broken connection between people and technology. Although Dehradun cannot be considered as rural or even semi-urban, but from my limited experiences with Glitz cinemas, the majority of the audience that it caters to still finds solace in the traditional and orthodox stand-in-a-queue-and-book tickets method. While the situation in Shimla on the technology front was even more dire. The hotel manager, at one point of time made his discontentment and qualms with online booking pretty evident by saying that the soft-copy of a PDF file does not count as a reservation. The metropolitan cities might have stood witnesses to the widespread infiltration of the world wide web and technology into all spheres of life, but when it comes to the slightly less urbanized cities (mind you, we do not need to go down to villages, as is clear from my examples), we still have a long way to go!
Google’s Project Loon and Zuckerberg’s noble initiative of bringing internet to the villages are all commendable, but what really is required is training. Training of those people who would be directly or indirectly affected by this advent of internet. We would be able to reap the fruits of benefit only when we are successfully able to alleviate man’s deep distrust for the unknown.