Liam Rudden: Customer care costs nothing

Theatre seats. Pic: Comp
Theatre seats. Pic: Comp
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IT should be simple. You buy your ticket, turn up at the venue, find your seat, relax and settle down to enjoy the show - someone should explain that to the front of house managers running many of the Capital’s Fringe venues.

Of course, the tee-shirted stewards checking your tickets and escorting you to the converted sports hall/cupboard/toilet* (delete as applicable) in which you will watch the show aren’t real front of house staff at all. Sadly, many seem to have no inter-personal skills or understanding of customer care either.

It’s as if some of the ‘bigger’ venues justify sacrificing a pleasant welcome in order to shave a minute or two off the turn around time between shows.

It may come as a surprise to these venues to discover that audiences know where they want to sit.

Many may have specific reasons for their choice of seat too.

Watching a middle-aged audience being herded into their seats at one of the ‘big four’ recently turned into an entertainment in itself.

As they were forced to take the next available seat by a spotty steward with a God complex, they grumbled and mumbled and, the minute he turned his back, spent the next 10 minutes swapping seats, the more agile clambering over the back of seats, while other just ensured there was a seat between them and their more corpulent neighbour.

By the time they had finished, the show went up late and the audience was scattered throughout the auditorium.

Treating audiences so badly simply highlights the disdain in which some venues now hold their clientèle - the people who pay for their existence. In any other business, they’d go bust. Luckily for them, 12 months from now, Fringe-goes will have forgotten how bad it was, until it happens again.

But surely, it costs nothing to be polite. Does it?