The title may have caught your attention. It would have caught mine.
Some days ago, I decided to unwind with my family by viewing the movie, London Has Fallen. As I’ve just returned from England, I’m still trying to adjust to the reality of spending a number of days … still struggling to accept the three-headed monster of power, fuel scarcity and the oppressive heat … still wondering whether things will get better or worse when the rainy season draws in. Ozone layer, please be kind …
I had viewed the trailer for London Has Fallen and I felt very drawn to it. The movie stars Morgan Freeman, Gerard Butler and Angela Bassett. If you are still considering seeing it, I warn you – your brain needs the adrenaline this movie churns. So, when the day I’d picked to view the movie with my siblings, we happily set off for the Genesis Cinema in Lekki.
About 75 minutes into the movie, the power in the viewing room – Screen 4 – shut down completely. Darkness enveloped us, as the screen went blank and the lights went off. A chorus of complaints – Naija! Ohmigod, Oh No, How na, How is this possible – flooded the atmosphere, as people began to wonder if we had unwittingly become characters in the movie. However, this was happening in Lagos, not London.
I was not only confused but also dismayed, as it was my very first experience having the power go out, while watching a movie at the cinema. By now you’re probably saying, “Almighty NEPA (or is it PHCN?) had struck!” Their new name takes some getting used to, especially as I haven’t felt any remarkable difference, as a result of name change.
For 10 minutes, we sat in pitch blackness. Eventually, the lights behind us came on. But during our wait, not even one member of staff bothered to address us. That was when I said to my sister, who also was perturbed by the situation, “Lagos has fallen.” I kept wondering what the real problem was – just a technical hitch? PHCN issues? Inefficiency of the operators? Yet, I held onto a measure of hope that the situation would eventually be resolved and we would be able to resume watching the movie.
If you guessed that the situation didn’t change, your guess is right: the movie never came on. After we had waited for 15minutes, we were suddenly remembered by a member of staff, who instructed us to move to the next Screen, if we wanted to continue with the movie; they told us that they were having challenges with Screen 4. I had no choice, but to move with everyone else; after all, we had all paid to watch the movie.
While I took a seat in the next Screen, I wondered why the ladies (there were two female members of staff) did not bother to utter any apology. Didn’t we deserve one? Or were we to blame for the technical hitch or PHCN interference? Couldn’t help thinking that if this were to have occurred in London, even for two minutes, there would have been a series of apologies – along with efforts to resolve the situation, as soon as possible. I appreciate that there is no comparison between Lagos and London, but certain things are common sense (and courtesy).
The experience left a sour taste in my mouth. I didn’t feel respected as customer, enough to return to the viewing centre; not because the incident happened, but there was no assurance that the same situation or even worse, would not repeat. There was no assurance of timely resolution. The appalling lack of customer service, baffled me.
But did I have a choice?
“Oh girl, just manage. Na Naija” a friend advised, when I related my experience to her.
If you’re itching to know how it went after we all got seated, I’ll save you a commentary of the drama of the operation team cuing the movie to the very spot it had previously stopped. But there is some good news: we watched the movie to the end. The movie made me simmer down, fairly quickly. But I still have to ask, “Has Lagos not fallen entirely, or is it just in regards to our cinema venues?”
Oghogho Osayimwen is a Communications and PR Consultant with X-Factor Communications. She prides herself on being able to collaborate with clients to provide them with out-of-the-box public relations consultancy services, and she can be reached via Facebook.