Monday, July 12, 2004

I don't even know what to call this guy.

I'll back up.

I often end up seeing movies at the Metreon here in San Francisco. The worst part of seeing movies there is the concession stand. The food choice, especially in the always important chocolate food group, is limited, the lines are long, and the prices are, of course, stupidly high. Service there is usually uninspired. There's this one employee, however, that is unstoppably cheerful and relentlessly efficient. If there's six customers in his line, and two customers in some other employee's line, I'm choosing this guy's line. He's that good. His line is always faster.

His persona, however, is unexpected. He greets customers with a booming, "WELCOME TO LOEW'S THEATERS! HOW MAY I HELP YOU TODAY?!" He says this with surprising enthusiasm and sincerity. It's a bit off-putting, especially since as you stand in line, you hear him say this over and over, to each customer. It's worth it though, for his speedy and efficient service. I'm a sucker for efficiency.

Theories vary on why this man is the way he is. Some say each one of his sales is a brilliant performance, a mini corporate satire, if you will, while others insist that he's just a bit off. I'm beyond caring. As far as I'm concerned, he's God's gift to popcorn dispensing.

Now, they've changed this guy's job. Amazingly, the management at this theater has found the perfect task for this guy. I don't know if they created this position for him, or if it was simply perfect luck. Now, his job is to go into the actual movie theater and hawk his concessions there. A lesser man would be intimidated by this task. Other weaker and less confident men would be embarrassed by the spectacle of it all. They would skulk into the theater, head hanging low, and meekly wait for the customer interactions to end. Not our hero.

Our hero proudly fills his cart with every treat available at the Metreon. He then proudly marches through the lobby, loudly singing "Over the Rainbow." I don't know why he chooses this song, but he sings it every time. Perhaps the rainbow signifies the many colors of his delicious skittles, or perhaps it's meant to convey the escapism of a good trip to the movies. Or, maybe he really just is a bit off. Anyway, he arrives at the bottom of the movie theater and then gives a booming, enthusiastic, and surprisingly lengthy speech, carefully detailing all of his sugary, salty, and sour treats. Inexplicably, he seems to relish each sale.

I don't know his name. I don't know if he's mocking me. I don't know why he sings "Over the Rainbow". But I love him. Thank you, enthusiastic Metreon concession guy. May others have more luck googling you than I did.

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