Five Star Movie, One Star Employee Experience

Robert Drost shares his summer work experience at the NCG Cinema, located in the Hudson Valley Mall

Robert Drost eats on his former job’s famous snack: classic movie popcorn.

I’m a student here at SUNY New Paltz, and like a lot of other people that go here, I have to take out loans. Whatever else is left, I’m on my own. That was where NCG Cinema came in, where I would typically work around 35 to 40 hours a week, depending on which movies were coming out. 

I would usually go in around 4 p.m., and sometimes wouldn’t get out until as late as 2 a.m. The job itself may have had a boring description, but I had my fair share of really weird moments. On my second day of working there, I had a kid, probably around 13 or 14, come up and try to rob me. At that moment I had no idea what was going on, but thankfully I was able to keep my cool. They had probably seen that I was helping other customers out and tried to catch me off guard. They held their hoodie up to cover up their face and held a phone like a pistol and told me to give them the money from the cash register. Once I saw they didn’t actually have a weapon I told them to leave, which they eventually did. 

To my surprise, NCG just let the kid run off. I actually saw who I believed to be the kid multiple times after the incident, just walking in and out freely. We’d have the same groups of kids coming in Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and they’d be kicked out Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but only after they had been in the establishment long enough to disturb other people in several different theaters. Multiple employees kicked the kid out time and again because they were intruding the theaters without tickets again. NCG had no long term solution for our problem with him, or really any problem we had with customers. 

It wasn’t just disruption in the theaters either—other times it would be straight up vandalism. There were dividers between urinals in the men’s bathroom, they would be ripped out of the wall very frequently. Doors were ripped off of the stalls. It was definitely a big problem. 

From an employee standpoint it became quite an issue for my coworkers and I to kick people out so frequently. I could never get a read on certain customers, and what their intentions were other than being disruptive. So, the unpredictability was always nerve-racking. 

After dealing with all of that for sometime and only getting paid minimum wage, the final breaking point was mainly the management there. I didn’t realize how poorly I was treated—how if you were not a manager, you were just another cog in the machine. It didn’t matter. Just do your job. If you don’t listen, you get punished. 

At least I learned how to clean throw up. Just throw sand on it and wait for it to dry out.

I quit NCG shortly after I became very sick. I had called management saying that I could not make it in for my shift and said I would inform them if I could return for my next shift. Shortly after, I was informed by the general manager that I was suspended for a “no call, no show,” because I did not inform them I was not coming.

To me, it just showed time and time again that big corporations, even the ones as understaffed as NCG, do not care about their lower class workers. My advice to anyone who is thinking about working for one—don’t. Support a local business instead. At least I learned how to clean throw up. Just throw sand on it and wait for it to dry out.

Aiden North

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