Angry New Yorker

Monday, April 07, 2003
Older entries - April 19, 2001
Dude! Where's my car??
April 17, 2001

National Amusements, Inc.
Dedham, MA 02026-9126

Re: Shoddy customer relations at College Point, Whitestone NYC theatre

Dear National Amusements,

Although it stopped playing at other movie houses in the U.S. some time ago, "Dude, where’s my car?" is apparently enjoying nightly performances at your College Point Multiplex Cinema in Whitestone, Queens, New York if our recent experience there on the night of Friday, April 13, 2001 is any indication.

After paying $8.75 each for three tickets (see attached) to the 10:10pm showing of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", we left the theatre to spot a tow truck from All Boro Collision Inc. latching onto our car at 12:10 a.m. not more than 100 feet from the theatre’s front entrance.

Once the initial shock of transitioning from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Tow Truck" wore off we simply could not believe our eyes. We believed our car to be parked properly, and nearby warning signs were located so high on the posts as to very difficult to read – especially for anyone rushing to catch a movie. Further, the fact that the theatre’s lot is constantly patrolled by a guard in a SEB Security car lulled us into a false sense of security, and mislead us into believing that your security personnel is on hand to safeguard us and our cars – not to target them for towing contractors.

Indeed, had the three of us (myself, my fiancé and her sister) not been able to scrape together $108 in cash on the spot to pay the ransom (see attached receipt from All Boro Collision), our car would have been scuttled away leaving us in essentially the middle of nowhere sans transportation (your College Point theatre is located in a rather desolate industrial area).

After All Boro unhooked our car, two of us returned to the theatre to complain to the manager. Not only was this a complete waste of effort, as his attitude was not apologetic in the least, but it was painfully apparent to us that he could have cared less about our plight, or the ongoing nightly towing operation –this is hardly surprising given that National Amusements receives a portion of the proceeds from the towing contract given to All Boro Collision, as the truck operators confirmed while they were preparing to tow away several other cars.

In conclusion, for a business like yours that relies on people from surrounding areas, I can’t imagine a more stupid business practice or a worse public relations move than to be continuously towing the cars of paying patrons. Or rather, make that former patrons, as I have no intention of ever spending any money at your theatres, other operations or affiliates again, and I will do all I can to inform, educate and alert others in the New York city area to the shady towing practices taking place at one of your establishments.


Richard Santalesa

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