Attack of the time thieves

(The continuing saga of “little things that shouldn’t annoy me, but do”)

I went to the cinema the other night (Stranger Than Fiction, since you ask. Yes, it was great. That Will Ferrell can really act! Who’d have thought it?) and, like the good little consumer I am, turned up just in time for the 9pm showing. After being gouged by the ticket price and gouged again at the sweet counter, I wandered in to see the film. I spent the next 30 minutes watching adverts, many of which were for the cinema chain itself. The time thieves strike again.

It wouldn’t be so bad if films weren’t too bloody long and cinema seats weren’t too bloody uncomfortable already, but they are. Is 30 minutes of advertising normal? And if it is, why don’t the cinema chains get someone to kick you in the arse and give you a Chinese Burn every ten minutes just to reinforce the message that they really bloody hate you?

The time thieves are everywhere. They tell you that at gigs, the doors open at 4.30pm (but they don’t tell you that there won’t be a single note before seven). They disable the menu and fast forward buttons on your – purchased! – DVDs to force you to watch ads for films you’ll never see, or to tell you not to pirate DVDs – something that baffles me, because it makes the experience of watching legally bought movies so much more unpleasant than downloading them from bittorrent. And worst of all, they expect you to watch 30 minutes of adverts in a dark room as you lose all feeling in your buttocks.

I sometimes wonder if we’re all taking part in a giant sociological experiment where we, the innocent guinea pigs, are studied to see just how badly we can be treated while still happily paying for the privilege.