The free ticket and efficiency story

Imagine my surprise when I received an email earlier this week from a Nouméa cinema: “Congratulations, you’ve won a ticket to the movies!  A few weeks ago, indeed, during a week celebrating 100 years of a local movie theatre, I had sent a text on a whim to win a ticket. And a few weeks later, I receive this lovely email telling me how to recuperate my free ticket:

To recuperate your ticket, you’ll need to present yourself at Cinécity, from Tuesday, 9 October.

Once you’ve arrived at Cinécity, cross the hall and take the elevator to the second floor.

Once at the second floor, proceed to the door situated on your left and knock.

Helene Singer will welcome you to give you your free ticket to the movies.

Here are the times you can collect your movie ticket:

– From Tuesday to Thursday, between 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm

– And Friday from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm.

I love New Caledonia. I just love it. I’ve mentioned before that we’re in a bit of a time warp here, and this lovely email is another delicious example.

I don’t suppose the movie theatre could have mailed, faxed or emailed me a voucher/ticket? Or provided me with a code that I could use at the ticket counter to obtain a free ticket. No, those options would have been perhaps too costly or complicated.

On the other hand, I imagine that most working people can take a little time off and go to the local movie theatre to pick up a ticket. In the middle of a weekday afternoon, of course.

I do appreciate the fine attention to detail in the instructions, however. I like that I know exactly which door to go to, how to get to it, and that it would be good, of course, to knock. I appreciate having the name of the person to ask for (something one never has in France!) and the exact hours I can see her.

I do wonder, though, what the logic is behind having people stop by the theatre to collect their free tickets … Do they need to see us, shake our hands, encourage us to come back? In theory, we will be coming back. So is it a chance for the theatre to speak with the winners? Does organising things in this way give someone an extra job?

That said, last week, I finally solved the mystery of why so many people do things face to face in Nouméa. Partly, it must of course be the culture, and the way things are done here. But also, I learned that mail takes takes not 1 day, but 3-4 days to be received in Nouméa (when sent from within Nouméa, which I remind you is a city of 100 000 people or so). Thus, the need for people to pay bills in person, present signed documents in person and ask questions in person.

Perhaps this is why the movie theatre can’t use the post and needs to see us in person …

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