A quick lesson on how to irritate & confuse website customers

It’s a rainy Sunday and I wanted to go to the cinema with my children.
We’d found a film and a cinema – the new Tim Burton film in Titania, here in Berlin.
And because the film had just been released, we’d decided to book our tickets in advance.
There really shouldn’t be anything easier that that these days.
Or so I thought.

We agreed on the seats we wanted and I hit the button “book now”.

The top half of my laptop screen was taken up by a summary of what I’d like to buy (film name, number of tickets, seat numbers etc.). The rest of the screen was filled with the section to log-in.
Hmmm… I couldn’t log-in because I’d never registered at that cinema site.
But I’m stumped for only a brief moment… I scrolled down the page and found a section to register as a new user.

Hmmm, I thought… I really just wanted to buy tickets online with my credit card.

So I scrolled further and found a button inviting me to check-out as a guest.
That’s my button, I thought and hit it.

The thing is though; I landed on a page with an almost complete registration form… only the password field was missing. All other fields (name, address, country, eMail etc.) were obligatory. There were no other options to continue.
That just confused me, which in turn irritated me.

So I was forced to submit details that I didn’t want to provide. This was (and probably still is) an example of collecting needless but valuable data, presumably, to sell on to dubious business associates.

All in all, the cinema website owners and their dubious associates are guilty of untrustworthy, scumbag behavior and should be avoided where possible.

The truth is, only my card details should be necessary to check out as a guest. And should my postal address be necessary to verify the card payment, then that should be given as a reason why the address is needed.

To make matters worse, I didn’t receive a confirmation eMail.

I was expecting to get something to print and take along to the cinema or, alternatively, something on my phone which I could show at the cinema, which would have the added benefit of saving a tree or two.

But nothing arrived… even though I hit “refresh” several times in my eMail client.

That, in turn, confirmed that the cinema collected data for no reason – they didn’t need my eMail since they didn’t send any eMails out.

EDIT: I did receive an eMail somewhat later and before leaving for the cinema. It remains a poor performance none-the-less by their eMail provider.

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