Dear Vue...

Hi, how are you?

Its been a little while (five weeks) since I saw you, but you are my local cinema and therefore frequently in my thoughts. Hope the kids are OK.

On Wednesday I sent your friendly social media team a tweet asking about your 'card handling charge'.

I was slightly hungover (whiskey, ugh!) and somewhat lacking in patience that morning, so I must apologise for the apparently frivolous nature of it. I didn't mean to be frivolous. I meant to be serious.

Luckily, whoever was on the twitter account that day took it as it was intended and actually sent me a reply, which was nice.

But here's where the problems start, you see, because I'm not sure I'm entirely on board with that answer.

Now, I know what you'll say. You'll say that you offer a variety of competitively priced tickets, and that you are the best value out-of-home entertainment experience, just as you did when the BBC asked you why you charge £4.70 for a small box of sweet popcorn back in 2011 (has it gone up since?), and I can't help but agree with you there.

My two tickets to see Gangster Squad tonight cost £16.30 (not including 'card handling charge') and, really, that's not that bad. Your seats are comfy, your sound system is excellent and your ushers are pretty good. I don't buy the popcorn. Mainly because I'm not an idiot.

The thing is, I'm also not a complete idiot when it comes to online data security and I happen to know that, despite the vital nature of ensuring my credit card details do not reach Bob in Nigeria who wants to give me the $2 million my Aunt Maude left me, the cost of keeping website transactions safe isn't actually that high.

For instance, using new-fangled things like the Internet, which I'm not sure you entirely understand the concept of, means I can see that obtaining a super-secure SSL certificate for your website is somewhere in the region of £199.99 per year.

Now, I'm sure that your site is more complicated and costs a little more than that to run and maintain and make safe. I'm hopeful you keep my details in a SQL database, which some boffin keeps neat and tidy and locked and not under his desk in an open plan office in Chiswick (its not, is it?). I'm also very confident that his password isn't '1234' and that he never takes it out on a USB pen, because that never happens.

But we're rather deviating from the obvious point here Vue, which is of course that I shouldn't have to pay for the privilege of giving you money safely and securely.

I mean, I give Amazon money frequently (and I can't believe I'm holding them up as a bastion of good practice). They never ask me to pay them to make sure the money ends up in their bank account.

I paid my friend some money I owed him yesterday. I sent it online via my bank's internet service. They don't charge me for that, nor did they charge me for the transaction. Do you know what that means? You're worse than the bankers.

You want my money. You want it off my card, via the Internet. You want it in your bank account. You do not want to get sued by a super-efficient lawyer. It is your responsibility to ensure online transactions are safe.

I'm sure you will agree with the above, now that it has been put in this light, but if you do not (please do not), I have some suggestions, as follows;

  1. Change 'card handling charge' to read 'screwing you over charge'. No one likes dishonesty.
  2. Add several more line items to my next ticket purchase. For instance; are you sitting in a chair? I imagine that cost money and is probably necessary in order for you to do your job and therefore run your website and therefore take money off me safely. Is the man/woman next to you sitting in a chair? Repeat as many times as necessary.
  3. Provide a personal bodyguard for every customer paying at the till (charge for this, obviously). It's only fair that other methods of putting money in your bank are treated with the same level of safe thinking, and of course that the consumer should pay for them.
  4. Knock off the fee but raise popcorn prices. Because no one will notice that. And I don't buy popcorn. Because I'm not an idiot.

Yours, with a slightly quivering lip, temper that is admittedly slowly subsiding and a wallet still wondering why exactly it is £1.50 lighter and when it will be getting it back,

Sam Turner, Editor.

P.S. I was tempted to contact you before publishing this in order to get your response but I suspected that may have resulted in a £1.50 charge, so decided not to. Please feel free to e-mail me though. At which point you will incur a £1.50 processing fee.


  1. Well said Sam. I hate these fees. Vue used to be my local but I've moved and it's now Cineworld. No fees!!!

    1. Are you picking up one of their annual cards John? Think that's the route I'd go but alas, no Cineworld near me! Have seen bits about your move popping up on my feed reader from your blog - hope it's going well!