Loose Articles: How Strict Should Parks Be?

DantheCoasterman's avatar

Oh, I'm the first to admit it was a dumb move on my part for leaving my phone...but that doesn't make the policy any less stupid.


-Daniel

LostKause's avatar

My opinion is that it was the park's fault that your iPhone was stolen, and you should have complained, and they should have compensated you for you loss of property. The person who took it could have even been the guy who told you that you couldn't take it on the ride.

You should have been more assertive. You are a customer. You had a plan as to where to safely store your iPhone. Because you frequent CoasterBuzz, there is a possibility that you know more about this subject than even a ride operator.


DantheCoasterman's avatar

I filed a report at the security office. I don't really know what else I could've done without raising a fuss that would've gotten me nowhere. I'm sure I looked like a maniac running around the Gotham City area frantically searching for the thief, and I tried to track my phone to no success. Regardless, no employee or guest was going to admit they stole my iPhone, even if I asked them point-blank.

My overall experience with the staff, clientele, and operations at SFOT was just horrible. At the season pass processing center, employees would complain when they saw a group of people coming. At nearly every coaster, operators were complaining about how tired and hung over they were. Everywhere you looked, people were line jumping like it was the popular thing to do. But at the tip top of this very, very tall pyramid of atrocity was an event that occurred near closing on my second night at the park. I'll try to make it short.

At about 9:45pm, my dad and I got in a fairly short line for New Texas Giant with two girls right behind us. The "line holder" (don't know what else to call her...she held the line at the base of the stairway so the station didn't become overcrowded) came up to the two girls and said, "Ya'll are gonna be the last ones. I'm gettin outta here early tonight." She then left to go close the gate to the line, but as soon as she turned around, a group of 10-15 people came into sight behind us. The girl returned about 5 minutes later and was absolutely flabbergasted to see that the line had grown. She came over to the group of people and began to accuse them of "opening the gate" (which they clearly did not do...as the four of us even tried to explain to her). After bickering unprofessionally with the group for a few minutes, she told them, "Y'all stay right here, Imma call security! Imma call security!"

My dad and I continued up into the station and all was calm for a few minutes. Then suddenly, the girl came running up into the station (which was now full of people, since she hadn't been doing her job for quite a while), turning every couple steps to yell "F**k you! F**k you!" to the group down below. She then yelled to a ride op in the back of the station, "Jacob, Jacob! You better get down here cuz I'm about to punch this b*tch in the face!" So Jacob, who had been one of only two ops in the station, left to "help" with the situation...leaving hundreds of people standing in the station and 24 people stranded on a train that couldn't be dispatched.

Eventually, security handled the situation by siding with the group of 10-15 people and letting them ride. Jacob came back, and operations finally resumed. When it came my time to ride, Jacob came by to check my lapbar and I asked him for the girl's name who seemed to be having so much trouble earlier. He told me in a threatening tone, "Don't worry about it," and then pushed down on my restraint with as much force as he possibly could. When I got off the (still amazing) ride, I was able to discover the name of the girl from another employee, and needless to say, I went straight to guest relations and shared my experience. The woman there told me not to worry, I wouldn't be seeing either of those two around anymore.

Okay, so I know that wasn't short, but still. At least getting my phone stolen did cause me to go to Security and meet one of the few quality employees at Six Flags Over Texas. Her name is Melissa Hill and she deserves a cookie.


-Daniel

I really like the variety of opinions, so I will share my own from experience. Each ride is different, so varying policies is ok within a park as long as the policy for each ride is consistently enforced.

Funny story about loose articles that got my thoughts rolling to start this topic. At Ravine Flyer II I was training an employee on checking restraints, and going over the loose article policy as we went through checking the restraints together. Another operator caught the bag before we got to that section of the train, and kindly informed the lady she that her bag must be placed in the bag drop area. She did the usual grumbling, and just as I extended my hand to take the bag and place it in the bin about 6 feet directly across from her seat, she snapped. She went all out baseball pitcher, wound up, and fastballed her bag across the platform slamming into the bag drop making a devastating thud. It was loud enough to catch the attention of everyone in the station and silence them. As the train left the station, I couldn't help it as myself, the other operators, and the rest of the guests in the station burst out laughing. I'm pretty certain something was smashed to pieces in that bag.

Vater's avatar

LostKause said:

Because you frequent CoasterBuzz, there is a possibility that you know more about this subject than even a ride operator.

Yes, and more importantly, let the ride operators know this if you want to be taken seriously. And if you can't hear over the ensuing laughter, make sure to show them your CoasterBuzz Club card to really drive the point home. That'll learn 'em.

DantheCoasterman said:
I'm sure I looked like a maniac running around the Gotham City area frantically searching for the thief


Perhaps you should have called Batman.


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

But on a serious note, your experience sounds like nothing I could ever fathom happening at a park! I mean, damn!! Really a shame that people like that are even HIRED. Who would employ someone like that?! Maybe she was on the bath salts.


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

LostKause's avatar

Vater said:

LostKause said:

Because you frequent CoasterBuzz, there is a possibility that you know more about this subject than even a ride operator.

Yes, and more importantly, let the ride operators know this if you want to be taken seriously. And if you can't hear over the ensuing laughter, make sure to show them your CoasterBuzz Club card to really drive the point home. That'll learn 'em.

It's funny that I knew it may sound that way to some people, but I kept it in there anyways...

A ride operator can be completely ride-trained in a day or two, and maybe they will work for a park for a season or two (or a month or two). Some ride operators don't give a crap about roller coasters, and just see it as an easy-to-get summer job. On the other hand, there are some ride operators who do it for a lifetime and are passionate about coasters.

A lot of regulars on CoasterBuzz read roller coaster and amusement park related news stories every day, and discuss them with other CoasterBuzz people. My point is that some of us possibly know more about the industry than some teenaged kid who got the ride operators job because he wants some spending money and wants to pick up chicks.

Maybe I am being to harsh about the typical ride operator?

Last edited by LostKause,
sws's avatar

LostKause said:

Maybe I am being to harsh about the typical ride operator?

Or more likely, you're being too generous about the typical CoasterBuzz reader. ;)

Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:

You should have been more assertive. You are a customer.

Ugh. This is exactly what's wrong with the world today.

The customer is not always right and way too many of them think they are.

On the flip side, the minimum wage employee that shows an ounce of care for their job seems to be an extinct breed. And I can't necessarily blame them. Long gone is the time when you wanted to do well and impress in even the worst of situations in hopes of moving up or advancing in some way. Face it, the chick working the drive-thru at McDonald's or the kid checking coaster restraints or the Wal-Mart checkout dude - none of them give a crap. There's no reason to. It's not like you're going to have a lucrative career in fast food or theme park operations or discount merchandise sales. It's a sad thing to say and it goes against everything I truly believe, but there's little to no incentive in those jobs anymore. The people dealing directly with customers often have the least invested in the customer experience these days. The system is broken.

With all of that said, obviously you need to let the park know and file a report or whatever stupid procedure they do to make it look like there's a chance you'll ever see your phone again.

And as a final thought, don't all of those bins at every park everywhere say something to the effect of "not responsible for lost or stolen items"?


LostKause's avatar

Gonch, I agree that the customer isn't always right, and I agree that that is a huge problem (from experience), but when the customer knows that he or she is right, they have the ability to speak up and say so.

I would never just go along with a ride operator telling me that I can't put my loose article(s) in a zippered pocket before riding a coaster. What if a ride operator told you that they had to hold on to your wallet while you ride a coaster? Are you going to hand over the wallet? Not me. I might find a few hundred dollar bills missing when I get back.

And if I was not allowed to ride because I don't comply, I would go to customer service and tell them that I waited an hour in line and was not allowed to ride and why. If it is a real rule, everyone should be alerted about the rule before getting in line so that they can figure out where the lockers are.

You might be right, sws. When I began hanging around CoasterBuzz a decade ago, I thought that I could easily participate because I worked at Cedar Point for two seasons, and I was working at Universal Studios at the time. Over the years, I have discovered that the reason I can easily participate now is because of experience with using the website itself; reading the everyday news and discussions.

Last edited by LostKause,

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