Cinema employee accidentally leaves expletive-ridden voicemail to delight of internet

The local mayor had to alert the New Zealand cinema of the problem

Joanna Whitehead
Friday 03 September 2021 15:36 BST
The frustrated employee made repeated efforts to record the voice message
The frustrated employee made repeated efforts to record the voice message (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


A New Zealand cinema employee’s repeated expletive-riddled attempts to record a voicemail message alerting customers of its temporary closure have gone viral.

The unknown staff member of Movie Max Cinemas in the South Island city of Timaru made multiple attempts to record a temporary closure voicemail message for callers, but instead succeeded in recording a colourful message expressing his frustrations with the technology.

Callers to the cinema were initially greeted with the words: “Hello and thank you for calling Movie Max Digital Cinemas Timaru. We are currently closed until” - before the employee descends into a tirade of profanities - “Ah, f*ck you”.

After three attempts and numerous expletives, he finally gets it right – but the unsuspecting caller is confronted with his failed efforts and colourful language for almost an entire minute.

A clip of the recording, which was shared on Twitter to widespread delight with the heading, “Movie Max in Timaru New Zealand is having A DAY”, later provided an update claiming that local mayor Nigel Bowen had to call the cinema owner to let them know about the administrative error.

Thankfully, he took the incident in good humour, saying: “At the moment we need a bit of lighthearted relief. Everyone is a bit cooped up with the current lockdown, so people are enjoying having a bit of a laugh.”

One Twitter user described the employee as a “legend”, stating that he deserved a pay rise, while another said he couldn’t forsee being in the region in the next 10 years but, if he was, he would definitely visit the cinema - “and phone ahead to hear what the voicemail has to say about opening hours, too”.

Another user on the social media platform even went as far as emailing the cinema, imploring the manager not to fire the employee for his error, saying, “literally every single person screws up at work sometimes”, adding that it had brought “a lovely bit of very human humour to my day”.

New Zealand is currently in a level three lockdown, with bars and restaurants closed “for the foreseeable future”.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday: “The important thing is we are starting to see some positive trends in the numbers … the rolling day average of cases is declining … we are seeing fewer cases that are infectious in the community.”

Around 85 per cent of New Zealanders are reported to support the approach, according to local polling.

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