The Grand Search for Wi-Fi

I decided the other day that I would go and see the new Avengers movie. The first film was great fun, and I’d thus far managed to avoid any trailers, character lists or spoilers. All the more reason to go and see it early, right? Nothing like being able to browse social media in complete confidence, but I suppose that’s going to remain a pipe dream until I’ve caught up with the current season of Game of Thrones.

My ticket was booked at home, but I needed to head to the cinema pretty sharpish if I was going to get there in time. I realised that I’d only be missing a few adverts if I was late, but I’d paid for those adverts and I’m damn well going to get my money’s worth.

About halfway between my house and the cinema, I realised that I hadn’t read the confirmation email that Vue had sent me after booking. Wait, do I need some confirmation code to be able to redeem my tickets? It’s been a while since I’ve booked tickets ahead of time, so what can I do if I need that code?

My phone might as well have been dead; problems with EE and their shitty data charges meant that I had no way of checking my emails without paying them even more money. I opened up the settings menu on my phone and went fishing for Wi-Fi.

The first open Wi-Fi I found was owned by betting shop Paddy Power. The strange thing about this wasn’t that the Wi-Fi was open, but rather that the nearest Paddy Power was a few minutes away. Were they pumping their Wi-Fi around the town as a way of advertising for free? Regardless of their intentions, there was no Internet coming out of it.

The next one I found was named “Purple 17”. It took me a little while to figure it out, but it was actually the free Wi-Fi for one of the Reading buses. I stood by the bus while I went through the reasonably short registration form, desperately tapping away to try and open my emails before the bus drove off. Outlook was loading. I saw the name of the email, and was trying to open it up. Then nothing. The bus departed shortly afterwards.

Why? Why get that far and then die on me? It was because my phone had connected to another source of Wi-Fi. One that it had connected to before, therefore prioritising it. Fuck you, Paddy Power.

I continued my journey, trying briefly to connect to the Internet at Pavlov’s Dog before giving up with their stupid registration form. Defeated, I decided to head straight to the cinema. I was only running a few minutes late, but it was better to quit searching now and spend the potential waiting time explaining to some employee at Vue why my phone is a lump of shit with buttons on it and how unprepared I was for a god damn movie.

The self-service ticket machines took my card and gave up my movie ticket without any other resistance. There never was a confirmation code. I’ve been thinking about why I was so worried that there might be one, given that it would be pretty redundant to ask for a code after the computer knows you are using the same card you ordered with. I’d like to thank National Rail and their stupid reservation system for that one.

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