The owner of a drive-in cinema says he has been left “devastated” and in tears after a social media backlash following the cancellation of a Christmas event.
Ally Menzies, who owns Wee Man Drive-In Cinema, had been preparing to show Christmas films for one week from Wednesday at Scone Palace, but has had to pull the plug after coronavirus restrictions were not eased.
He says staff will now no longer get paid and is having to contemplate selling his flat to pay for all the expenses.
Ally said: “We have had to postpone the event and everyone is devastated.
“The drive-in cinema is not allowed in tier three so we have postponed until the end of February.
“My staff won’t get wages for Christmas now and all the food people, first aid, security and scaffolders won’t either.
“I have four part time members of staff who were looking for this money for their Christmas but now we can’t afford to pay them.
“This could bury us, we just wanted people to enjoy a night out at the cinema.
“I sold my house to buy the cinema and I have a couple of flats but I might have to sell one of them to pay everyone back, that is how bad this has become.
“We will be offering everyone a refund but we hope people will take a voucher instead because we will still be showing films later on at Scone Palace.”
However Ally says the backlash he has received on social media from a small minority of customers has left him in tears.
He added: “The problem we have got though is on social media, we are getting called all sorts which is a bit of a nightmare.
“I have not slept for three days, there is a lot of tears.
“People are not understanding we had to pay for everything up front.
“I am going to lose £1,000 a day on food alone, it is not like we are making money out of this and we had to pay 40% of every ticket to the film people in advance.
“We won’t get that back and we won’t get back any of the food we ordered.
“People are saying they want a refund which is fair enough but we are encouraging people to take a voucher instead for the next time because paying everyone back could put us out of business.
“This could kill us.
“People on social media are saying we have taken their money and we even had a guy threatening legal action, but we have not skedaddled off with it.
“This is our job and we are thousands of pounds out of pocket and yet people are screaming for our heads.
“I am devastated and so annoyed at some of the comments.
“I am a grown man and an ex-soldier, but I was left crying the other night.
“We are not doing this to annoy people, we wanted this to go ahead and we had given lots of tickets to local charities and carers.
“People think we are a massive company coming up from London but we are not, we are just down the road and trying our best.”