TIFF 2013: ‘Roland’ is a hilarious look at dealing with retail customers


Roland tells the story of the titular Roland (Dan Bierne), a young man working in an arts-and-crafts store who becomes the uncomfortable guardian of the employee-only “washroom” (must be a Canadian phrase)  from an old man wishing to use the “washroom” and having absolute disregard for the rules that Roland so greatly wants to abide by.

Directed and written by relative newcomer Trevor Cornish, Roland is a hilarious and rather fascinating look at how a simple situation, like not letting a customer use the “washroom” can easily get out of control. The film also echoes what anyone who has ever worked in the retail industry will get gladly attest to: the customer is always right, unless, of course, it violates the company’s rules. Just because a customer feels entitled to something doesn’t necessarily mean that their entitlement can be fulfilled. Retail workers have to calmly deal with customers in the best way they know how and should it go wrong, there’s no other choice but to move on to the next customer’s needs, again, to the best of their abilities and this is excellently displayed in Roland. 


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