DON'T BE FOOLED by his leopard-skin-dyed hair. David Hodson is your typical 17-year-old high school junior from Edmonds. He sleeps until noon, his forehead is riddled with acne, he tags along with his older sister to parties, and he works minimum-wage shit jobs at places like Northgate Mall. Most recently, Hodson was a cog in the machine of the $707 million Regal Cinemas, a Tennessee-based private company that's co-owned by the evil New York investment firm KKR. Regal gobbled up Portland's Act III cinemas in 1998 to emerge as a dominant player in the movie chain business, with more screens (4,100) than any other in the market. Hodson, a gawky, alternately polite and sarcastic kid, worked at Regal Cinemas Mountlake 9 (off the 205th Street exit off I-5 North) for six months, and suggests, politely, that you shouldn't eat the food.

The Stranger: Tell me something I don't know about Regal Cinemas.

David: They re-use a lot of food products. Like the hot dogs. We just re-used them until they got to the point where they... I mean, they got kinda crinkly. We used the same hot dogs for about five days. Then we'd throw them out. Management was really strict about making us re-use hot dogs.

What's the most annoying thing about movie-theater goers?

They order a large popcorn, and they know the large popcorn is going to cost $5.50, because it's sitting there saying $5.50, right? And they order a large popcorn and a drink, and then they go, "Damn, that's really expensive." And you're like, "Well, what do you expect? The price is right there on the wall."

Can I expect a clean bathroom at Regal Cinemas?

No, you definitely can't. We'd go in there with a sponge and wipe up the water around the sink. That's all. If it was really bad, if there were puddles of urine on the floor, we might mop it. Ya know, generally we just kind of cleaned the toilet paper off the floor. We didn't use cleaning chemicals or sterilizers, ya know, anything like that.

What's the weirdest thing you have ever stumbled on in the bathroom of Regal Cinemas 9?

You go in there and there are two sets of feet under the stalls, and you don't ask. You just kinda leave the bathroom again.

I've heard that you guys doctor up the popcorn?

In the little management training video, they tell you to use one scoop of oil and two scoops of flavoring, but management prefers that we use more oil and more flavoring, so it makes it saltier and you want to buy a drink. The first time they showed you how to make popcorn they showed you how to do it right, but over the course of a month, ya know, they'd be like, "Here, you should put more of this in, and more of that in." Building you up to the evil popcorn-maker standard.

What's the stupidest thing they ever made you do to promote a movie?

That's hard. It's between Austin Powers and Star Wars.


For Austin Powers we had to wear kinda furry little cuffs and collars while we were greeting people.

Doing a British accent?

Yeah. You're supposed to "get into the role," ya know. For Star Wars we were supposed to have flashlights when we checked the movies. They had these little light saber add-ons to them. So, it looked like we were carrying around a light saber. I mean, dorky.

What's your favorite movie of all time?

Well, I guess I'll go with what I recently saw. A couple of days ago I went out and saw A Clockwork Orange for the first time.

Who is the sexiest movie star right now?

We are going to go for Brad Pitt. Yeah. He's a sexy man.

Are they following child labor laws at Regal Cinemas?

Definitely not. Sometimes you do 20-25-hour weeks, but there are weeks in there [when] you do 45 hours, which is very illegal, ya know. If you can do 60, they will have you do 60. [State labor laws set a maximum number of hours teens can work: For 16-17-year-olds, it's 20 hours a week when school is in session, and 48 hours when school's out. -- Eds.]

So, while I've got you here -- what's up with you high school kids these days? Are you packing?

No. For a while at Shorewood, I got a lot of shit from this little skinhead group. They were just fucking with me, ya know. "Hey fag!" Beating me up. Shit like that. So, for a while there I carried a knife to school. All that crap. Once or twice, when they would start to beat me up, I'd pull it out and they would go away. I was like, "Okay, if you need an answer," why not?

You contacted me to do this interview. Why was it so important for you to go to a newspaper and trash Regal Cinemas?

Umm, it's unhealthy. When you are ordering a popcorn, you're not just getting popcorn. When you are ordering a hot dog, you don't know how old it is. It's not really sanitary.

Raymond Smith, a Regal spokes- person in Tennessee, says simply, "If the guy's saying we're not following policy, then it's something we'll look into." And he suggests we check out the bathrooms ourselves.

If you or someone you know would like to do a Stranger Exit Interview concerning a recent, um, falling-out with your employer, e-mail or call 323-7101.