Batman just recently reopened and the operations are FANTASTIC, first of all.
Secondly, I'm sorry, how can you blame ride operators for clearly ignorant customers (who are found EVERYWHERE, Disney, Cedar Fair and Six Flags) who chose to walk right past the lockers at the entrances and all the signs stating such. The customer chooses to hold up operations by arguing, blame the customer. It's our job to control the matter in a concise way, and remember that the customer is "always right". So it's a bit of a tricky area. Is $1 a bit... ridic? Okay, yes, it's a total cash grab, but just limit what you bring to the park.
How about bringing your prize from a game to package pick-up? Free service at any location, let you pick up your items later. DON'T get a souvenir bottle, perhaps? If you bring a water bottle, then suck it up for the eight or so bucks you have to spend. Most of the people I see at the park carry light. Period.
Here's what drives me crazy about your post: the idea, the mere THOUGHT that Knott's has competent fast operations. Wow. Could not be any more off the mark. They are at least as slow as Six Flags, aside from Ghostrider every single interval seems to take an eternity. I very much recall waiting outside the station for most about twice the length of my actual ride. (three regarding Pony Express) Jaguar is almost jaw-droppingly slow, with as equally callous operators. The only time I've ever seen ride ops with actual energy at Knott's is Timber Mountain. I really hope Matt Ouimet can put an end to this, but for now, sorry bro, Knott's ops is only equal to Six Flags.