Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Movie theater snacks

You may think that this blog post must be about the delicious popcorn and snacks that I make at home and smuggle into the theater to avoid buying packaged disposable stuff when we go to the movies...

But it's not.

It's really about a question: Why the heck do we feel the need to always eat snacks in the movie theater?
Do you feel that way?

I realized tonight that in a way I do feel that way.

Buy your ticket, buy a drink, buy some popcorn... enjoy your snacks while you watch our film. I know this goes way back and that it was really just a way to get more money out of us, but how do we change it? It seems like you can't bring anything with you into a theater and that you have to buy everything that you need there.
So I thought about this tonight when the woman at the movie theater counter ask me if we needed any drinks or snacks with our tickets (our town is small enough that you just buy your tickets at the snack counter). "No thank you" I told her and she nodded. But then I felt guilty - almost like she nodded like that because she knew that I had a huge stainless steel water bottle and bag of homemade popcorn in my bag. Because, if I'm not going to buy anything, I must already have it with me. Because who goes to see Harry Potter with their kids and doesn't eat snacks?

I sat in the theater listening to everyone else crunching away on delicious smelling popcorn, but I wasn't hungry. I kind of wanted popcorn, but... not really. A little ways into the movie I asked my kids if they wanted popcorn and they said "not really, right now". This was brilliant! They weren't hungry either, so they didn't want to eat a snack. In fact, we only took one sip from the water bottle during that whole long movie before it was over. Who would believe it?

I was thinking about whether or not I snack when I watch a movie at home. Sometimes, if I'm up for a snack. But not always. Sometimes I just sit down on my couch, put my feet up and watch a movie. And maybe take a sip of water if I feel the need for it.

So I ask you: Do you need to give in to all aspects of movie theater marketing to lure you in and spend even more money on overpriced snacks that you probably don't even need? What if you went, just once, to a movie and only bought a ticket? What if you even ignored the snack that you smuggled in inside your bag or pocket?

I know it's totally crazy, but what if we all just didn't have to eat when we went to the movies??

I urge you to give it a shot. The freedom from feeling the need to buy is amazing in itself. But when you realize that you don't even need a substitute to buying something, that you can simply go without... that's really an amazing thing.


  1. Our town theatre is a historical theatre that has been carefully and lovingly restored. It plays second run movies, so we pay only $3 for a ticket. Popcorn or candy is $1.50 and drinks are $1. I do buy snacks when we go to the movies. It's the only time I buy candy for me or my kids, and I do love movie-theatre popcorn (popcorn and Junior Mints mixed together - YUM!). Also, I consider it "supporting" the theatre. I'd never, ever sneak snacks in that theatre, because the prices are already so low, and because I love the fact that we have this wonderful, old-fashioned theatre where the kids all wear jackets and bow ties and they have the original organ up front being played before the movie starts. I'm glad to buy my snacks from them if it helps they stay in business. I bring my own glass from home and they are happy to fill it with soda (I have one of those I Am Not a Plastic Cup cups with a straw and lid), and I wonder if I brought in a big dish, if they'd just put a scoop of popcorn in it. Hmmm...

    Now, if we head off to a traditional theatre, where the tickets for all 4 of us would total $30, we skip the snacks. (It has to be a really, really special movie for me to pay that much money.)

    When I'm home, I don't *need* popcorn when I watch a movie, but it's my husband's snack of choice, so he usually makes it for himself whether we're watching a movie or not. It's not swathed in (fake) butter and salt, though.

  2. ML, I would definitely support a small locally run theater buy purchasing popcorn if it was reasonably priced, ESPECIALLY if tickets were that cheap... but I would totally bring a bowl.

    The theater that we go to in town is small and locally owned, but we still payed $25 for 3 tickets. I feel good about supporting them and not a big corporation, but I don't feel like I need to spend more money to eat and watch the movie.

    I like your cup idea.