Bringing Snacks Into a Movie Theater – Frugal or Unethical?

by Mike on May 26, 2010

Every once in a while I’ll come across an article about saving money at the movies. These usually contain good advice such as attend matinees, look for discounts, and avoiding the concession stand. These are all great ideas, but what then happens is inevitably someone mentions bringing your own snacks into the theater. In my humble opinion, this crosses the line beyond creative frugality.

Most movie managers do not allow you to bring in outside snacks. This is because it is no secret that movies make most of their money from the concession stand. The most common argument for bringing your own snacks is that movie candies & snacks are unfairly marked up…sometimes as much as 900%. As grievous as that may be….it’s their right. They are not forcing anyone to purchase from the concession stands to see the movie.

Another common argument is that its “our right” to bring in what we want. That statement is inaccurate. Your purchased ticket gives you the right to enter the premises for the designated amount of time. However, you are still expected to abide by the owners rules. It would be the equivalent of going to someone’s home and lighting a cigarette without permission. Just because you brought them with you doesn’t give you the right to do so. The example is extreme, but I hope it effectively demonstrates my point: when you are a guest (or customer) on someone else’s property, you must abide by their rules.

If you want to save money at the movies, my recommendations are:

  1. Skip the concession stand: Not only is it expensive but you’re going to pack on the calories! Most movies are 2 hours….don’t go hungry. Eat before or after. If you just have to stop at the stand…share. You’ll be splitting the cost and the calories. Your waistline and wallet will thank you.
  2. Set up your own movie night at home! Grab a DVD or BluRay through Netflix or Redbox, and bring all the snacks you want!

I realize I’m probably in the minority and that’s OK. Feel free to disagree with me. But either way….I’d love to hear your opinions!

What about you? Do you believe it is OK to bring your own snacks into the movies? Why or why not?

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