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Throw your food on the floor at the movies

February 18, 2005

The movie theater experience has been going downhill for the past few years. Prices are getting higher and movie start times are being delayed more and more due to irrelevant commercials. Where I draw the line are the new “Please pick up after yourself” commercials. These commercials are giving customers the wrong idea. Part of the price of movie theater concessions is the convenience factor and sheer joy that you receive by dumping your jumbo butter-lubed popcorn onto the floor as a grand finale to your movie going experience.. .something that you just can’t duplicate at home in front of your big screen. As TVs get bigger and clearer, this will become one of the few advantages that theaters have.

But seriously…there are only two reasons why movie theater food is so expensive: Either they are money-grubbing corporate scum bags who selfishly want to snatch every penny out of your pocket, or they are just nice people that want you to enjoy throwing your food on the floor. Let’s give their kind souls the benefit of the doubt and go with the latter. Don’t believe people that tell you such fallacies that the act of you throwing your food on the floor causes an increase in the price for everyone. That theory would entail that theaters would lower their concession prices if people stop throwing food on the floor, which we all know isn’t true.

Another common belief is that the theater makes very little on the ticket, which means it has to jack up the concession prices to turn a profit. Boo hoo. Nothing draws a sympathetic tear more than rich people crying to the common folk that they need to make more money. Whether the belief is true or not, it’s the responsibility of the theaters to renegotiate their contracts. Being that the majority of the theater market in any region is owned by only a few large conglomerates, they obviously have significant negotiating power. Use it.

If you were to argue that the reason movie prices have increased is because the cost of making movies has increased, you would be right, but this isn’t the movie-goer’s fault. The cost of creating movies is high because production companies constantly outbid each other for high-priced actors. If they all agreed not to overpay, then Tom Cruise wouldn’t have the opportunity to pass up a $19 million offer for a $20 million offer. If his choice was between a maximum cap of $1 million or the $75 a night he’d make working at Applebees, believe me, he’d still be making movies.

Keep in mind that a movie theater employee with the skills and experience necessary to pick up the food that someone drops on the floor probably doesn’t get paid more than $6.00 per hour. Considering the fact that it’ll take this individual at the most two minutes of his time, the exercise can be valued at $0.20. Surely the $5.25 charged for Ju Ju Fruits has enough overhead figured in for the theater to not take a bath on it. If not, then they can take it out of the extra 25 cents that they charge you as a penalty for going on a Friday or Saturday night.

The next time the concession vendor asks if you would like to opt for the best value and upgrade to an undrinkable 48 oz for 25 cents more, remember that the extra money you spend means you’ll get more to pour on the floor. They’re right…that is a value.

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From → Movies

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