Your Guide to Money Etiquette
Q: Can I bring my own food and drink into a movie theater?
A: Checking out the concession-stand offerings is often a total horror show: Six dollars for gummy bears? Are they made of pure gold?! But sky-high prices don’t justify sneaking in treats, says David Callahan, the editor of CheatingCulture.com, an online ethics resource. “As a guest, you should obey the rules of the establishment,” he says. A bar that serves food wouldn’t allow you to haul in your own nachos to eat with its margaritas. Similarly, cinemas expect you to cough up for their goodies when you’re on their turf.
It could be argued that the theaters are guilty of extorting a captive audience. In this age of $10 tickets, going to the movies isn’t a cheap proposition to begin with. Also, “it’s apparent that theaters mark up popcorn and other snacks to near criminal levels,” says Jeff Yeager, the author of The Cheapskate Next Door ($13, amazon.com). But it’s worth remembering that cinemas make about 40 percent of their revenue from the sale of food and drinks. “If everyone brought their own treats from home, the price of tickets could increase even more dramatically,” says Callahan. Talk about scary.