82 answers

Sneaking Candy in Movies a Bad Example?

This one stumped me!

We've always taught my stepdaughter to follow the rules and the "law." And we like to set that example too.

Well, this one stumped me!

We've been sneaking candy in the movie theaters for a long time. You know, it's $4 for candy there but a fraction of the price elsewhere! Plus with Christmas, Easter and Valentine's day we don't have a shortage of candy to bring with. So I've always put the candy in my purse and we buy popcorn to share.

Well, now my SD can read and she's getting pretty observant. She saw the sign in the theater that asks you not to bring outside food in, and she called us on it :) And she is right! We are breaking the rules!

My husband told her that some rules are okay to break, and that the movie theater charges a lot of money for candy and we can't afford to buy candy and popcorn. So if we don't bring extra candy in then we can't have candy. And this is true because I was laid off. So we go to early shows and save where we can.

Are we setting a bad example? My SD brought pop into the gymnasium at gymnastics and when I pointed out the sign that says "no food or drink" she said "well, you guys sneak candy into the theater." I can't tell if she honestly thought it was okay or if she was just using it as an excuse.

At any rate, we will probably stop bringing candy in and just have popcorn (no problem with that). Any thoughts on it?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I totally appreciate everyone's point of view! I was really curious how other people handle similar situations since I know most people break some rules and cheat once in a while.

It kind of reminded me of growing up in the 80s and then making mixed tapes from our friend's tapes. We didn't think anything was wrong with it. Well, quite a few years later NAPSTER was born which was stealing on a large scale! So I can see how thinking "there's nothing wrong with breaking the rules" can evolve into mass theft!

I also don't want my stepdaughter blindly following rules. That's how dictatorships happen, people just blindly follow the leader. I think that since she's only 8 and just gaining independence in some areas we are going to err on "following the rules" side. When she gets older and wiser we can talk about how to deal with unfair rules.

As for theaters and their high-priced candy and $4 waters...I think they are price-gouging. I refuse to buy it...so I guess it's just popcorn for us!

Edited to add: I have to disagree with those people who think it's "stealing." Stealing is defined as taking something that is not yours. There is no other definition. You can't say that bringing food into a movie theater is stealing because I have the right to just sit there and not eat anything. It would be like saying not ordering fries at McDonalds is stealing because McDonalds relies on french fries to make revenue. As a consumer I have a right to buy or not buy something and choosing not to buy something is NOT stealing. Stealing is also against the law, you can't be arrested for bringing candy into a movie theater. Is it breaking the rules of the theater? Yes. But it is not stealing.

Also Edited to Add: The idea that the poor movie theaters are just squeaking by so we HAVE to pay for concessions to "keep them alive" is ridiculous. It's true that movie theaters may pay between 60-80% of ticket sales the first week, but in 2006 theaters still made 66% of their income through ticket sales. Nowadays some advertisers are paying more than $50,000 per screen annually to show their ads. The markup on concessions is incredible, it costs less than 10 cents for that super large soda that someone is paying $4 for. Popcorn makes 90 cents on the dollar: so a $4 popcorn only costs the theater 40 cents. We know that candy is marked up in the stores, so to mark it up even more at the theater is also ridiculous. It's not my job to keep the theaters afloat by buying overpriced concessions. Would you pay $20 for a gallon of milk just to keep your favorite store in business? I think not!

Featured Answers

Whoa...that's a slippery slope! Smart little girl! LOL
Technically, she's right.
(But I, too, hate to pay those high candy prices--it's ridiculous!)

6 moms found this helpful

I heard that they are not trying to gouge, but rather trying to keep afloat. The reason they charge $4 is because the cost of the admission covers the cost of the movie reel. Movies these days are on huge budgets and the theatre is has the huge task of making the payments to cover the cost.
The theatre then has to cover the cost of salaries for projectionists, managers, and other employees - besides supplies and heating & cooling a huge theatre - those bills must be huge.

3 moms found this helpful

If more people would stop buying candy at the theaters, they would have to lower their prices. It is rediculous to pay $4.00 for candy when you can buy it, as you say, a fraction of the price elsewheres. Same with popcorn. On the other hand, the price to see a movie, matinee, is still pretty good. I guess they have to make their money somewhere. I remember when we paid 25 cents to get in and bought popcorn for a dime. Oh My!

3 moms found this helpful

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I used to be a property manager for a mall with a big movie theater. Do you know what the theater manager told me? They make HALF A MILLION DOLLARS A WEEK on candy and popcorn sales. That's over $2 Million per month! That does not, of course, include their ridiculous charges for the tickets themselves.

I would say that there is a difference between following rules that have a purpose - such as not bringing soda onto gym mats because if the soda spills, it will wreck the mat for everybody - and following rules that are there so businesses can continue to rake customers over the coals - such as movie theaters charging exorbitant rates for candy and then making arbitrary rules that you can't buy the same exact candy somewhere else for 10% of the price and bring it with you. Rules exist so we can all live peacefully in society, not so that businesses can extort customers. There's a big difference.

12 moms found this helpful

My high school job was at a movie theatre... I doubt anything has changed in this scenario since then: Basically, all of the money you pay for a movie ticket goes to the film distributor and the film's production company. The cost of your movie ticket doesn't support the theatre, its upkeep nor its staff's wages. The only way your local movie theatre makes any money is from the food and beverages that it sells.

You can call the price of their candy and beverages outrageous and ridiculous... however, it is their only revenue stream. I'm not sure I would classify sneaking in outside candy as actual "stealing", however it is dishonest and deceitful--and probably not the best example to set for your children. (And if you think about it, this type of scenario lays the foundation on how teenagers evaluate sneaking alcohol into places, sneaking answers into tests, and even sneaking behind their parents' backs).

11 moms found this helpful

Teaching your kids to have respect for rules is not valid only when it is convenient and affordable. I am a single Mom of three working six days a week so I understand the money issue, however, you are a patron in their business, and that is their rule whether you agree or not. Surprisingly, theaters make relatively little money off tickets so it is the concession stands where they make their revenue to run their business. No one is forced to eat while watching the movie. If you cannot afford to eat at the theater eat before you come or after. I do believe sneaking candy in when it is clearly posted, and against the rules, sets a bad example for the kids. If you can justify yourself out of following this rule, do not be surprised when it starts both a pattern for you and they, in other areas of life as well. Is saving a few dollars worth it? It usually is not the big areas in life when we fall; it is all the assumed grey areas in between that trip us up as we go.

11 moms found this helpful

I recently read somewhere that movie theaters make their money on the concessions and not on actual movie ticket sales (most of THAT goes to the movie makers), so if they didn't charge those prices, they'd be out of business completely. I wish I could remember where I read that article - it was pretty interesting. Anyway, aside from that, I think it's best to teach your kids integrity, even when it's inconvenient for you, so bravo on deciding to stop bringing in the candy! One little white lie becomes another and another and before you know it, you get your child saying "but it was only ONE DRESS and it was SOO EXPENSIVE and I couldn't afford it and it's not fair that I couldn't have it!" while you're signing the shoplifting report at the police station. Integrity and honesty should be constants, not just when it suits you, right?

11 moms found this helpful

Ok , for the moms that really do not understand here is the adult version. You go to a club to go dancing. You pay $10 to $15. per person cover charge. Do you take your own liqueur? Do you take your own soda? Your own water? Your own Organic juices cause "they do not sell healthy" drinks there? No you do not.. Why on earth do you think it is ok to allow your children to do this at the movies?,

You could just tell them, "we cannot afford to purchase snacks" or "I am not paying for expensive snacks". ," so eat before we go , or we will eat when we get home?"

At our elementary school they teach the "Character Counts Program." Part of the curriculum talks about being of good character even when others are not around to see it.

This made a huge impact on our daughter. She really began asking about different situations and talking about how she would feel if people knew they were cheating her or her family and how it would make her angry but also hurt her feelings that they did not show respect for the rules.

So yes, we drive the speed limits, do not jaywalk are honest to all people that ask us questions if needed for their business.. She is in college and really does follow the rules, it is almost comical..
We call he Grandma, she is so careful about such things.

10 moms found this helpful

There is a difference than blindly following rules and patronizing a business. A business owner has the right to offer a service at a price and you have a choice about whether or not you will pay it. Dictating how much a business should charge, without any understanding or regard of the operating costs, is a slippery slope toward communisn at the worst, and socialism at the least.

If you feel like they are price gouging then don't buy any concessions...even the popcorn. Truly speak with your wallet and spend your dollars elsewhere.

We all make mistakes...we all break rules intentionally and accidentally...but, for the most part, we all know the right thing to do. Teach your daughter the rights things and you won't be sorry.

10 moms found this helpful

I don't sneak things into the movie theater, and I don't lie about my kids ages when buying movie tickets, admission to amusement parks or buffet lines. The way I see it, part of my job as the parent here is to set the example. It is more important to me to have my children secure in seeing me "doing the right thing" than it is to save a few dollars. Part of going to the movies for us is getting the popcorn to share, but if I felt it (or the water or the soda) was too expensive, we would go without, rather than deciding which rules do not apply to us.

And, to answer Annie's question about a family that only eats healthy snacks, you should not be bringing food with you either. You should eat before or after the movie, and go without during the show. You shouldn't be teaching your kids that the rules don't apply to them for whatever reason you use to try and justify it. You either pay for food from the concession counter or you go without. If you need carrots, celery and hummus during the movie, maybe you should wait for the dvd and be free to enjoy all of that home instead of breaking the rules.

Purchasing admission to see the movie is just for that. You are not entitled to bring in any food or drink for any reason you drag out in order to support or justify it. If you don't want to buy anything from the concession stand, great, don't. That is certainly your perogitive. But that does not mean you can bring other foods to eat during the show.

The fact that you have to "sneak it in" should be a giant warning bell. You are not supposed to be doing this.

I also still firmly believe that I should lead by example. My children do model their behavior using my actions as a base. It is on ME to show them how to act, by walking the walk myself.

9 moms found this helpful

You didn't say how old she is so it's hard to say.... Is she old enough where she can understand and rationalize things through? My kids know I am a "rule breaker" but they understand why I am one. I don't believe in following rules if they don't make sense to me. I believe it's important to think things through logically and not just blindly follow rules because someone said so. I want my kids to grow up standing up for what they believe in and not following the pack. I know this is extreme to your point, but if she is old enough to understand, start explaining to her when you break rules and why you chose to break them. We ALL break small "rules" and rather than hiding it and having her find out, start being open about it so she can learn to make her own wise choices as she gets older. In a case like this, talk her through it by asking her why she thinks those rules are in place. Why does she think the movie theatre doesn't want you to bring in your own candy, and why does she think the gym doesn't want you to eat there?

8 moms found this helpful

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