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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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Personally, I object to the idea that we can't watch a movie for 1.5 hours without eating. It's not a meal time and just sitting while eating candy is very unhealthy. I would worry more about the message that you send that it is ok to sit around and eat junk. It's amazing what a little marketing will do to a human.

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My thoughts are... Think of the message your is husband conveying to your daughter when he tells her that "it's okay to break the rules because we can't afford it". In ANY other context, you wouldn't even have to ask what other people think.

Don't want to pay for that cool new hip sweater on the shelf over there... don't! Just take it! You can't afford it, so it's okay! If you could afford it, you'd pay for it... but since you can't.. just do whatever you want!

I know, I know... but that really is the reality. He just hasn't thought it through. The nuances might be a little different... but the concept is the same. YOU are special and so YOU don't have to follow the rules.

Good luck. It hurts to fork over the $... so we don't. We just have the popcorn... or we watch on Netflix and eat our own candy at home.

8 moms found this helpful

I am in the minority but I see nothing wrong with it. As adults, we tell white lies and go against the rules constantly as Mom4S stated. Why take a moral stand on this one? To those that think it is setting a bad example, I hope you never speed or jaywalk, that you come to a full stop at every stop sign, I expect that you answer every call that comes to your home and speak to the solicitor or collector, that you always give the check out person your correct phone number AND for you to expect the truth when you ask, "Does this look good on me?" By speeding, jaywalking and not stopping you are putting lives at risk. By not paying bills, you are stealing. By not answering a solicitor call, you are keeping someone from doing their job. You see where I am going? Our actions have ramifications no matter the size, so if you want to take a stand, do it all the way - you don't get to pick & choose.

I just don't see anything wrong with bringing a couple of Jolly Ranchers or a small bag of Skittles. My kids don't need the big box of candy, just a snack.

8 moms found this helpful

my solution is to just wait until I can rent or buy the movie, then I can have whatever I want to eat or drink during the movie, around here we can rent a movie for $1 for 1 day.

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OH MY GOSH!!! My son just called me out on this very thing this morning! Out of the blue he called me a "cheater". I said, what are you talking about? He said, you cheat because you bring food to the movies and you aren't supposed too. HHHMMMMM....We are a family of 5 and both my husband and I are business owners. The weekends that we have all 3 of the kids (our ex's have them some weekends), we go to the early movie which is only $5 each and we buy a large "family" popcorn in which I bring gallon zip baggies and divide it up between everyone and get the free refill. However, before we leave the house I put a flavor in a bottle of water for everyone and put them in my daughters backpack so we each have a drink. And then we drive thru and get a $1 burger for everyone and I put them in my big purse. So my response to my son this morning was, you're right, I guess we can eat after we go to the movies. And that was that! :o)

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We too have "bent" the rules in bringing in candy and drinks to movies. My child doesn't really like soda and they don't sell juice so there you go on that one. I think there is definately a big difference between "bending a rule" and "breaking a law"! I don't think that bringing in my own treats is considered "stealing" as some have suggested. If I decided tomorrow to no longer bring in my own snacks it most definately does not mean I would then purchase theirs.

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I haven't been to the movie theater in forever, but I know what you mean about the prices!

Still, I think we should be an example for our kids. We want our kids to respect authority, and we must too. There are reasons for the rules different places have. For example, at the gym, they probably don't want food and drink making a mess in the facility. Your daughter might say that she's going to be careful and not spill it, but that's why they are called "accidents". There are many ways to rationalize ourselves out of all kinds of rules. ;)

But my point is that as adults, sometimes we can tell the intent of a rule and figure out if what we are doing is still reasonable and ok. But I don't think I'd want my children doing that (I know how their little minds work), so that's when we have to be the good example.

I think it's good you've already decided to stop bringing the candy in to the movies--it's not terrible to watch a movie without candy anyhow. But you might also want to have a little talk with your daughter. Something like, "You were right about following the rules at the movie theater. I hadn't thought about it before, but we need to respect the movie theater owner. I don't like that rule, but there is a reason for it, even if we don't agree. So we're not going to be taking candy into the movies anymore. Thanks for noticing and keeping us on track. :)"

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Yeah, when it is put in that context, I now feel bad. We go to movies and half the time, we bring in our own candy. I've even brought in my own popcorn. I guess when it comes down to it, it's wrong even though they charge WAY too much for concessions! If it's a rule, it's a rule. The best way to teach is by example and for the most part, that should ring true to your kids. Now, if you go ahead and try to set and example with this one, then you are open to all of our other white lies and slight bending of the rules. What about speeding? Jaywalking? Telemarketers and "I'm not home". I've done those and while I'm telling my kids to lie to the person on he other end of the phone (when they answer without my knowledge) , I"m setting an example that its "OK". It's not. Now, as my kids get older, I can better explaine some of my intentions, but as teens (or tweens), they need to constantly be reminded of what's right and wrong. I say skip the contraband snacks and buy from the theater. If you really can't swing the extra $40, ok, more like $20 it takes to get a drink, popcorn and sweet treat, then just make sure you eat right before you go. I think this could be a great lesson for your kids if they are at that age where you can't get by with sneaking anymore! LOL!

6 moms found this helpful

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

Kids are so observant aren't they! Quick story-I try to teach my son to not go by other kid's judgements when deciding to be friends with someone and to form his OWN opinions. Well, when we were picking teachers for next year I mentioned how I heard from other moms how bad one teacher is and his response was" Mom, but you always tell ME not to make judgements based on what others say." Boy did I feel bad!

Anyhow....we always sneak candy into the theater. It is crazy to spend $4 on a box of Sourpatchs that can be had for $1.50 at the store. IMO it is teaching them good financial sense. We buy the popcorn and a large drink which I then get courtesy cups and divvy out to them. With the price of movies and concessions these days you would be crazy not to.

5 moms found this helpful

If you want to teach your daughter something meaningful about rules, there are plenty of examples of rules being broken throughout the world. I believe you would be doing a greater service by guiding her to consider what corporate America is doing to this nation. The institutions in America did not get where they are by following rules. Even governments are not following rules related to humanity. Teach your daughter about Rachel Corrie and the issues surrounding her life. From there one can follow links and learn about something truly meaningful that affects the lives of people in nations. In the U.S., the Constitution is being referred to as a "quaint" document in some circles. The rules of our nation are not being taken seriously and are being trodden upon. In this world, there are so many more important issues you could be teaching with regard to moral degradation and have the added benefit of introducing the concept of truly critical thinking about important issues and why rules are promulgated in the first place.

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I have heard from several sources that theaters get very little income from ticket sales, and basically support themselves with concession sales. I'll bet if you owned a theater, you'd be extremely unhappy about people who break the rules. As with any form of "theft" (you are in essence "stealing" potential income from the theater), the prices of the goodies are higher, and being passed on to those who don't break the rules.

The choice is yours, but I think your example is a bad one.

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Not sure how I missed this the first time around and it really doesn't answer your question but I just wanted to confirm/add what a few other posters had said.
My husband was an executive for one of the biggest movie theatre chains. A few other people had brought this up and it is true, most of the ticket price goes back to the film distributor. Which of course partly goes to pay the actress and actors their huge salaries which we support with every movie we see. The longer a movie is out then the percentage of ticket price swings back to the theaters. Think of the blockbuster Titanic. Initially, those millions of dollars made went back to the film distributor. The longer it was out and people kept seeing it, then the theaters also started making some of that money. So theater chains make their money on the concessions.
Now the chain he used to work for did allowed outside food but I recently heard that they were going to put a stop to it.

4 moms found this helpful

We don't go to the movies very often but when we do, we bring our own food. We don't even 'sneak' it in, just carry it in. Our kids know we do this and every so often an employee will insist we toss it into the trash. When that happens, we calmly ask for the manager and then calmly explain that we will gladly toss our food away if he can show us they have food/drink available that we can eat. This has never happened, though! The only food they sell there is junk. No movie theatre we've been to sells anything that allergen-free or doesn't have artifical colors (intolerance issues with some family members) and everything has gluten (gfcf diet for 1 kid).

Almost every manager we've met with is OK with us bringing our own food in once we explain the reasoning behind it.

My question for the original poster is why the heck are you wasting money on movie theatres when you were laid off? Movies are on DVD within a few months and are cheap to rent.

4 moms found this helpful

You are teaching your kids habits. I can go 2-3 hours without candy and popcorn and my kids can too. Eat before you go and you won't need munchies! I have a friend who brings some kind of needlework and I sometimes bring a very small craft item that I don't need light to know what I'm doing and that's all you need.

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I don't see what the fuss is all about...it's not as if you're not allowed to bring ANY food in the movie theatre...after all the wide array of snacks sold at the concession stand. Why can't you bring your own....be it as a cost saving device, or due to dietary restrictions/ preferences.
Sometimes we has to use plan old common sense....and think for ourselves!

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A lot of places have started allowing, since the economy crash, you to bring whatever snacks you'd like in...It'd be worth a call to the theater to find out if they have jumped on this bandwagon.
I took my family of six to the movies and toted in a sackful of junk! (this was our treat day!)

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If there is a sign that says not to bring food into the theater, it is their rule and should be respected, just as a no smoking sign should be. My husband ran a theater when we were first married and they make a lot on the candy and popcorn because the cost of the movie itself takes most of the charge for the movie. It has gotten out of hand since then (was like $3 to get in and candy and popcorn wasn't so outrageous) and I think as you do, it is gouging now days. Popcorn is very cheap and chances are if you are buying popcorn then you are supporting them very well.

Your biggest concern is how your SD is seeing this. If it is bothering her or teaching her to break rules how long will it be before she is breaking your rules that she thinks is unjust? Follow the rules for that reason alone.

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Hi NS-

It is funny that I missed your question the other day...and it turned up in my e mail!

I am the single mom of 7 (eldest 3 are away at college now), but movies as a large group have been 'out of budget' for quite a while! I have always preferred to wait for a movie to go DVD (preferably on sale) and buy it!

Two sons who are still home wanted to see avatar when it came out in theaters. I willingly 'sprang' for tickets and a popcorn for each. They wanted more $$ for food...I said no...and that they could NOT sneak it in. I did promise to BUY the movie when on DVD...and have a 'family' movie nite.

I did this when the movie came out on 22 april...and on 23 april....set up a 'movie ticket/concession stand'...complete with prices for all of our home made goodies! Also had a sign as they got off the bus at 3:45 that last matinee show (and reduced pricing) ended at 3:30...

Anyway...we all had great fun...and it was a cost effective $$ lesson...

Only NOW they want a 3 D TV...lol

Take Care

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I am with Denise. It's a slippery slope, but I bring in my own candy as well. I might have even been known to bring in lunch from Taco Bell, too... You're busted. I can't imagine anything other than not doing it anymore, especially since your daughter thinks it gives her license to break the rules.

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I've read many of the posts, and I agree with those who say that it is always bad. Actually I would go so far as to say that it is stealing. If you are going to have snacks (no one is forcing you) buy them at the theater. If it is too expensive or too unhealthy for your family to buy snacks at the theater, do not bring in your own. If you cannot go 2 hours without eating, there is something wrong. If you choose to bring your own water, make it visible and obvious that you are doing so. (I am completely against buying water, when you can filter your own at home and put it in a reusable container :)

Now back to the stealing issue: If you are going to any establishment that you are not to bring in outside food into, because they need you to buy theirs to support their business, then it is actually stealing from that business by taking whatever revenue they would generate from the sale of their refreshments. Plus, If it is a rule of that establishment, then don't do it. If you don't like the rules, don't go. You don't have to go to the theater, or anywhere else for that matter, if you don't want to. That is the awesome thing about living in a free capitalist country. You say how you spend your money, but in return for that freedom, we must follow the rules that are set up to protect, and prevent chaos, that includes the rules that protect businesses. If everyone brought their own snacks and no one bought from the theater, it would go out of business. If you live in a town where there are 4 or 5 theaters to choose from, then it wouldn't be such a big deal for one to go out of business(except for the people that own and work at the one that went under), but if you live in a town that only has one theater, then loosing it would be a shame. A theater gives older kids and teens something to do on weekends that does not involve distructive or unsafe behavior.

Well that is what I think, and what I stick to.

4 moms found this helpful

We don't really eat candy, but we do bring our steel water bottles into the theater because we don't drink soda, and I'm not about ot pay $4 for a bottle of water. We've never had anyone say anything about our steel water bottles of water and I've never hid them. I HAVE brought fruit snacks or the like in, and just explain to my son (who is almost 8 and has been reading for 4yrs) that sometimes we just don't have the extra money for the concessions. We do always buy popcorn though, a size we can all share.

Theaters do make hteir money off concessions, however we don't eat candy, nor do we drink soda, and spending $10 for a movie ticket x 4 people is a big hit anyway. We buy a popcorn, bringo ur water bottles, and call it good.

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I smuggle apples into movie theaters because they don't offer fresh fruit. I'm not stealing from the theater because I would not have purchased their "food" anyhow. Maybe they will start to offer $4 cold from the fridge granny smith apples... not likely! I do buy their junior mints on occasion.

Also, the reason they say "no food or drink in the gym" is because if there is a spill the athletes can slip. The reason there is no outside food or drinks allowed in a movie theater is to force you to buy their offerings. Big difference.

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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.

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A very interesting debate. For the people that say it is stealing then you should also consider that the theater is facilitating highway robbery w/the exorbitant prices. Either way you look at the situation, it is not legally stealing nor robbery so to call it such is wrong. While each establishment can make its own rules the first cardinal rule in any service oriented business is customer service. If bringing no food or drinks were enforced they would be checking bags for such contraband. The theater is a business and as a business they have their own choices to make, which will impact them economically. The apparent model is to charge essentially at cost the movie ticket and charge high prices on food and beverage full well knowing customers, particularly families will be bringing in their own snacks. Execs obviously feel this is better model than raising ticket prices and charging realistic prices on concession stand items. So I would say it is the business model the theater companies have put in place as far as brining in outside food/beverages. As far as the gym, there is a safety and sanitary factor as children/adults are running around doing activities and you really don’t want to come across a rat. Whereas at a venue that serves food, they will have the proper cleaning services protocols in place. But then I’m surprised you can’t bring in water or Gatorade to help replace the depleted water and electrolytes. It is actually a health hazard if an athlete does not replenish their body with fluid.

Personally, when we went to the movies when we were young, it was typically after a large meal and we never bought any popcorn, candy or beverages. I would imagine it was b/c it was expensive for a family of 5 but I did not think anything of not having something to snack on or drink. Even today, I don’t crave anything in my hands or mouth when watching the movie. I was always too enthralled by what was on the screen. Overall, it is a healthier choice not to partake in any movie snacks.

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It is no longer ilegal to bring your own food into movie theatres. This law changed when advertising on the screen came into play Check it out !

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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!

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My mother used to sneak candy into the theater the whole time I was growing up to avoid paying the high cost. I thought nothing of it, candy in the store is much cheaper. Until I married my husband. He worked in a movie theater for 2 years. The theater keeps approximately 20% of the ticket purchase price. (for an average movie, on occasion studios have a deal to take 100% of the ticket sales for the first week) As the weeks go on, they get to keep more, but less people are buying. So the majority of their profit, which pays employees, bills etc., comes from candy sales. Some theaters put advertising before the movies to help keep the cost of concessions a little lower. We generally save up before we go, or eat right before going. We only go to the movies once or twice a year, so it's not a big thing.

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I'm shocked. I read all the responses and am amazed at the vast number of parents who are willing to teach their children (by example or by explanation) that rules are OK to break. Are these the same parents that sneak older children into events at youth prices? Are these the parents who defiantly speed and ignore traffic rules that they don't think are reasonable? Are these the parents that sign forms for school and say their children spent certain periods of time doing homework that they never did? Are these parents who adjust their taxes (pad donation amounts, don't include "under the table" income)? Then these are parents who are raising children that will grow up to believe that dishonesty is acceptable.

Listen to the news of the day - politicians, business people, athletes, the big banks. Look at Madoff, Goldman Sachs, Mark Magwire, etc. etc. etc. Unless parents are willing to raise children who are honest, these types of stories will continue to be a part of our society.

To choose to teach your children that rules are OK to be broken as long as you can justify your actions is abominable. Wake up and do what is right.
Someone loses when you make these decisions. That includes the businesses, your children and you lose, because you have children whose views of you are tempered by the fact that you are not an honest person.

Specifically, your other options in these situations include: eat first, eat later (children don't starve to death by spending 2 hours at the movies). Buy only what you can afford and split it among the children. Buy nothing, it's not healthy food anyway. If you want to make a statement - rent movies to watch at home (and eat all you want) or do something different - go to a park, play board games, etc.

My husband says that I am honest to a fault which sounds impossible. My Mother raised my to be honest and we've done the same with our children. Do your children and your society a favor. It needs to start somewhere.

To N.S. You have a wise step-daughter. I'm glad to see that you are planning to implement different ways of dealing with these issues. It's a great start. Most of my comments were for the parents who responded. I was very surprised.

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I agree with Denise. I have always done this!

If she is making a big deal about it, then you should "follow the rules". Don't bring the extra candy, and she will have to be okay with just popcorn. My real downfall is the drink. I drink seltzer water, which most places can't do, and if they do, they charge me for the full price soda. I realize that it is a small thing to cheat on, but it could make quite an impression on her, especially if she is already following suite.

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i would respond that it's important to know the rationale behind the rules (and the difference between rules and laws.) bringing food or drink into a gymnasium is a rule that applies to everyone and it's because a gymnasium is NOT a place set up to deal with food. there's no one allotted to clean up food or drink spills and trash. it's the wrong venue for it. movie theaters do allow food, but are blatantly attempting to extort ridiculously high levels of profit on their own sales. i'd much prefer to purchase snacks there, but when their prices are so stupidly out of touch with 'real cost' they are gouging, and that's not okay. and when it's age-appropriate, i would tie that lesson to greater situations like health care and insurance companies, and businesses who make 2000% profit but whose wacky accounting practices dictate that not making 3000% profit is actually a 1000% loss.
thoughtful rational analysis of the situation can help each family decide what policy lines up with their own standard of ethics and morality.

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Here is another thought, We only eat sugar-free candy in our house. Is it fair to say that my kids cannot enjoy a treat along with the other kids just because the theater doesnt sell sugar-free options??? I DONT THINK SO!!!Is it fair to say that I cannot enjoy my sugar-free caramel latte at the theater because they don't sell coffee??? I DONT THINK SO!!!
I tend to feel a little guilty abot "sneaking" these things in, but the fact is that if they sold healthy alternatives, I would most likely buy from them....
I also invited a bunch of friends of my daughter's to the movies and one family has 4 small girls. They cannot afford to buy snacks at the theater, should their girls have to go without snacks, or miss the movie altogether because of the high price???
I can't say that it is the most ethical choice, but I do what is right for my kids. It sounds like you do to. Thanks for posting this question. It was a good one!

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.

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When my son and I go to the movies we always take water and snacks and buy popcorn to share. Our theatre doesn't have any signs posted that say's you can't take anything in yourself. If they did have the signs though, I would definitely abide by the rules.

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Well, I try to take a balanced approach. Going to the movies for our family of 4, buing popcorn, drinks and/or candy is way out of our budget. It is way over $50 during a matinee time and we just don't have that kind of fun money. I try to compromise. We buy tickets for the movie at Costco and buy popcorn and 1 drink at the theater. I take in candy and bottles of water. I honestly don't feel I am stealing anything from them when I can buy 2 cases of soda at walmart this week for almost the cost of a large drink at the movie. I just wonder where is the line that people will just stop buying popcorn and soda because of the cost.

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I almost ALWAYS bring in stuff! I have a daycare and will treat them to a movie every now and then and I have a big purse and will bring in lunchables for them to snack on haha. They charge WAY too much money! It should be illegal what they charge! I do sometimes buy the pop corn, but hey! At least we are buying their tickets! Which are expensive too!

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The only rules that are "okay" to break are ethical ones, in my opinion. I'm not saying I don't break rules. I do and I'm not proud of it. But you asked, and this is my opinion. Eating candy at the movie theater is not a necessity. Your children are lucky enough to have parents that can afford to take them, which is more than many children can say. Eat the candy before or after if you can't afford to buy it there. If you're so intent on setting good examples for your kid, stick with your own "rule."

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Well here is my answer..there is no law that prevents you from bringing outside goodies with you. And if you are taking the family and expect to buy goodies it becomes a hefty price to enjoy a movie...

The Gym is a different story. It has nothing to do with dollars and everything to do with sticky floors that people have to work out on...it is respect for others in this case...kinda like cleaning the kitchen couters after you use it.

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It is so expensive to bring your kids to the movies nowadays I have to agree with you I've done it also especially if I have a boatload of kids with me. It is not a crime so don't beat yourself up about it. and I would explain to your stepdaughter why you did it we all know those treat bags from school have the time get thrown out anyway, right.Costs me almost 50$ to take my kids to the show and they wonder why profits are down we just don't go as often as we like to. M. C Enjoy a great day.

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I just wanted to add that we bring our own drinks and candy b/c we do not want to buy the sizes our movie theater offers. They offer only large and super large sizes of everything! Our son is only 6yrs old and doesn't need that much sugar! If they had a small or kids size drinks and candy I would definetly reconsider but for now we stick to buying popcorn (also huge!) and bring our own drinks and candy.

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I always bought Necco wafers at the drugstore when I was a kid and snuck them into the theater. To me, it was a lesson in managing my own money, and I am very good at it now (I am 40), and I don't steal songs or movies from other people's CDs and DVDs. I turned out great, with a great set of morals and 2 college degrees. Bringing snacks into a movie when I was 8 did not have that great of an impact on my life's morals. That being said, I might make this a lesson about healthy snacks, since I rarely see any of these being sold at the concessions. I would much rather my child bring her own healthy snack vs. following the crowd and buying junk because that is the "rule".

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I worked at a movie theater as a manager- and I can tell you that the theaters only make $0.50 to $1 per movie ticket they sell. They actually can't even break even without the concessions. Concessions are the only way they make money. Yes- they cost a lot more than if you bought them anywhere else- but if you want to keep enjoying going to the movie theater- then they have to make money- and that is through their expensive concessions.

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Now a stay at home mom, but I worked as a theatre manager for close to 15 years...here's how it works -
90% of ticket price goes directly to studios, most of the remaining 10% pays the distributor for leasing the film. Your local theatre literally makes only pennies off the tix. Staffing, maintenance, upkeep, rent is paid out of the ridiculous prices paid at concession. We knew people were sneaking things in and in general only said something if they were being obvious (tote bag of 2 litre sodas sloshing around, LOL) because we understand that it's expensive... just please don't leave your trash on the floor for the employees to pick up. :)

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The area we live in (columbia, MD) doesn't say anything, in fact most people with little ones do bring in their own and no one has said anything. I will take 12 kids to the $1 movies in the summer, each Wednesday and I will bring my own. It all works out!

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Buy popcorn in the large size and bring baggies to share. Buy a large drink and bring little cups to share. Buy one package of m&m and put on top of the popcorn to share. JMO

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I'm not saying it's right or wrong (I've done it, too) but I thought it might be interesting to share this: When I was in college I worked at a movie theatre. My best friend (also my supervisor) was doing some form of project and did a lot of research into our theatre. We were both surprised to learn that concessions prices are as high as they are because that's really the only place the theatre makes any revenue; tickets only pay for the films! Theatre bills, wages, cleaning expenses, etc. are all paid by candy and popcorn sales. It doesn't mean I don't still bring my own candy, but it does prompt me to at least buy a popcorn and soda when I go to the movies.

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Paying for the ticket is the requirement, purchasing their snacks is a CHOICE. If the theaters have followed a business model that has all of their profit built in to an optional purchase, again, that is a CHOICE they made as business operators. Since it is a standard practice in the industry, it seems to be a safe bet that is is paying off. No movie thearter I go to has a rule about bringing in your own food. I think the idea that it is "sneaking" is just misplaced guilt. That anyone believes they must purchase ANY thing from the theater consession to feel "justified" seems ridiculous to me.

Bring your apples, water or candy, clean up after yourself and enjoy the movie you paid to see. Your SD, and all our children, are going to question why one set of rules does not apply to every situation. It means they are paying attention and learning that one size does not fit all, life is not black and white, it is gray. Teach them that they should follow the rules and question why the rules are in place, respectfully and within the bounds of reason.

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Personally I do not think our Theater Prohibit bring in your own. I have never seen it posted. And well I have never seen anyone kicked out for doing it. Now people may assume it is but I don't think it really is unless it is posted otherwise.

$19 for a tub of popcorn is insane I don't think a silo of popcorn cost that much. The cheapest we got for a small size was $10 not $5 I guess many of you live in smaller towns LOL.

If they wanted people to spend more money on the concession they would charge less. Not to many healthy choice there.

And Frankly Theater Popcorn is loaded with saturated FATS that are not good for anyone 1,000s of calories.

Also Movie theater many of them anyways are no infiltrated by Advertising, form Ford, the Navy recruiters,Network TV show ads, Local businesses and I know Marketing and I am sure Ad Space is at Premium prices. I miss the days of being able to watch Trivia and more and not have to deal with Ads but I believe that to be a viable Option for Theater to create more revenue. To claim they only make money off concession now is not correct unless of course your theater do not run tons of ads before the show lucky You :-)

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My question is what do you do if you has a family that only east healthy snacks? And our kids do not drink soda or slushes or juice. Movie popcorn can have over 98 grams of fat and 1250 calories. In our case the theather offers no options for snack items. So we will bring in carrot/celery, and hummus with the kids cover cups. I have no issue because we have no options at the counter.

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Sometimes we do sneak snacks and drinks into the theater. It is expensive enough just to take a family of five for a treat. Then you have to pay more than the ticket to get snacks for everyone.

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You would think that everything that could have been said has been said. Not yet. I submit this:

I want to emphasize the ridiculousness of calling this "stealing." It meets no definition of stealing.

If the sign is posted, then it is breaking a company rule. When people have rules, they usually have to have a "or else" factor. Should be posted. Bet they don't ever pull a patron for that. But then we are faced with the honor system. Hmmm, I don't sneak in candy but if I haven't had time to eat dinner and they don't have any meal choices, or maybe only questionable hot dogs, then I will put a sandwich and chips and water in my purse. I don't feel guilty. They don't sell it and my blood sugar can't take sugar and carbs only.

I would wonder however if their rule miught be unenforceable in a court of law because they discriminate on what they sell. No choices for healthy, sugarfree candy, etc.

And is it really still defensible that they mark prices up so high. Does anyone really know if this research is current on how they need all that money to make a decent profit? I think even the popcorn and soda prices are astronomical where we live. Show me the numbers.

But, to me, the last word on it all is to not to teach your kids that candy and videos naturally go together. If you always want candy, is it because your parent always bought it for you? The right choice might be: We shouldn't eat food just because we're watching a movie.

Popcorn is a fun tradition for movies and since you can buy it without extra butter and a smaller amount of salt, then we're down to the money part. If you can afford it, you can get it and split it. If you can't, show willpower and don't. That's a good lesson for the kids, no? Anyway, do you serve popcorn at home everytime you watch a movie on TV?

One last thought: I know a man who is overweight. It is affecting his health. He likes to eat chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, and a salad with a fat salad dressing for dinner before movies. He should be stuffed by now, right? Wrong. He goes to the movie and heads directly to get the largest popcorn and soda they have. He doesn't split it so he eats all the way through the movie. Bet he does the same thing at home or he wouldn't have a really large tummy that gets larger each and every year. You don't want those traditions.

If more people would stop eating from the movie, and if they need the revenue, they would have to find out what would sell. (Oh, I know! I know! Something affordable. Some healthier selections. Sugar free candy. Some things maybe that aren't food items! Like those little movie toys that you get free with a MacDonald kids meal.)

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I find it funny how many people say it's wrong, but then what they do is ok. Angela D. says it's always wrong to bring in food/snacks, but then brings in her own water. They sell water, so that is just as wrong as taking food.

We take some snacks that they don't sell, with food allergies there is never a choice, and we take cheese and cracker snacks for the babies, but we do buy popcorn and drinks and my oldest gets whatever she wants. I've never seen a sign saying not to at any theater, nor has anyone ever said anything, nor would I care if they did. Same with Disneyland or even restaurants. I think making a big deal of any of this is just silly.

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Well yes it is not good, and I'll tell you why. As someone who works in the film industry I know how the system works. The fact is that the actual theatre itself, your favorite one that you go to, makes so little on each ticket sale to keep their theatre running, they actually get by just by selling the concession goods. So if you like having a movie theatre in your area please do support them and keep them there by buying what ever you can, to share or whatever. The producers get a big chunk of each ticket sold, film co., etc. There are actually spotters to watch all.

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The gray areas are so hard with kids! and this is a great example. I don't think it is up there with "stealing", but it is breaking a rule. I agree with the people who said we should teach our kids about rules and laws and how we have a choice, but then must deal with the consequences of our choices. My son works at our local AMC and he will vouch for the fact that the theater only breaks even on the cost of the movie ticket. All their profit comes from food and drink. I sort of get the impression that most people get their food at the theater because it is very convenient, as opposed to making a special trip to the story to get a cheaper version, but maybe there are more out there breaking the rules than I am aware of! I think we should be concerned about manners in a theater, whether you buy food there or sneak your M&Ms in once in a while, why do most people think it is OK to leave their trash all over the aisles?!? Not to mention sticky gum everywhere The theater makes it really easy to pick up after yourself by putting big trash bins at the exits. Maybe the cost would come down if they did not need to pay staff for the hours it takes cleaning up after rude, messy customers!! I think it would be great if customers lobbied for healthier choices for the parents concerned about the junky treats. Maybe they would see a rise in their sales....Who knows??? Personally, going to the movies is a every once in a while treat, so a little junk foods adds to the special treat! In general, I don't think theaters are out there with food spies, trying to catch rule breakers. I think they put the signs up because they would prefere that we buy their food instead, because that is how they stay in business.
In praise of the theaters, one of our local theaters was so great when we brought my Girl Scout troop to see a movie. We could not get a ticket discount, because it was the first week of the movie run, but the manager helped me figure out the least expensive way to feed the crowd. Any time you buy the large size of popcorn or drink, you can get free refills. The manager gave us small cups to divvy up the drinks and corn for each girl. he said there was no problem if I wanted to bring in the big "Costco size" bag of candy, since buying their candy would have put us way over the budget. It was a great experience. In general, the owner/management want your business. It never hurts to ask for help/accommodations when needed. while I don't think this whole issue is something that earth shattering, maybe people should budget for thier movie outings, and make the whole experience a special occasion...snacks and all.

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Well, if you want to follow the rules, then you pay the price. I think that the theatres put those signs up to make money, we all know that. $8 soda and $10 popcorn? Outrageous, totally profit for them. So you can do one of 3things, 1) buy stuff there and go broke, 2) bring in a candy bar or box of candy for the children, 3)go without.
You are not bringing in a hot dog or a burger, or your own 2 litre bottle of soda here. Sometimes you need to explain the facts of greed to the kids and they can use their own judgement too.

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Change your approach, follow the rule at the theater, but let your SD use her allowance to pay for the snacks if she wants any. Then maybe she'll understand the difference between the rules set up at the gym versus that of the theater. At the same time teaches her about the value of money!

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Seems to me that the problem could be solved for both parties - the theatre and the patrons, without doing anything dishonest.

Since, from reading these posts, the money the theatre uses to pay its employees and for upkeep, etc. comes from the high-priced snacks and beverages, they depend on the high price to cover them there.

Instead, maybe they could raise the price of the ticket by $1.00 more or so, and take that extra money to pay for the expenses. Everyone is going to be buying the ticket, but not everyone is going to be buying the snacks, especially when they are ridiculously expensive.

As for the snacks, offer healthy options, like fruit salads (the kind they have at Chic Fil-A and McDonalds) and other choices, along with the unhealthy stuff. I have always wished that the theatre would offer low-fat popcorn (I know, it's not as good, but it is better for you and you can eat a lot more of it, guilt-free). They could offer the almost calorie-free flavorings to go along with the popcorn.

If they lowered the cost of the snacks by 60%, along with offering healthier options, there would be more people buying snacks, fewer people sneaking them in, and they would make a bit more on the ticket prices. People would pay about the same after all was said and done, but they would feel better about the experience. Going to the movies is a treat, and very few people go to a $1.00 matinee without buying ANYTHING from the concession as well as not sneaking anything in at all. Who wants to go to a movie with nothing but the free drinking fountain water, if that's even available?

If you are an honest customer, here's the old way:
4 matinee tickets at $5.00 each-$20
1 large popcorn to share-$5 (plus 1,500+ calories and lots of fat grams)
1 large soft drink or bottled water to share-$5
1 candy to share-$5

A possibly better way?
4 matinee tickets at $6.00 each-$24
2 small low-fat popcorns-$2 each - $4
2 small bottled waters, diet lemonade or sodas -$2 each - $4
2 candies, small salads or fruit cups - $2 each - $4

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Two local theaters offer popcorn with real butter, HFCS-free drinks, and even, bless them, coffee :) I enthusiastically support their concession stand. However, I will continue, with a guilt-free conscience, to bring our own "health food junk food" -- organic snacks and drinks and filtered water from home -- to the megaplex until they begin to sell snacks without hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup. The issue for me isn't as much the outrageous cost as that they're charging an outrageous cost for total garbage. I think it's a great opportunity to talk to my 12-yr-old stepson about rules and why they're made and nuances thereof. (In an age-appropriate way, of course. For younger kids it's confusing...)

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I don't think bringing candy into the movie theaters is stealing. After all, you are not sneaking in to watch the movie, you are paying to see it. As for candy, it is a concession stand. If you can't afford the candy that they sell, and think you are being good for going without, what difference does it make? They didn't make a profit off you anyways. I think I agree with it being a "choice" to buy candy. If you were to reach accross the candy counter and take the candy and not pay for it then that is stealing. Recording videos and music off the internet that you did not pay for is stealing too. Bringing candy that you legally paid for at another store is not stealing. As for rules, the worst they could do is kick you out. I would teach my kids that some rules are there for a reason, as for bringing food or drink into a gym, they want to keep the gym nice and don't want sticky food or drink on the floor. It is a respect for using there facilities, not so that they can make a profit from you.

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I love the topic. N.S., I think you have answered it yourself nicely with some great viewpoints.

I hear what you're saying. I agree it's not stealing, but it certainly might be considered unethical. I think the key is how you explain it to your daughter in terms of ethics versus values. Your value to save money versus the ethics of not following someone's rules when you're using their services and facilities. I also would look at whether or not you have to *sneak* to do the behavior. If your daughter notices that you're sneaking it might be teaching her the wrong lesson. I've been teaching the difference to my kids between sneaking around for a surprise birthday party versus sneaking to do something that we're afraid of getting caught at and feeling bad about. To my kids I say in general--if you have to sneak around to do it, is it something you shouldn't be doing because you're afraid of getting caught and dealing with the consequences? If it is the latter, is it worth it?

ps. By the way, I will often bring in a snack for myself that is not sugary, not carby. So I'm not saying this is wrong or right. But I figure I can always tell whomever questions it that I'm on a medical diet which is true in my case.

There are several theaters that don't care if you bring candy in, as they're just happy to have customers who are buying tickets to see movies in this economy. And they make up for it in popcorn.

i know I'm jumping into this really late, but there are movie theaters who allow you to bring in your own snacks. Our AMC theaters here in Los Angeles lets patrons bring their own food; my theory is that they would rather have a paying customer bring in their own snacks than not have them there at all...

In response to all the posts about the "poor movie theaters who have to make a profit..." I really need to comment. I get that they don't make much (key word here) money on ticket sales. I get that they have overhead. I get that they are a business and not a community service. HOWEVER, making a profit and gouging your customer are two different things. Taking ticket prices out of the equation -- call it even. Still, they're charging $5.00 for a bucket of popcorn that cost them pennies. $4.00 for a soda which, again, cost them pennies. $5.00 for candy that I can buy at Target for $1.50 (they're making a profit, too and it's not even the cheapest place to buy it!) That's taking advantage of a forced clientele. It seems every bit as wrong as sneaking in snacks, to me, and I have a very hard time feeling sorry for them.

It occurs to me, the way to make a profit is volume. If they would lower the prices to say, a markup of three times the cost instead of 10 times, more people would buy from the concession stand and they would make more money through volume. Fewer people would sneak in snacks and they win. Simple economics. If it were more affordable for families to go to the movie and buy concessions, they would.

Having said all that, when my children were young, we did not sneak candy into a theater where signs were posted. We only brought candy in -- openly -- to movie theaters where there was no sign warning against it. And we never brought in soda or popcorn. We were firm in setting a good example about being honest and not bending rules. For the reasons you have just discovered: It's too hard to sort out the gray areas. It was best to be rigid with our "follow the rules" approach.

We sometimes bring candy into movie theaters now -- now that all of our children are adults - we do it openly, whether there is a sign posted or not. It has been the extremely rare occasion that were prevented from bringing it in. But we also buy popcorn and soda at the concession stand. A win/win, in my opinion. As a side note: We almost never see movies the first week they're out. We wait for crowds to die down. So they're even making money on our tickets. I feel the movie theater gets enough of my money. I'm not worried about them making a profit after dropping $50+ at their establishment in my two hours there. Yes. I have the option of not going, not buying concessions, etc. And sometimes I exercise those options. When I choose to bring candy, they certainly have the right to stop me. And they sometimes do.

Oh, my goodness, you people have to be kidding me if you think bringing food into theaters is stealing and unethical! I don't believe our theaters have signs posted saying that we cannot. I am a very honest person, but it's never crossed my mind that this manner of thinking is considered "sneaking." I cannot afford to buy theater snacks. Besides that, most are candies and unheathy snacks that I don't want my children eating anyway. I save money by attending matinees, and I don't really feel like blowing the money I've saved on junk food. We can go a couple of hours without eating, but if my children or myself get hungry I give them a snack that I've brought along.

I was in line at a dollar theater to puchase my tickets and two teenage girls were in front of me. They had brought their own drinks and candy. The person taking tickets told them that they better make sure and take out their own trash. She was firm with them and told them she would hunt them down if she had to pick up the wrappers from the candy they had brought in. She then got a little nicer and said that they don't care if you bring in your own food and drinks but that they just don't want to pick up the garbage from what you bring in. I don't know if dollar theaters and regular theaters have that same policy or not. The theater where I heard that was the Sandy 9 theater.

We always take our stainless steel water bottles with us to the theater. We have them in insulated carriers which have straps so we wear them out there where all can see. No one has ever stopped us no matter which theater we go to. We always buy and share popcorn and I would LOVE to dive into a Dr. Pepper along with it but it is so bad for you! I wish I could make it through a two-hour movie without the popcorn but that is one weakness I have yet to master. I guess we ride the yellow stripe on this one! =^)

I would still bring in the candy as the movie theatre is definitely still making a great profit on the tickets and popcorn.

I wouldn't go so far as to label it stealing. I would call it an ethical debate instead. And here's my thought on ethics-business-capitalism:

It is all about supply and demand baby. If you cannot compete for and win your customers' business, then your business model is wrong. You can either change you business model or fail.

So what does that mean exactly? It means if enough of a theater's customers say "No" to price gouging by bringing in their own food, then theaters have a few options:
A.) Change their prices so that they can effectively compete with other candy sellers. Seriously, you tell me why the bottle of water cannot be $ .99 just like it is at the convenience store!?
B.) Live with it.
C.) Jack up the price of things people find difficult to bring in (i.e. popcorn or nachos or icees) to make up for their preceived loss in the soda-water-candy area.
D.) Similar to C.) they can add things like video games, etc. to create new revenue streams.
E.) Start frisking their customers and turning their business into a police state. Either their customers will think that is cool and keep coming back or their customers will find a competing theater that treats them better.

Which brings me right back to the ideals of capitalism.

I was a manager of a movie theatre for several years and if i went to a competitor to see a film i brought my candy and never bought their popcorn. I would though buy a slush my weakness. their cost on a large tup of popcorn is about .25 cents and the candy they make about 2.50 on each piece. sode is about .05 cents. that is where they make their money.not on the ticket price. the movie industry set the fee for the tickets depending on the area. the theatre is lucky to make $2.00 on a $9.00 ticket. and as for the NO FOOD OR DRINK at the gym that is for the safety and cleanliness of the facility totally different.

I know the theater makes most of its money off concessions. That doesn't change the fact that I'm not going to pay them $4 for the same candy I can get for $1.50 at the supermarket, even if I don't bring my own.
I buy a large popcorn. Period. Most movie theaters have a contract with Coca-Cola, which means they sell Dasani, which has salt added to it. I don't drink fountain sodas, and I don't drink Dasani. I always carry a reusable bottle of water and granola bars from home in my purse when I go out, because my car doesn't have a/c, and I'm not going to be buying drinks and fast food all day while I'm out and about.


I never thought of bringing candy because we usually just got popcorn. However, my girlfriend always brought candy in due to the fact that she has 4 boys and popcorn and candy for everyone is crazy money.
If they are still purchasing popcorn ,drinks etc. giving the vendor money I don't see a problem with it.
Although I personally don't do it , I feel it is a lesson to our children on how to save and purchase wisely.

Sometimes you don't have a choice.. both my son and I have wheat, and dairy free diets because of intolerances, which rules out buttered popcorn. In addition, he is allergic to tartrazine (common food colouring found in most theatre candy) and there's dairy in the chocolate so we have to be extra careful..
For those that don't have special diets? Well, one of my best friends is a single Mom.. she used to buy at the movie theatre before the separation, but she now alternates depending on how many paycheques in the month and I don't blame her one bit.

Heck yes bring your own candy... use pieces of all of these answers to explain to the 8 year old why.
If you can afford theater prices, then the candy can be purchased there... otherwise, a bag of swedish goldfish and a candy bar in your pocket is not immoral... I am a rule follower and law abider... but I have candy in my pocket to subsidize what I buy at the theater.
your child is 8 years old and understands logic... kids are very savvy these days... explain the financial situation and the "rules"... let her choose even.

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