Can a movie theatre legally keep you from bringing food in?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by SurfDoctor, Nov 12, 2014.

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  1. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Here is a very good reply from another board I frequent:

    It does all make you question the whole approach. If the need is to sell food to generate income, and people are smuggling food in to avoid buying the expensive crap you're selling, do you a) keep serving the same crap, jack up the prices to try to maintain income as people abandon buying it, leading more people to abandon buying it so you have to jack them up more in a vicious spiral, and start frisking your customers, or
    b) appreciate that the smugglers are telling you that your current approach isn't working, so instead of cracking down on smuggling, maybe you should try to generate income by serving good food at reasonable prices so people don't feel the need to smuggle stuff in?


    It's a big industry, so I assume there are some competent people putting their minds to this, but at the same time history is filled with entire industries that didn't read clear signs and respond well to them, and died.
     
  2. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Tick... tick... tick...

    Surfie-D, how long do you think you can carry around your Orville Redenbacher before someone finds out? Better to just forget about it and buy a legitimate bag of popcorn.
     
  3. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    LOL! Actually, I love movie popcorn and always buy a large. We shared a large on the day they searched my wife's bag. I don't know how they do it, but Orville just can't come close.
     
  4. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    This past summer I went to a movie theatre in Maine (Biddeford) that was basically a restaurant. You are seated around a table and a waitress comes and takes your order for pizza, burgers, etc. It was well done and not especially disruptive to the movie.
     
  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    They have that in Northern Virginia, the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse. It's a second run theater with a fairly simple menu and a full bar. They show movies some nights and have comedians on other nights.
     
  6. GeeBee

    GeeBee Member

    Same thing in Raleigh, NC: Raleighwood
     
  7. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    That sounds like fun.
     
  8. Swoosher

    Swoosher New Member

    I don't think that is fair. You came to the movie theater for the purpose of watching a movie, not for the purpose of buying their food. You should not in any way feel obligated to buy food from a movie theater when you have already purchased a ticket. Also, it is very unfair with the line 'if you can't pay, stay at home.' Totally unfair; what if you have financial problems. It isn't right for you to be obligated to buy food and waste money that you don't have, just for some overpriced snacks. And with your comparison to a restaurant..... you go to a restaurant to eat a meal. You go to a movie theater to watch a movie. They are not the same thing.
     
  9. Swoosher

    Swoosher New Member

    I understand that you are entitled to your opinion, but maybe become more educated on what you are saying. Im sure that other people agree with you on how you shouldn't break the rules, but if you want to enjoy a movie with a snack, and you cannot afford the snacks provided, then maybe bring your own. As long as it doesn't disrupt anyone (loud, smelly, ect) I don't see a problem. Again, your analogy with the restaurants is incorrect. The purpose of a restaurant is to eat a meal. If you want afford a restaurants food , you don't eat there. Not the same with a movie theater. A movie theaters purpose is to watch a movie. You don't go to the movies thinking 'I want a snack right now, so I might as well watch a movie while I'm there'. If you can't afford the food at a movie theater, no one is forcing you to buy it.
     
  10. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    I don't understand why this thread was bumped, but it gave me the opportunity to do one of the things I least like to do in life- reread some of my old posts.

    What was I thinking with my grammar and verbiage? I come off like an alien pretending to be human. I wonder if I still do :emoji_alien:

    Then again, I also wonder if this is a situation similar to hearing your own voice in a recording. It sounds normal to everyone else in the world, but it sounds terrible to yourself.

    It would be a fascinating phenomenon to research.
     
  11. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I believe it's because we all care deeply about movie theatre popcorn and everything to do with it. For example, in my home I have several re-fillable popcorn buckets from the local theatre (about 45 minutes away). I NEVER bring them back to be refilled. Instead I use the buckets to hold little things like my growing collection of pennies, loose nuts and bolts, etc. I used one as part of a gift, putting into it some candy and a set of movie tickets. As for bringing food into the theatre, I do it virtually every time I go. Back in the days when I was still drinking alcohol we would sometimes fill water bottles with wine and just carry it in. Never had a problem.
     
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  12. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    If you're calling for someone to become more educated because they disagree with you on a matter of opinion, then perhaps you should become more educated on the difference between an opinion and a fact.
     
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  13. Swoosher

    Swoosher New Member

    I'm sorry, you are correct. I got opinion and fact confused, and I am sorry. As I am rereading the original comment that I replied to, it was said with opinions. When I said they should become more educated, I meant that they might want to know or realize that there are some people that have issues with money and can't afford the food at a movie theater. I recognized my mistake in wording, and do agree that the way I put it was not how I intended it to be read.
     
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    Well, that de-escalated quickly. :)

    I don't think anyone here is unaware that there are poor people out there, or that concessions at movie theaters have absurdly inflated prices. Two things to consider, though. One, theater owners don't usually make money off ticket sales, that goes to the distributors, so concessions are the theaters' primary revenue stream. Two, movies aren't so long that someone is going to starve to death. I often feed my kids before taking them to the movies to minimize my hit at the concession stand, why can't other people?

    I mean, we're not exactly talking about cutting food stamps here.
     
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  15. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Only if the movie is rated RA.
     
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  16. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    I personally think people should be able to bring in snacks. I don't like the thought of gestapo types purse checks. WTF? My wife brings in little snacks to the movie theater, and we have NEVER been asked to have her purse check. I just seems so intrusive. What are they, the TSA?
     
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  17. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Generally, they can search if they want, they're a private entity and not bound by Fourth Amendment restrictions. If they employ 15 or more people, they're covered by the Civil Rights Act, so they couldn't search a group of teenage boys, Catholics, or African-Americans because they were boys, Catholic or African-American. Even though the Fourth Amendment doesn't apply to private entities, there are some limits to what they can do in a search. Intrusion on seclusion is a tort triggered by one's wrongful intrusion into an area in which another has a reasonable expectation of privacy. While I doubt that tort would give rise to a cause of action if the theater employees searched your bags, given that it's a common way in which to sneak food in, it would certainly prevent the theater from conducting more invasive searches, such as heavy, involved pat downs like people occasionally receive from the TSA employees, strip searches, or the dreaded body cavity search, to uncover concealed food (ahem, don't think I'm going any farther with that train of thought). This tort would also prevent the theater from being able to demand your cell phone so they can go through it looking at your pictures, private messages, etc.
     
  18. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Agreed on this, by the way, I don't like the idea of the theater searching me, either, even though they can legally get away with some types of searches. Don't think I'd go back if they did. I've never seen the purse or pocket checks at the theater, either.
     
  19. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

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