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Doing the Right Thing

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Today’s trip to the movie theatre was an expensive one.

$28.00 tickets (1 adult, 2 children)
$12.75 — water
$18.50 — snacks

But hey. I make it to the theatre about once a year. So while I’m not complaining, I did register my sticker shock on Twitter. Among the responses was this one:

I carry a big book bag n sneak drinks in. Justified since I am NOT paying 5x for a bottle of vitamin water! I do buy corn tho.

I read it. And I reread it. And then I started in, gently, with a bit of rabbinic rebuke. You see, it is against theatre policy to bring in outside food and drink. The fact that this individual is sneaking in the drinks is evidence that she knows what she is doing is wrong.

The prices are outrageous. And the theatre policy is self-serving. But no one is forcing you to shell out that kind of money. Because it is possible to watch a movie without eating and drinking. And, of course, no one is forcing you to go to the movies in the first place.

“What’s the big deal?” you ask? It’s stealing. It’s unethical. It’s immoral. Your kids are watching. And God is watching.

The net-net? The Twitter conversation ended with this:

My days of sneaking in vitamin water have ended.

And don’t get me started on sneaking into a second movie when only paying for one.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Elisa permalink
    Thursday, 8 April 2010 6:51 am

    This happened to me over spring break. I snuck in a bottle of water w/out thinking about it. I still bought the kids pretzel bites for $6.75, but when my daughter asked why I snuck in the bottle – I felt guilty. I won’t do that again.

    BTW – if you wanted to save a little money see the movie without the 3D. It was just as good! 🙂

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 8 April 2010 9:53 pm

      We saw it in 2D because Beernut felt that the experience would be too intense in 3D. I agree that it was visually stunning without the additional dimension.

  2. Thursday, 8 April 2010 7:18 am

    Related question – what if they don’t have the snacks you need? (I.E., they don’t sell kosher snacks.)

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 8 April 2010 9:56 pm

      While they don’t sell kosher hot food at most concession stands, there are hekhshers abound on the packaged snacks.

      I could more easily see a health issue for, say, a diabetic. I imagine that a doctor’s note or an advance conversation with the theatre manager would illicit a waiver that would permit one to bring in certain items.

  3. Sarah permalink
    Thursday, 8 April 2010 7:55 am

    Hi – I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and completely enjoy it! I have a question about this post though. I’m strongly against bottled water on an ethical level — it’s bad for the world on so many levels! So while I would not every want/need to sneak in snacks, I feel no personal compunction not to “sneak” in water if I want it. I always have my own, reusable water bottle with me – I probably would bring it in without even meaning to.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 8 April 2010 9:57 pm

      Good for you! Drinking fountains are located adjacent to the lavs. You can fill up there.

      So glad that you shared your thoughts. Hope to “chat” with you again soon.

  4. Thursday, 8 April 2010 8:45 am

    I am not convinced. There is a big difference between “wrong” (which has a moral dimension) and merely “forbidden.”

    The theatre made an arbitrary rule. The rule was not given by G-d, was not imposed for the benefit of theatregoers, was not made for reasons of public health, nor for the public good. The rule is simply made to create business conditions under which some people will buy concessions at an outrageous markup.

    I see nothing *immoral* about declining to honor this arbitrary rule. I also see nothing immoral with the theatre asking me to leave, if they notice the violation. They own the property, and that’s their right. Therefore, it may not be *prudent* to violate the rule, or to flaunt my personal snacks, if I want to be sure of seeing the entire movie. But that’s a practical matter, not a moral question.

  5. Thursday, 8 April 2010 11:18 am

    I know where you are coming from and why. But I am still bringing my stuff in, can’t do it any other way. Not justifying it or asking for special dispensation, just doing it.

  6. Thursday, 8 April 2010 11:19 am

    I’m with you, I hate to sneak around not only because it feels “wrong” but because it seems like a bad thing to teach my kids.

    There are some theaters that don’t mind if you bring in outside snacks. If it’s not posted, I don’t think that it’s inappropriate to bring my own. A theater that we regularly frequent just put up a new sign that says “no outside food and drink.” I think it’s crummy because there’s a starbucks next door (it’s in a mall) and I usually get a cup of coffee and bring it in with me. But no more…because how could I read that sign with my kids and then blatantly disregard it?!

    Still, it seems silly since they don’t sell coffee in the theater. 🙂

  7. Thursday, 8 April 2010 3:31 pm

    Yes, we’re talking about the difference between being immoral/unethical and violating arbitrary rules. For instance, the rules most public buildings have against photographing their exteriors. Sometimes — and not necessarily in this instance — you have to show rules are wrong by violating them. Most horrible comparison ever: Rosa Parks.

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