So some of you out there may be embarrassed to admit that you like to save money. Some of you relish in building an image that money is of no consequence to you. You walk into the movie theater, buy your ticket, and hurry straight over to the concession stand to purchase a $10 popcorn and an $8 coke to wash it down.
I hope you realize that you’re being laughed at. You know those hidden camera shows? Yeah well, attached to those cash registers and employee name plaques are little cameras recording you. And on the other side of those cameras are very thrifty people who have paid $2 for an evening of watching people throw their money away two hours after complaining to their friend that they don’t make enough money.
The room where these watchers watch have vintage sofas, water fountains and a complimentary peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And they laugh! Boy, do they laugh. “For candy,” they cackle. “Five dollars for candy. And look, look, the guy is actually going to pay it!”
Besides comfort, sofas also provide a soft landing spot for the numerous times that they will roll over onto their sides, laughing. They laugh so hard that they almost miss the next customer’s order. “Tortilla chips with melted cheese for how much?” Laughing. “It doesn’t even have protein in it. They’ll be hungry again halfway through the film.” More laughing.
If you are one of these schmucks, I am sorry you weren’t raised right. No, no, it’s not your fault. Don’t take it personally. I blame your parents.
Now let’s be clear. I rarely ever pay full price for a movie, meaning I rarely go to theaters. I try to reserve that for films that I find truly special in some way. But when I do go, my preparation includes more than brushing my hair. Everything starts with a tote bag. We pop popcorn at the house and bag them. We fill empty water bottles with juice. We pack some chips for good measure. And we’re off.
Oh and on a really good day, when I’m just showing off, I’ll even pack a sandwich.
Everything has always gone well, until my last trip to the theater. This is last night. I’ve got my purse full of goodies and a jacket to top the pile. I hand the guy our tickets; he asks to search my bag for security purposes. Oh. Okay. There’s another customer standing by searching through his phone for something. This is going to be fun. I try and make a little small talk; I smile a lot.
I have no clue whether it’s even “illegal” to bring our own food and drink, but I feel like a criminal nevertheless. A criminal that’s been caught in the act. I open my bag and both of our eyes scan the contents. There’s the huge Voss water bottle filled with fruit punch. There are the chips. There’s the popcorn.
I’m positive my face has turned red. It’s literally one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. This is absolutely not ladylike. We stand holding our breath. The young man says, “You’re all good to go.” Thank freaking goodness! Me and the kids go scurrying off whispering and giggling together, our hearts still racing.
The kid will probably laugh about us with his friends later, but we had the last laugh when we enjoyed our movie with everything we needed– for free.