Monday, May 27, 2013

1179 Safety at the Movies

1179 Safety at the Movies

Been to a movie lately?  No?  True of lots of us in the age of pay-per-view, Netflix and those little booths in the supermarkets where you can rent new or nearly new films for a buck just don’t go out like we once did.

But if you have gone, you know that every theater in America has hired the same types who populate airport security.

In fact, it’s well known that the Department of Homeland Security, being ever so respected at the country’s airports has kind of farmed out some of its people and equipment for use at the Bijou.  (Are there really theaters called “The Bijou?”  If so, it’s kind of like naming your dog “Fido” or “Rover.”)

The alleged purpose of all those airport screenings and pat-downs and body cavity searches and x-rays is to keep the sky safe.

At the movies it’s so you don’t try to smuggle in a gun or -- even worse -- your own popcorn.

Hard to believe at today’s prices that the theaters can’t make a buck on admissions.  But there’s tradition.  Like restaurants that lose money on food and make it up on booze, movie houses lose money on admissions and make it up on popcorn and bonbons.

Actually there aren’t any movie houses anymore.  They’re more like movie gated communities.  A dozen mini-theaters where you watch something on a screen that’s smaller than your home TV.  Intimate.

Twelve bucks is a lot to pay for a vat of mediocre popcorn.  So is $5.00 for a Coke or Pepsi or $7.00 for a small carton of bonbons.

“Okay, sir, you’ve passed, please go on in.   But your companion, Ms., has chewing gum in her purse.  You’re going to have to leave that here or throw it away.”

The Transportation Security Administration’s latest report shows that nationwide, it has collected 482 tons of unused chewing gum and lifesavers, 110,000 cans or bottles of soft drinks, 47,000 cans or bottles of beer, 3,000 pounds of microwave popcorn, 14 battery operated microwave ovens and zero terrorists.

This haul would have cost the country’s movie showing industry tens of millions of dollars in profits.  And that excludes the locations that donate their take to food banks and issue concession coupons for five percent discounts on Mason Mints during your next visit.

Shrapnel:

--Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert never stooped so low as to review concession stands.  But had they, the results probably would please no one.  Two thumbs down.

--Does anyone actually eat popcorn while watching pay per view?  Probably there are some people.  But no one’s eating Mason Mints or Dots and Snickers Bars or drinking Mountain Dew Kickstart.

--What is the Netflix equivalent of the movie concession stand?  How about microwave chicken pot pie?  Fits the bill perfectly:  small, expensive, tasteless, salty and difficult to eat without slobbering.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2013

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