I went to the cinema today wiht the children and paid somewhere around Â£25 for the tickets. It was just after lunchtime and we were all peckish so we thought a few bags of popcorn and a drink each would tide us over. I normally don’t indulge in this kind of snack because I consider it to be so unhealthy, but I was weary and felt like a lazy compulsive.
We queued for a moment until my eleven-year-old daughter turned to me holding around 60p in her hand and said “here you are daddy, this is my contribution – it’s all I’ve got”. Naturally, my heart melted and I told her to keep her precious pennies. I casually glanced to the menus above the serving area, not really thinking about cost so much as content when I saw with some horror the amount of money that popcorn commands.
This is surely a mistake. A small-ish bag of popcorn and a medium sized drink cost more than the cinema ticket. Â£6.30.
Now, I know that cinemas make some money on the peripheral goods, like sweets, ice-creams and so on. What I didn’t realise was they are attempting to asset-strip every parent who wants to give their kids a small treat. I may have been weary, but I was thinking straight and couldn’t believe what i was reading. Pop-corn has got to be one of the cheapest products to create. Coke is not all that much more to produce but in the size it was being offered it is over six times more expensive than petrol.
So, being in Bluewater (Dartford crossing area of the UK), there are any number of shops who will sell you snacks. We walked away (my daughter’s request, not mine) and found some sweets and a drink elsewhere. The entire cost for all of us came to a little over the cost of one at the cinema.
But then you have to run the gauntlet of ticket checkers who see whether you are carrying food and drink in, of course. Apparently you are not allowed to do so. Ah well, over we went, goodies stuffed into our pockets, looks of innocence all round. The tickets were handed over as a batch, stacked one on top of the other. The young girl simply took the lot, tore them in half and handed them back without stopping to count or check them. In we went to “screen 4, downstairs”.
Now, I like to think I am a reasonably straightforward and honest chap, but I was drawn into any number of thoughts about how I could have got into the cinema with two tickets and a truckload of food, saving a fair amount of money in the process. Dark thoughts kept recurring to me all the way downstairs and into screen 4, until the film started.
Even darker thoughts then occurred to me as I realised I was in another low quality film. Dull, dull, dull. Something with Keanu Reeves and the day the earth stood still. Absolute nonsense, and not worth watching at all. Even my normally very easy to please daughter came out of that one saying we should have gone to see a different film. Ah well. Beleagured parents everywhere take note – buy fewer tickets and save a few quid – spend that money in a news agent and don’t even contemplate popcorn from the cinema, and always read the reviews of films before you go to see them.