AMC Guarantees Upsell Or Your Popcorn Is Free

Bad moviegoers, you haven’t been spending nearly enough on overpriced concessions. Don’t worry though, AMC is going to make you a promise: if they don’t offer you an upsell on your next visit to the concession stand, you’re going to get a free small bag of popcorn.

Reader Abby snapped a photo of AMC’s disingenuous offer while trying to use a coupon for a free small drink. For just $0.50, AMC offered to upgrade her to a medium.

Neither the sign nor the strategy are especially surprising. Movie theaters don’t make their money from ticket sales, which go mostly to studios. They profit by charging $5+ for buckets of popcorn that cost nearly nothing to pop. When people don’t buy enough, movie theaters starve. AMC and Regal already try to force people’s hands by banning outside food. This is just the next sad step down the buttery slope.



Edit Your Comment

  1. Omali says:

    This could work out nicely for the patron.

    If AMC is anything like Regal, their small popcorns will be the size of a bucket.

    • pf3 says:

      The small is truly small and the sizes then grow exponentially.

    • CoachTabe says:

      AMC has, by far, the worst concession size/value ratio among the three chains here in Spokane (Village Center, Regal & AMC). They have the highest prices and the smallest portions. We don’t ever go there – if we do, we go without concessions.

  2. GMFish says:

    How about this promotion, if you don’t know what you want by the time you get to the front of the line, the people behind you get to beat you with baseball bats.

    • Brihunts says:

      Sometimes I wanted to hand out bats to the concessionists while I was the Concessions supervisor. People would take upwards to ten minutes just standing there deciding what they wanted, or would spend all those minutes on the phone and unfortunately we couldn’t just wave them to the side.

      I had one customer try to deck me because I asked him to move to another lane since I was in the middle of counting-down the register at closing time and I was not able to serve him. I love people, honestly I do.

      • The Marionette says:

        There have been people at our theater that will take several minutes staring at the menu and then not know what they want when they get to the front of the line.

        “Do you guys carry icee?”
        “………… no…….. those icee machines that are clearly displayed here are just for show……….”

        In the end I just remember that they’re just another person and a lot of them are pretty ignorant.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Oh god, the memories…

      My favorite (and most annoying) habit of people in concession lines were the ones that would look at you and ask “How much is X?”

      So I’d look at them, turn around and stare at the prices for a little bit, turn back around and tell them. Most often, they’d ask 2 or 3 more times before ordering even though the prices were RIGHT THE FUCK THERE!!! AUGH!

  3. thekevinmonster says:

    I always thought this kind of thing was odd. Like, “if we don’t ask you if you want a copy of your receipt, your food is free!” That almost guarantees I won’t ask, because I’m afraid that I’ll create some sort of scene as management either gets mad at the employee or attempts to back down on their promise.

    • JoeTaxpayer says:

      Exactly – The one time I took advantage of this, it held up the line, everyone behind me grumbling. The manager started yelling at the cashier, and I was the bad guy “dude. I think you got that chick fired, man, I hope you’re proud of yourself.”

      • racshot65 says:

        I wouldn’t feel bad unless your mission in life is not to upset anyone

        I mean I’m not saying you should intentionally be a ass to people but I really don’t care if the people behind me have to wait a few minutes longer if I get my stuff for free

        You’ve gota look out for yourself …

        • Jaws_Victim says:

          THIS. I work in a Jcpenney optical, and our promotion is, if we don’t tell you about our “Sunspot” promotion, you get a complete free pair of custom made prescription sunglasses. That’s a 99$ frame and 250$ pair of lenses…free. I have never given one out, and if the employee’s follow the policy then there won’t be an issue! It’s that simple.

          The reason stuff like this gets implemented is because the company wants the employees to upsell the product, and the employees usually aren’t doing it. They’re making the employee accountable for doing their job the way the company wants you to. Yeah, it kind of sucks. But if you want to be gainfully employed you have to do some stupid stuff sometimes.

          As for customers who want to take advantage of this, uh, you should do so. It’s the policy. If the manager starts to berate the employee and cause a huge scene, then you should complain about the manager to their district manager for not complying with the policy.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            I completely agree. I’ve never worked in retail but it’s been my experience that a good manager never disciplines an employee in front of coworkers or customers. It’s incredibly unprofessional and disrespectful. Real life isn’t like basic training.

            • Kohl's Retail Monkey says:

              Key word- GOOD manager. Where I work, we have a boatload of managers and supervisors. Some of them will pull you aside after the fact and have calm words, but others will go off on you right in front of your co-workers and customers. This happens frequently, as the ones that will do that are more likely to get upset over stupid things.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          That’s a lovely sentiment. How about not being a douche and having some compassion so the cashier, who has to deal with assholes every minute of the day doesn’t get fired over a $.50 upsell? Selling someone out for something so minuscule as a popcorn is one of the most asshat concepts I can imagine.

          Shame on AMC for doing this.

          • Randell says:

            Yes, shame on AMC for forcing their employees to do what is asked of them. I don’t see this as that tough of a request. If the job is too hard for you, maybe you need to look for a new one. The receipt issue is one that helps consumers. There are times a person may need a receipt, but asking makes the cashier act like I asked them to chop off a limb of their first born child. They are saying, our default position is you get a receipt. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

            • bigTrue says:

              People like you make the world a worse place. You probablay say “If the waiter doesn’t like the tips he gets, he should quit!” too.

              Thanks for making things worse for everyone around you with your attitude. Please stop wasting the air for compassionate people and choke on your own tongue, since the world will be a more pleasant place afterword.

              You are scum.

    • evnmorlo says:

      I wouldn’t go near a business that shows such contempt for both customers and employees.

    • dragonfire81 says:

      I am reminded of that Seinfeld episode were Kramer tries to get $100 out of a bank because they didn’t say “hello” to him when he walked up to the teller.

    • FatLynn says:

      The receipt thing is to make sure that an employee keyed the transaction into the register, as opposed to pocketing your cash. If an employee forgets to issue you a receipt as an honest mistake, she is not going to get fired. If she is stealing, she probably is.

  4. notlobjones says:

    Once you tell management, then they’ll just reprimand the cashier that didn’t try to upsell you. So when the guy/girl behind the counter forgets to ask you, think twice about getting the free item. They’re probably making minimum wage and this puts them one step closer to unemployment.

    At least that’s how it’s done at my place of employment.

  5. RickN says:

    Can I give the clerk a bonus if they don’t ask me to buy a bunch of extra stuff that I didn’t order?

    • dragonfire81 says:

      likely not, most retail places won’t allow their employees to accept tips.

    • GrantRyan says:

      No, but you can say “No, thanks” and pay for what you did order. Problem solved in less than two seconds.

      • alaron says:

        When I say “that’s all”, I don’t secretly really want a churro. I mean I gave my order and I want to pay and get on with my day.

  6. Bunkka says:

    I actually got downsold the last couple times I went to an AMC theater. I asked for a large coke, and the cashier(both times) told me that the larges were now larger and that I may want a medium instead.

  7. kurtmac says:

    Mildly related: AMC bought out Kerasotes, who’s Showplace near us was our favorite theater. Clean, good quality, free refills on anything, 5 Buck Club and they seriously kick people out of the theater who are being disruptive. When we moved further away, we still drove the extra 20-minutes to the Showplace because there were no other theaters we liked. The first time I went back since being converted to an AMC, the drop in quality was dumbfounding. Concession prices shot up, concession area and bathrooms seemed unkempt, and they must have replaced all the theater operators because they couldn’t even fit the image on the screen right. Way to go, AMC. /rant

    • Gish says:

      I worked for Kerasotes in my high school days and we were always supposed to ask if you would like the special which was a medium popcorn and 2 medium drinks. Now we weren’t really punished for not doing so but Kerasotes also never offered free concession items for not doing so.

  8. brotheryang says:

    Ehh No thanks i remember when i went and seen avatar the two drinks and popcorn was $20. I think you made plenty off of me.

  9. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    I wouldn’t take them up on this offer. First of all, I hate upselling. Second, I’m not going to get some minimum wage working teenager in trouble over something so stupid.This seems like a ploy for them to find out which employees aren’t upselling.

    My favorite quote from Ghostworld:

    “Hey-could i get a medium 7-up? A medium? Why sir, don’t you know for a mere 25 cents more you can purchase a large beverage? And ya know…(glares at manager) I’m only telling you this because we are SUCH good friends and mediums are only for suckers who don’t know the concept of value.”

    • dg says:

      When they pull this shit, I say “You know what? You’re right. I don’t think that what I wanted was a good enough value, and the higher priced item you’re pushing is even less so. Forget it.” then I walk away.

      I don’t need that crap.

  10. Geekybiker says:

    If snacks were merely convenience store level of rip-off, they’d make alot more money off me. I’ll continue to sneak stuff in rather than pay inflated prices for bad food.

    • Randell says:

      So you accept the fact that stealing is ok? How about you not eat during the time you are in the theater if you do not want their bad food? I wonder, do you go to a restaurant, sit at the table, and say, no thanks, I brought my own food. I just like to listen to your music and talk to my friends. Bring me a glass of wine, and I’ll eat my own food? That is EXACTLY the same scenario.

      • clint07 says:

        Except that neither of those situations describe stealing.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          Well…if the theater has a policy that you can’t bring in your own food/drink, and you do, at best you are violating the theater’s policies and they can throw you out.

          The “stealing” part is probably not in the legal sense…but it is inethical. Because the one and only way the theater can make any money from you at all, in return for their services, is by selling you food.

          If you go in there and don’t buy any food, nor bring in your own, and just watch the movie…ethically, that’s fine. The movie theater made no money on you, and you effectively used their facility for free – but that’s the way that industry works. On the other hand, if you sneak food in instead of buying it there, the theater has lost out on their one and only chance to get any revenue from you at all…so that seems rather inethical.

          • pantheonoutcast says:

            “If you go in there and don’t buy any food, nor bring in your own, and just watch the movie…ethically, that’s fine.”

            And charging someone $5 for a bottle of water or $7.50 for 35 cents worth of popcorn is ethical? Please. There is zero difference, ethically, between bringing in my own snacks so that I can save a little money and having a theater overcharge me for Rasinettes. There is nothing, repeat, nothing UNethical about bringing a bag of candy to the movies – I’ve made no agreement with the theater owner to help him keep his sinking business afloat. (And I’m not talking about those ghetto people who smuggle in six buckets of fried chicken and a cooler full of beer – that’s tacky, inconsiderate and a host of other negative adjectives).

            There is no danger of all movie theaters going bankrupt and closing – apparently, movie theaters are the sole source of revenue for the studios. Do you think the studios are going to let that happen? They’ll buy the theaters themselves and cut out the useless middleman. Just the like music industry, the film industry is going to have to make changes to the way they do business or risk closing their doors forever. DVD’s, Instant Streaming, even less than legal methods such as torrents endanger the entire shaky structure. At $11 a ticket, and $12 for a soda and popcorn, I’ll just see Hot Tub Time Machine at a later date, free, from the comfort of my own home.

            You’ve been singing this tune on every comment in this thread – in the interest of full disclosure: what theater company do you work for?

            • YouDidWhatNow? says:

              “There is nothing, repeat, nothing UNethical about bringing a bag of candy to the movies”

              If nothing else, you’re violating the policy of the theater. So even if you don’t believe anything else, believe that. If you don’t agree with the policy of a business, you can choose to not do business there.

              And I don’t work for any theater company or related industry. I work in IT. Thanks for the baseless accusation though.

              • pantheonoutcast says:

                Since you have no vested interest in the theater business, then your statements come across as moral proselytizing. Which is a really polite way of saying, “What the hell do you care whether or not I have a package of Twizzlers in my coat pocket?”
                On the rare occasion that I go to the movies, (rare because of many other reasons beyond the prices), I stop at the store beforehand and buy my own snacks. I’m going to the movies to be entertained, not to “support my local businesses”. Actually, I’m supporting my local seller of packaged candy. Do you think he should lose money simply because the movie theaters have a captive audience?

                Plus, quite frankly, I don’t really care what their policy is – store policy isn’t law, and certainly wasn’t written with ethics in mind. It was written in order to separate me from as much of my money as they can get away with. Furthermore, I’m pretty sure that theater policy also prohibits talking, using cell phones, running up and down the aisle, and being a selfish ass to other movie goers. I don’t see them enforcing these in the slightest, and these violations result in a greater loss of revenue than my bringing in bag of Reese’s Pieces. Why? Because of the jackasses who disrupt the movie for everyone else, I go to the movies far less often, which leads to an even less chance of me buying $7 popcorn.

                I’m sorry that theater owners don’t understand things like customer service, crowd control, removing disruptive patrons, or readjusting their revenue stream to cope with a poor business model. But I’m not going to hemorrhage money just so I can satisfy the arbitrary moral obligations decreed by some guy on the internet.

                FYI, Last year, AMC brought in $2.4 billion in revenue, and made $70 million dollars in profit. However, they were still able to pay their CEO $1.8 million. By comparison, Starbucks did $9 billion in business with a profit of $391 million – only about a percentage point and a half higher than AMC. Is anyone discussing the ethics behind buying a $4 drink at Starbucks and then sitting there for three hours blogging away on their free wifi and taking advantage of their free airconditioning? Didn’t think so.

                • YouDidWhatNow? says:

                  Yes, we all get it…basically your posts boil down to:

                  “blahblah not the law blah look out for myself blah I’m an angry little man blah *derp*”

                  So, you just go on.

            • YouDidWhatNow? says:

              Oh, and if you’d read my post I originated too, you’d see that I already spoke about how I DON’T patronize movie theaters myself for cost reasons as well. ‘Cuz, you know, I’d tell people not to go to theaters if I worked for one. Genius.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      You realize that the theatre only charges for the concessions because they get NOTHING from the tickets right? So you are basically stealing.

      • frank64 says:

        I don’t usually like saying this but: the business relationship between the theater and the studios isn’t our problem. If the theater isn’t making enough money there needs to be a different cost structure. Us buying the $10 popcorn and saying it is for the theater is just letting this business perversion continue. I think maybe the stars need to make only a $10 million a picture and the teamsters need to make only $100K a year for low skilled labor(numbers just an example).

        There is a circular reference when the stars say the film brings in this much, so I should get paid this much, and the cost of the movies goes up because the of the rising costs of the picture. The $10 popcorn and the theater not getting to keep the admission fees is part of it.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          You seem to think the theaters are going to get a choice. They aren’t.

          There is zero chance that the relationship between studios and theaters will change. None.

          So, you can either be a theater owner and play this game, or you can do something different. There is no in-between choice.

          You as a consumer can choose to go to the theater, or not. So if you don’t like it, don’t go.

          • frank64 says:

            If we stop buying popcorn and theaters start to close, there would have to be some changes. The whole model sucks for the theaters, and it sucks for us a bit too. One reason people stay home. If that is where they want us, they are doing it right.

            • YouDidWhatNow? says:

              Then that’s just it – stay home. As noted, if enough people don’t come to theaters because of pricing (or, I guess, whatever), then the industry will hurt and will have to change.

              …or, just suffer I guess.

            • AnthonyC says:

              Industries that don’t provide sufficient value for money, don’t get our money. That’s how they know they’re not providing a product we want. See? That’s how markets work.

              So if it costs to much, go less. Better yet, don’t go. “Businesses will close” is a terrible reason to go to a movie theater. There are plenty of useful things society needs people to do. More overpriced entertainment is not on that list.

      • alaron says:

        What’s your source? Ticket prices have gone up insanely over the past 15 years, at least in California. I used to pay $5 for a full-priced ticket at Century Theatres. Now at AMC they charge $12. If I want the slightly bigger screen and better speakers that’s $15. 3D? $17.

        • AnthonyC says:

          Yes, ticket prices have gone up, but it does not follow that theaters are making more per ticket.

          Nearly all the money from tickets goes to the studios. The theaters get more later in the run- that’s why studios have been pushing to *shorten* the length of theater runs. They make very little in the last month or so, and it reduces the amount they make from the DVD release.

          I’m not saying the theater’s profits are the moviegoer’s problem- they aren’t, it wasn’t we who decided to open a theater based on a profit-from-the-overpriced-concessions-only business model.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        My relationship with the theater ends with the purchase of tickets; I’m not attending a movie in order to secure their profit margins. If they don’t want to go under, they’ll come up with a new business model. It makes no difference to me how much money a movie theater makes. $11 tickets? $5 soda? Yeah, I’m bringing in my own M&M’s.

  11. calico says:

    I saw this sign at the theater yesterday. My concession guy did not offer me an additional item, but I also don’t want to reinforce the idea that they should be trying to upsell me… so I kept quiet.

  12. Enduro says:

    I’ve seen these signs at theaters and other places popping up. It’s basically their way of getting you to spy on these poor kids to make sure they’re reading you the complete corporate script.

    • El-Brucio says:

      Yeah, back in my olden days of retail, corporate head office used to hire mystery shoppers to make sure employees were sticking to the scripts. This sounds much cheaper, because those people certainly didn’t work for a few cents of popcorn.

      However, they were at least paid to be impartial. I wonder how many psychopaths intent on getting a free popcorn will simply lie to managers about the upsell?

  13. Paladingo says:

    AMC’s loyalty program is pretty nice, too — free popcorn once a week, free popcorn if you see a big-ticket movie, and so on. I mean, if you like free popcorn.

  14. El-Brucio says:

    I’ve often wished I had a time machine so I could find the person who invented the upsell and then beat him to death before he can share his vision with the world.

  15. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    While it’s easy and entertaining to make fun of movie theaters for their unreal food prices, the article does point out what the deal is…

    …that $15 you paid to see “Shrek 62: Even We’re Tired of This Crap!” went straight to the movie studio. The theater gets none of it, as far as I know.

    So the only way they can make money to support their business (remember, they have to rent the movies to show them, pay their mortgage, pay the staff, etc.) is to sell you food. That’s it. It’s the only way they can make money.

    Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not shedding any tears for the Starving Movie Theater Owners Association…I almost never go to the theaters – and high food prices are just one reason. The other reasons being that for the cost of one ticket I can get the movie on disk a few months later, and re-watch it as many times as I want for the rest of my life. That, and the fact that my home theater setup is as good or better than anything short of an iMax…so there’s not really any visceral benefit to going to the theater.

    However, I just wanted to point out how this happens from a pricing standpoint – and remember that if you’re mad about ticket prices, vent your rage towards the studios, not the theater. Only get mad at the theater about food prices.

    • Beeker26 says:

      This is what we keep hearing, but I’m tired of the boo-hoo woe is us attitude of the movie theaters. If they are really concerned with making more money all they need to do is tell they studios they need to pay more. What are the studios going to do, tell them no? Kinda hard to make money on your movie if the theaters don’t show it cause you’re not paying them enough.

      It’s all BS. They have the power to demand whatever amount of revenue they want. And they get it. And on top of that they force us to sit thru commercials and charge us retarded amounts of money for concessions. Yeah, they’re boo-hooing all the way to the bank.

      • Randell says:

        And when the studio tells them to eat shit and die. You will take what we give you, there will be a standoff. The MPAA will them blacklist that theater and it will get NO movies. Yep, smart business decision to show how big and tough you are, all the way to bankruptcy. By the way, when was the last time you managed or owned theaters, or were negotiating with movie distributors? Until that day, you do not have a clue as to what you are talking about.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          Exactly. There’s no such thing as a movie theater bargaining with the studios what they pay to rent a movie. Good way to get thrown out of the business.

          • Beeker26 says:

            There is something called the National Association of Theater Owners that represents nearly all the chain theaters in America. I’m betting if they put their foot down and demanded a different pay structure from the studios they would get it.

            But no, it’s easier to keep the status quo, regardless of how it diminishes the movie experience.

            And just for the record, it’s been a very long time since I bought popcorn unless it was $1 popcorn Tuesdays. And I never buy a drink. So I guess the theaters are making almost nothing off me. Poor things. What will they do?

            • YouDidWhatNow? says:

              “I’m betting if they put their foot down and demanded a different pay structure from the studios they would get it.”

              I’m betting that if they thought they could do that they would. Why are you so intent on bashing the theater owners anyway? Your rage is not necessarily without merit…you’re just directing it at the wrong people.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        “It’s all BS. They have the power to demand whatever amount of revenue they want. And they get it. And on top of that they force us to sit thru commercials and charge us retarded amounts of money for concessions. Yeah, they’re boo-hooing all the way to the bank.”

        The ones boo-hooing to the bank are the studios, not the theaters. The studios are demanding the “amount of revenue they want” by setting ticket prices. And making you sit through commercials. That’s all the studios.

        Yes, the theater charges you ridiculous prices for their food. But you don’t have to buy any food. You can easily go to a theater, buy a ticket, put your butt in the seat and watch the movie…and the theater made $0.00 income from you.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      THIS! Everyone complains about the concession prices but they forget that the theatre has to 1) pay for the movies you’re watching, 2) pay for the concession materials, and 3) most importantly PAY THEIR WORKERS!

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      What about charging more for tickets and then normal prices for food? Do the studios set the ticket prices?

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        Yes. As has been discussed voluminously. Theaters do not have the ability to set ticket prices. And they get none of the money from a ticket purchase. NONE.

        This is why the food prices are so high – the ONLY way that a theater can pay it’s staff to work there, pay for equipment and utilities, and make mortgage payments is on the proceeds from food sales.

        If you come to the theater and just buy a ticket, and no food, from the theater’s perspective you’re getting to use their facility for free. Actually, worse than that, even if you just prorate the amount of electricity used to show you the movie – they paid you to sit there and watch it, ever so minusculy so. If no one bought food, the theater would make $0 dollars and go under right quick.

        I’m not saying this is the right way to run this industry…I don’t like it. However, it is what it is. So, while I’d otherwise be all for sneaking a cheap bag of candy into a movie instead of paying $5 for $1 worth of sugar, in reality you’ve just boned the theater out of their only opportunity to not only make any money on you, but even to recoup the costs of serving you.

        • sqlrob says:

          That’s funny, because the small independent theater chain here has lower ticket prices (and better food at mostly reasonable prices)

        • the_Jenkins says:

          People… movie theatres do get a percentage of the tickets sold. When a first run movie comes out, the theatre might get like a half a percent of each ticket sold, but they do get it (I’m not 100% sure of the percentage; it’s in their contract with the studios). As the movie is out a longer period of time, theatres get a larger portion of the sales.

  16. Beeker26 says:

    I thought they now made all their money on the 20 minutes of commercials I need to sit thru before the movie. I’m guessing it won’t be long before the commercials are longer than the movie itself.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      As everyone in the previous comments has said, that’s the studios, the advertisers, and CORPORATE handing that down. It has zero to do with the management of the particular establishment you are frequenting.

  17. anime_runs_my_life says:

    Here’s the rub – try to collect on it. It’s harder than pulling teeth to get a manager at our local AMC to actually honor the guarantee. The husband tried to do this recently and was stonewalled every step of the way, from the cashier saying he did offer, to the manager basically telling him it was his cashier’s word against my husbands.

    He sent in a complaint and got some free coupons for popcorn and drinks on our next visit. Some of the managers are real jerks at the AMC theaters.

  18. ITDEFX says:

    My response to over priced shit…bring your own cheap shit and stash it in your gf’s purse! :)

    • DidIDoThat says:

      Right on. Or cargo pockets, they work great too.

      One time I was at the movies, my wife and I both caught a wiff of chinese takeout. It was impressive, gotta give credit to the guy who was clever enough to conceal such a bucky piece of contraband.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        See Oranges’ post above. You can feel all proud of yourself for pulling off your “sting” if you like – but that just means you’re circumventing the one and only way the theater can afford to stay in business.

        • ITDEFX says:

          Well then give us more for our money! Yes I know studios take a huge percentage of the movie’s income during the first few weeks and then the theater itself gets the rest of the profits. Employee’s get paid no matter how much the concession stand people sell. They have to keep a number of employees active for clean up, sales and so on. If theaters were doing so badly, they would close up shop.

        • El_Fez says:

          Awww, boo hoo. If they offered some service for that price, perhaps I’d take them up on it. . ..

          Oh wait – I *DO*.

          There’s a local theater, a small chain of about 6 or 7 locations. They serve booze, so no kids under 21 (huzzah!), they dont show any ads before the show (just short films from the local film schools), they put REAL butter on their popcorn, and they serve REAL food – hamburgers, pizza, hot wings, salads – right to your seat. And the “turn off your phones and dont talk” bumper? It straight out says, in just about so many words, “Talk and we’ll throw you out” – and they do.

          The whole experience costs about the same as dinner and a movie elsewhere. Yeah, I cant get out of there without dropping 40 bucks, but it’s totally worth it. I’ll never go anywhere else ever again. If more theaters did THAT, perhaps going out for a night at the movies wouldn’t suck.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      And prevent the theatre from paying its employees, GOOD JOB! :D

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        If the choice is between not buying concessions or bringing our own, would it really cost them anything?

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          Ummm…yes. Where do you think the theater is going to get revenue to stay in business? Or did you conveniently skip past all the discussions going on about how the theater gets $0.00 from every ticket sold?

      • Pinkbox says:

        If I don’t bring my own food/drink, I never buy anything anyway. No loss for the theatre.

        I watched a movie just yesterday and somehow survived an hour without a drink. It can be done. ;)

  19. Serenefengshui says:

    I hate those things. They force the poor cashier to ask me an annoying question and make me, the customer, into an enforcer. Yuck!

  20. MoonstarGem says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they try this at my work sometime. (I work at a deli) We’re having to go through 3 weeks of “Re-training” that basically consists of having us try to upsell/suggestive sell a *minimum* of 3 times during every transaction. Does it matter that they only want one item? Nope, they want us to SELL SELL SELL until someone throws something at us. Ugh, personally, I think it’s more than a little excessive.

  21. erinpac says:

    It’s motivating the wrong people. The customers don’t care about (and often don’t want) the upsell. Many other stores do have other programs though – have someone pose as a customer for a random transaction or someone listen in. For someone in plainclothes once a month or two, you can reward an employee or so and have all the rest paranoid that they might miss their $10 reward if they don’t upsell OMG THIS VERY TIME, every time.

  22. ITDEFX says:

    The problem is that can anyone seriously drink that much soda in one sitting? There is no way I can… I maybe get half way but that’s it… then it gets all peed out.

  23. AngryK9 says:

    They can keep their free popcorn. When I order something, I order exactly what I want. If I wanted anything else, I would order it. Annoying me by asking me if I want something else is pointless.since I would have ordered something else had I wanted it to begin with.

  24. DarksSideMoon says:

    Might I ask what area you are from?

  25. Jemaine says:

    The times I do buy anything, I get whichever drink size will get me a free refill, that way I can drink one cup in the theater, get a refill and have a drink on the way home. I take my little cousin sometimes, and he has yet to understand the concept of just because it’s a movie you don’t have to have it. I bought the tickets and my drink which was about 25$ and his parents gave him money for the food/drinks and it was about 15$. It’s ridiculous! If they sold their food/drinks for the price that a convenient store sells their drinks, then more people would more than likely buy food/drinks.

    And how does sneaking food in cause the employees not to be paid? They get paid by the hour right? Then I don’t see how this is a problem. Sporting events are the same way, except I don’t go to those except once every two years.

    • ITDEFX says:

      exactly…. Movie Theater employees consists of high school kids who want to make a quick buck.

      It’s over priced shit like this that causes people to bring in their own foods. Unless they have “reasonable” cause to search your belongings, or your bringing in a giant purse, I say bring anything you can fit in it and sit away from other people, but its usually other people who sit behind, or near you. Once the lights go out…take out the food and enjoy!

      Heck we started reusing our soda cups because of their free refills. We bought two last week, reused them on Sunday and reused them today. So we just saved 32 dollars in soda alone which probably cost about 5 bucks for the theater to buy.

      Fresh popcorn is harder to bring in as the fresh smell can be easily detected.

      • sqlrob says:

        I doubt very much it cost them $5. You’ve slipped a couple of decimal points, it’s probably closer to 5 cents.

        The cup probably cost them more than the soda.

  26. OnePumpChump says:

    Free popcorn for ratting out employees for not annoying the customers!

  27. retailriter says:

    Call me nieve, but if they wouldn’t charge such obscene prices on the concessions in the first place, people wouldn’t feel such a strong need to sneak stuff in or bypass them altogether.

    I mean, if the dollar store can make a profit off a movie-size pack of Junior Mints, why can’t the theatre charge just a dollar fifty or something and still make a profit? Wouldn’t they make up theer “losses” in quantities sold, and less people feeling the need to “self-equip” themselves with secret snacks? After all, I don’t REALLY want to sneak food in, but I just don’t personally like feeling raped when I’m already paying far too much for a movie that’s probably going to suck anyway. I’d be willing to pay a little more than what is really reasonable for decent pop-corn or a soda, but a 300 percent mark-up is hard to take.

    Oh, and as far as the “upsell” approach, this is just more exploitation of the poor young people trying to earn a little pocket or gas money by working a part-time job. Everywhere you go now, it’s upsell this and that, and the employees are beat to hell over it if they’re not meeting their “goals”. Corporate America at it’s finest.

  28. mrcomps says:

    Let’s examine this from another situation: Suppose that gas stations receive no profits from the sale of gasoline, and they only make money from selling items in the convenience store. I drive up and proceed to fill my tank. Afterwards I pop my hood, open my trunk, and proceed to top up my oil level with oil I bought at NAPA, inflate my tires with my own air compressor from Lowes, and refresh myself with a Pepsi I bought at Dollar Giant.

    Is doing this wrong? Am I obligated to buy oil from the convenience store for $20 a quart, pay $5 for 2 minutes of air compressor time, and pay $3.99 for a drink that costs $0.99 at a normal store?

    What about a grocery store where all item profits go to the suppliers, and instead the store charges $20 for parking, $10 for cart rentals, and $1 per plastic bag. Am I unethically “stealing” from the store if I choose to bring my own shopping bags from home?

    It is not the consumer’s responsibility to prop up failing business models. I don’t understand why some people think that consumers should bear the burden of support theaters that have bad contracts with the studios. Unfortunately, if something is working, then it either needs to be changed or it needs to come to an end.

  29. the_Jenkins says:

    When I worked at United Artists, and then Regal, this kind of push never worked. The employees hate trying to upsell and the management couldn’t get them to do it. For those that actually did it, they literally tried suggesting another item within a 12 nanosecond window. Or, my favorite, “The managers say I have to ask if you want something else; do you?”.

    Also, why upsell? If the patron has ordered, 99% of the time they’re done and don’t want anything else. We have to spend 10 minutes in line waiting anyways; most of us have our minds made up and just want to get done and into our movie.

  30. mannymix03 says:

    Honestly, as much as anyone says “upselling doesn’t work” it really does, I’ve seen this every single day for the past 5 years, in various restaurants and movie theaters especially. It mainly happens because the customer doesn’t KNOW what they want exactly, yeah I kinda think a medium is fine, oh for $0.50 I get a large and free refills? Why not?

    Anyone who says upselling doesn’t work is either delusional or has never worked in a movie theater in their life.

    As for food being expensive, just sneak it in then. Honestly, I really could care less if someone sneaks in a coke and twizzlers, just throw away your trash when you’re done. I’m not going to search you for candy and soda, just be respectful, don’t bring annoying food like potato chips or alcohol.

  31. mannymix03 says:

    Oh and this varies from theater to theater, it is not a global policy. Some regal locations do something similar, if you aren’t asked for their free loyalty card (a really good program just like AMCs) in box office then you get a free pass, or if you aren’t offered a pizza then you get a free pass.