Sneaking Candy Into Movie Theaters: Frugal Or Cheap?

By Staff

Is sneaking in candy to a movie theater being frugal or being cheap (and dishonest)?

I posed that question to the Wise Bread forums a couple weeks ago and received some interesting responses. It seems a majority of people there think the practice is acceptable, as long as there aren’t signs posted specifically forbidding the practice.

I’m interested to get your feedback as well, and I’ll share a few of my thoughts on the subject.

Here’s a copy of my original Wise Bread post:

My wife and I went somewhere last weekend we had not been in a long, long time – a movie theater! I hit the boxed-candy-for-a-dollar section at a nearby Target and picked up a couple boxes of our favorites to “sneak in” the theater. My wife said I was a cheapskate.

Normally, I would thank her for the compliment, but this time her comment had me thinking. Is sneaking in candy to a theater being cheap, or being frugal? I don’t normally think of myself as being cheap, but in this case maybe she’s right. But $3.00 for a box of M&Ms?!

After giving this scenario some thought I’ve come to the conclusion that sneaking candy into the movies is cheap, and possibly dishonest. After all, concessions seem to be where most theaters make their money (along with a percentage from ticket sales). While bringing in your own candy may appear to be a smart frugal move, and it is admittedly much cheaper than buying from the concessions stand, the smarter move would be to simply skip the candy altogether. And if I just had to satisfy a sweet tooth I should suck it up and buy a box of $3.00 M&Ms from the theater.

Some of you are probably shaking your heads wondering how the “Frugal Dad” could come to such a conclusion. Well, maybe it is the eternal capitalist in me that sees that a business has the right to sell refreshments and request outside refreshments not be brought in. After all, if I don’t like that policy I can stay home and wait for the DVD from Netflix.

I also think this folds into my way of thinking – live frugal, but stop to smell the roses. In the grand scheme of things, a box or two of movie candy or a large tub of popcorn is really not going to make or break us. As long as we budget for the expense, and pay cash, there isn’t any reason why I can’t treat the family to a few splurges every now and then.

If you do decide to take in your own candy and snacks it helps if you have an oversized handbag or purse available.

Ask the readers: So what’s your take on this issue, moviegoers?