Should illegal immigrants
be granted amnesty?
from experts in the field:
I MUST CONFESS—I’m a frequent moviegoer who loves settling into
my seat with a fresh bucket of popcorn and an ice-cold drink. However,
I’m also a registered dietitian who strives to help people with food
allergies and special diets live normal, healthy lives, and going to the
movies is about as normal an activity as any.
When summer rolls around, there’s nothing like getting together
with friends or family for a movie or a sporting event. For most people, the concession stand is
an easy option for some munchies, but if you’re one of the millions of Americans with special
dietary needs, it can be a downright dreadful experience.
Put yourself in Emily Miller’s shoes. Her husband, Jack, has high cholesterol and was
recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes; their oldest child, Ethan, is allergic to peanuts; and little
Eva is allergic to wheat. The first and only time Emily and Jack tried to buy theater snacks, they
wound up missing the beginning of the movie and temporarily raising their blood pressure.
After holding up the line to scan ingredient lists and ask pertinent questions (what kind of oil
does your popcorn machine use, do you add any seasoning, etc.), they walked away with two
disappointed kids and no option that could meet all of their needs.
Let’s face it—it’s tough to smell and hear others snacking around you as you sit through
a film or a game empty-handed (especially for perpetually hungry Ethan). These days, when
the Millers depart for just about every other weekend activity (park, beach or baseball game),
they pack a bag full of healthy snacks that meet Jack’s, Ethan’s and Eva’s dietary restrictions.
The above hypothetical situation may seem a bit extreme, but millions of Americans deal
with diabetes, food allergies or other health problems requiring dietary restrictions. This
means that, for many people, purchasing snacks is far more difficult than just deciding
between a small, medium or large bucket of popcorn. A trip to any venue should be a pleasant
experience for everyone, including those with special diets.
While the cost of the concession stand is frequently discussed, this debate extends far
beyond calories and costs. It’s about empowering individuals and families to maintain control
over their health, safety and quality of life. C
Cynthia Sass, R.D., is a spokesperson for the American Dietetic
Association ( www.eatright.org).
Opinions expressed are those of the
individuals or organizations represented
and are presented to foster discussion.
Costco and The Costco Connection
take no position on any Debate topic.
from experts in the field:
I’M REMINDED OF AN EPISODE of Dharma and Greg, in which
whimsical Dharma starts a business—but that “business” turns out to be
letting people do whatever they want in her place of business. People
trade things. People meet each other. People finish using something and
pass it on. No money ever actually trades hands. Practical Greg is utterly
mystified. And that’s Dharma and Greg. It’s a sitcom.
In the real world, a business has to be driven by getting consumers to trade their money
for something they want. That’s what keeps people employed; keeps employee benefits in
place; keeps a valuable service in that neighborhood; permits reinvestment in better service,
better equipment and better products; maintains the contribution to the local economy and
the tax coffers; and permits some return on investment.
Popcorn, sodas, candy and a cornucopia of concessions are very much a part of America’s
ritual love of movies on the big screen. And those same concessions are a very important
revenue stream for theater operators. Indeed, without that concession revenue, many theaters
would not be able to stay in business—certainly not without doubling or tripling ticket prices.
So, should people be allowed to bring their own snacks to movie theaters? Well, should people
be able to bring in their own projector and use a blank wall in the theater to show home movies?
Theater operators are in the business of showing movies and selling snacks. You can hardly blame
them for wanting an exclusive right to show movies and sell snacks on their own premises.
It’s a safety and liability issue as well. Most theaters prohibit bottles and other glass
containers, for obvious reasons. Broken glass in a dark room is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
(And let’s face it—not all patrons treat movie-theater floors respectfully.)
So if moviegoers could bring in their own snacks, theaters would have to employ someone
to check sacks of snacks to make sure no glass items and other prohibited items (alcoholic
beverages, items with exceptionally strong odors, items that could become dangerous trash)
were coming into the theater. And those additional employees add cost—just to check on
people who are already reducing profit! C
Kendrick Macdowell is general counsel and director of government affairs for the National Association of Theatre Owners