bowl of popcorn

I Wanna Be a Lady, But I’m So Cheap

So some of you out there may be embarrassed to admit that you like to save money. Some of you relish in building an image that money is of no consequence to you. You walk into the movie theater, buy your ticket, and hurry straight over to the concession stand to purchase a $10 popcorn and an $8 coke to wash it down.

I hope you realize that you’re being laughed at. You know those hidden camera shows? Yeah well, attached to those cash registers and employee name plaques are little cameras recording you. And on the other side of those cameras are very thrifty people who have paid $2 for an evening of watching people throw their money away two hours after complaining to their friend that they don’t make enough money.

The room where these watchers watch have vintage sofas, water fountains and a complimentary peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Β And they laugh! Boy, do they laugh. “For candy,” they cackle. “Five dollars for candy. And look, look, the guy is actually going to pay it!”Β 

Besides comfort, sofas also provide a soft landing spot for the numerous times that they will roll over onto their sides, laughing. They laugh so hard that they almost miss the next customer’s order. “Tortilla chips with melted cheese for how much?” Laughing. “It doesn’t even have protein in it. They’ll be hungry again halfway through the film.” More laughing.

If you are one of these schmucks, I am sorry you weren’t raised right. No, no, it’s not your fault. Don’t take it personally. I blame your parents.

Now let’s be clear. I rarely ever pay full price for a movie, meaning I rarely go to theaters. I try to reserve that for films that I find truly special in some way. But when I do go, my preparation includes more than brushing my hair. Everything starts with a tote bag. We pop popcorn at the house and bag them. We fill empty water bottles with juice. We pack some chips for good measure. And we’re off.

Oh and on a really good day, when I’m just showing off, I’ll even pack a sandwich.

Everything has always gone well, until my last trip to the theater. This is last night. I’ve got my purse full of goodies and a jacket to top the pile. I hand the guy our tickets; he asks to search my bag for security purposes. Oh. Okay. There’s another customer standing by searching through his phone for something. This is going to be fun.Β I try and make a little small talk; I smile a lot.

I have no clue whether it’s even “illegal” to bring our own food and drink, but I feel like a criminal nevertheless. A criminal that’s been caught in the act. I open my bag and both of our eyes scan the contents. There’s the huge Voss water bottle filled with fruit punch. There are the chips. There’s the popcorn.

I’m positive my face has turned red. It’s literally one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. This is absolutely not ladylike. We stand holding our breath. The young man says, “You’re all good to go.”Β Thank freaking goodness! Me and the kids go scurrying off whispering and giggling together, our hearts still racing.

The kid will probably laugh about us with his friends later, but we had the last laugh when we enjoyed our movie with everything we needed– for free.


46 thoughts on “I Wanna Be a Lady, But I’m So Cheap

  1. Just reading the beginning, I was thinking, ‘They have started checking bags. Oh no!’ Glad you didn’t get in trouble. I’ve found that the smaller the bag, the less likely they will ask to check. And I’m the same way about paying for movies. If I go, I try and go to a matinee showing (at least $5 cheaper) and rarely get food or drink there. There is an old movie theater in my area that show one movie at a time and only charges $6, the only catch being the movie they show has usually been out for a few weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve got a theater like that too. They have $2 movies every Tuesday and $4 on other days. They’re also films that have been out for a while but I really don’t care! I guess with everything happening in the world now, they want to check us out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wait, I’m confused. I always see snapchats of instagram famous people “smuggling” food in American theaters. So I always thought that bringing food is strictly not allowed in the US. So, is that only a nonspoken/written rule that everyone “thinks” they shouldn’t be bringing food in theaters, or is it actually prohibited but the guy just acted as if he didn’t see anything and let you in anyway? LOL. Anyway, you go the last laugh not only because you enjoyed your movie, but also enjoyed your snacks while you saved money! lol

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m cheap, but I never bring snacks to theater and shell out the $10 for popcorn because I’m TERRIFIED of being searched haha. It’s never happened, but I just can’t stand the thought of being caught :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do it! Don’t torment yourself, movies are made for popcorn, or vice versa. The worse that can happen is you have to get rid of the snacks, but it won’t be a huge loss. The rewards outweigh the risks. Do ittttt! Good morning, I’m your instigator πŸ˜…


      1. Haha I need more instigators in my life πŸ˜‰ Maybe I’ll start with sneaking in water bottles this weekend and buy the popcorn there, then we’ll see if I upgrade to more rebel acts πŸ™‚ I gotta test the waters lol, I’m too terrified.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not sure “cheap” is the appropriate word Lyz. Maybe frugal, or miserly, or astute! πŸ˜‰ Please bear with me while I carry on (rant? πŸ˜› ) about American consumerism and the little-known POWER we consumers actually wield!

    I see nothing wrong at all with astutely recognizing when you are being or can be gouged and made a marketing-guinea-pig. Hahaha. Sure, some people never ever have to worry the least about dropping $200 or $500 in one day for 2-hours. The reality though is that those consumers of that market-share represent only 1% to 20%(?) of a given demographic, right? Therefore, corporations (theaters) cannot bank-roll off of only 1% to 20% of the market in order to satisfy quarterly or annual budget forecasts. They must capture a much bigger margin from common consumers, like us Lyz. The questions WE must ask ourselves are for example “How much value — mid-term and long-term — will this expenditure of my valuable time and resources benefit me and my family? Will I/we see a tangible ROI from our choice(s)?” Another relevant question to ask, “Does this investment decision benefit THEM a lot more than me/us?

    I know, I know… I’m being a slight sour-puss party-pooper to some, but the reality is there are many significant reasons WHY the U.S. has one of the highest widest inequality gaps of any modern industrialized nation, YET is one of the 3 wealthiest. Riddle me that please!

    So… all of that Lyz to tell you that I wholeheartedly support you and your clandestine theatrical operations! Besides, what’s the worse they can do to you if your devious punch and popcorn set-off all the snack alarms!? Hahahaha! To be honest, they’re (sadly) checking for firearms I suspect.

    You ROCK you Rebel-of-Thriftiness you!!! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheap made for a better title, lol. The word opens up more connotations, such as a cheap woman is no lady. Cheap as in easy. So it’s got both a fiscal and moral interpretation when paired with lady (I think) πŸ™‚
      I definitely takes much effort to live more frugally in this land of consumerism. It’s especially difficult at Target. I could die happy in that place. But I do think that there’s a lot more that can be done within our own lives to not fall prey to the culture. Much of our struggles are from our own making. I plan to keep improving my attitude over time and finding new ways to consume less.


  5. I once brought in an entire meal from McDonald’s haha but the movie theater closest to my old house was really run down and my sister worked there, so the only time we’d go is when she had a free movie pass πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We did that with Burger King once! And as the movie was playing, the whole theater could hear us all (I was with friends) unwrapping these hella loud paper wrappers. So embarrassing! But the food was spot on. I remember the good old days. My brother’s best friend worked at the theater. Those free passes were the best, esp. in summertime. Were you wishing your sister would work there for the rest of her life? Haha

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lyz, you got me laughing on the elliptical! I knew I liked you for a reason. I do the same thing!! I’ve never been caught though 🀞🏾.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to hear it, Takiela. Burn a few extra calories. Girl, I hope that you never get caught! Keep training. You’re one of our most promising students at the School of Thrifty. Oh damn, that’s an awesome title for a blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lyz, you got me laughing on the elliptical! I knew I liked you for a reason. I do the same thing!! I’ve never been caught though 🀞🏾. I got my kids trained to not even ask me for anything at the grocery store unless it’s B1G1!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s how you’ve got to do it. It’s crazy out here with all this spending. Half the time I don’t understand what the heck I bought that brought the cost to what it is. I’m going to start a garden once summer is over!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A victory garden? I have the vestiges of one in my back yard. The boys were digging around in it one day, and I gave them some seeds to make themselves useful. It’s now overrun with pumpkin vines and vines of whatever else they planted! Maybe we’ll get some pumpkins this Fall.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Haha, who knows what you’ll get. But a pumpkin would be great. Maybe I’m outrageous but I’d never heard of a victory garden before that I can recall. I just looked it up, and yes, a victory garden is what I want!

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m one of the people you will probably laugh at then Lyz πŸ˜‚
    I barely go to the movies (only when I really want to see the film), and I love buying the snacks there. I see it as part of the experience, also I love fresh popcorn πŸ˜‚
    It may be my parents fault, Dad would take us to the movies as a treat during school holidays and let us grab whatever snacks we wanted. This only happened once per holidays so we were beyond excited for each trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Here in my city, movie theaters didn’t use to let people go in with their on snacks but today is different. And I love it because I see no sense on giving up almost the same price you spent on the movie itself, buying food you can bring from home.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
    Sorry. I’d be part of those laughing at such people. When I go to the cinema, I never purchase anything other than tickets. I always have a fully loaded bag. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Theater snacks are way overpriced! The employee probably understood lol many people do it I hear of it all the time but never heard of being bagged searched (which is definitely a good thing with all happening) so I can feel the embarrassment and worry there lol I’m glad everything went well

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah girl, we’re living in a new world. Can’t even sneak in a ton of snacks without suffering shame. It’s a sacrifice we must be willing to make I think. I haven’t given much deep thought to it though.


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