Cinemark's Bag Policy

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by SBurke, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie Thread Starter

    Philadelphia, PA
    Warning: rant incoming.

    As usual, I am about 11-13 months late on developments in popular culture. So I experienced today, for the first time, without any prior warning or awareness, Cinemark Theater's February 2018 bag policy. At all theaters, ostensibly, the company prohibits bags larger than 12" x 12" x 6". The policy is senseless; its application however (at least where I got turned away, in Philadelphia) is beyond stupid. Because it doesn't matter what is in your bag -- there are no bag checks. Nor does the volume of the bag's contents matter. The only thing that matters is the capacity of the bag. If you have a bag which can be stretched or expanded one micrometer beyond the specified dimensions, even if there is nothing in it other than a scrap of paper, you cannot enter the theater. And my bag actually fit neatly into the metal space designed to measure bags. But then the manager pulled on it to stretch it to its limit, so that its height was about 12.5", in order to exclude it. I couldn't believe it, and hardly ever have been so angry.

    Did I mention the policy is stupid? It's apparently not intended to deter customers from bringing in outside food. And it won't! Why not? Because there is no bag search. When announcing the policy, the company cited the shooting in one of its theaters in Colorado. Undoubtedly that was a horrific tragedy. It also occurred six years ago. More to the point, and I repeat myself, there is no bag search. I could have stuffed a pair of six-shooters in my bag and strolled by the ticket-takers and security without their batting an eye.

    Now I will anticipate some of the querulous replies this post is likely to produce.

    1. "It's their theater! If they want to impose a rule, they can!" Right. I'm not making a claim that they are without some legal right to implement a stupid policy. They do have the right. And I have the right to hold the view that they are stupid.

    2. "If you don't like it, you can take your business elsewhere!" I did and I will.

    3. "I support their policy! The company needs to make money and they cannot do that if customers are bringing in outside food!" I agree they need to make money from concessions. And if anyone at the company had half a brain they would establish a policy pursuant to which employees would ask customers to open their bags and would exclude outside food. But that's not what they're doing. I could have brought 4 pounds of candy in a bag half the size of the one I had with me and there wouldn't have been a problem.

    4. "You're an idiot! They need to secure the theater so that people don't get shot!" One or two horrific episodes notwithstanding, that fear is misplaced; you are safer in a movie theater, statistically speaking, than you are driving to the theater, safer even than you are walking in the parking lot from your car to the theater. But whatever. I'll concede the point and say the security concern is valid. The problem is the policy doesn't answer it. There was no one with a wand, let alone a metal detector, and the line was long enough that wanding customers would not have slowed down anyone, but, again, nobody even asked to look inside the bags that were small enough to get in. There could have been all kinds of dangerous articles in them.

    Thus endeth the rant.

    I appreciate your reading.
  2. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Senior Member

    Well, you don't have to patronize their theaters if you don't like their policy. :shrug: I wouldn't feel the need to bring a bag into a theater to begin with.
    Jack and eric777 like this.
  3. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie Thread Starter

    Philadelphia, PA
    Well, normally I don't either. But today I walked to the theater, and because I planned on stopping at the pool for a swim on my walk home, I couldn't get in to the theater -- after having gotten tickets to the opera simulcast two weeks ago and looking forward to it all week -- because I had a small bag with my swimming trunks and goggles in it. No car, nowhere to put my bag, no place to check it, so my plans are ruined. Would that not piss you off? Throw me a bone here, brother! :)
    The Pinhead, 905, fuse999 and 4 others like this.
  4. Juan Matus

    Juan Matus Reformed Audiophile

    What a bunch of losers. I'd go back and shrimp the s#%t out the the place.
    drumzNspace and SBurke like this.
  5. googlymoogly

    googlymoogly Forum Resident

    Inanities like that (and like not enforcing a strict no chatting, no texting, no cell phone usage policy) make me much less likely to waste any time or money on the theater experience anymore. I enjoyed the Alamo Drafthouse when I lived near one - the hammer was reserved, generally speaking, for those at the theater who intended to do anything besides actually watching the frickin' movie. If their prices for snacks and the like were anything approaching reasonable, I'd be a little more tolerant of the practice; as it is, there's not a snowball's chance in hell I'd pay the usual asking price for a tub of popcorn and a soda.
    Erik B., bmasters9 and Rufus McDufus like this.
  6. dewey02

    dewey02 Forum Resident

    The mid-South.
    Funny that you pre-judge any replies as querulous when your entire post meets that very definition to a t. :shrug:
    tmtomh and Jerry like this.
  7. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I don't own a car. I don't drive and never have. What this means is I always have a backpack, when I'm riding on the bus or walking anywhere.

    I love movies, and I especially love seeing a movie in the theater.

    This policy has made me deliberately avoid Cinemark theaters.

    It's even worse for my wife who sees a movie every single night if possible. She saw 306 films in the theater last year, and 472 the year before.

    Before Cinemark instituted their policy, she saw as many as 100 films in a Cinemark theater every year. Since they introduced the policy? She saw one.

    Again it's because she, like me, takes the bus everywhere. We live in Chicago and she works in Schaumburg, and she has a backpack and a purse with her every day. And she wants to see a film every night on her way home. And she sees them at AMC, at Regal, at Landmark and at a dozen independent theaters, none of which have the same idiotic policy.
    KeninDC, Trace, marka and 6 others like this.
  8. SJP

    SJP Forum Resident

    They could be talking about security but the lack of search kind of shoots down that theory (ouch, bad pun there!).

    It might be concessions but even with a smaller bag, you can get around that easily.

    Dumb policy, it sounds like (in the immortal words of Yoda).

    As a family, we always buy popcorn at the cinema but candy and drinks are in the bags. It isn't about a theater operation's right to make some money. No one can argue that the prices charges gouge the consumer leading some/most/many(?) to do what they can to beat the system.

    I don't think we have any Cinemark theaters nearby but this is good to know.
  9. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    One other thing? Chicago, like a lot of big cities, has instituted a bag tax in order to encourage people to bring their own bags for shopping to reduce plastic waste. So I always have a folded up, tough plastic bag in a pocket of my coat ready whenever I'm out and might need to duck into a grocery store.

    This is one of those policies thought up by somebody who has only ever driven, and hasn't been on a bus since college.
    Rufus McDufus and SBurke like this.
  10. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    Anybody who wants to complain to Cinemark can do so here:

    Cinemark USA, Inc.
    3900 Dallas Parkway, Suite 500
    Plano, TX 75093-7865
    Contact Us

    I think if they're going to stop allowing people to take in bags to the theater, they should at least have a "bag check" counter before they enter the theater. I think this is reasonable, just like a coat check stand or anything else. Me personally, I don't walk into any establishment carrying a bag or a backpack or anything larger than my wallet. If I'm shopping, I'll leave the bag in my car. I get that not everybody drives, so it may not be possible for them.
    forthlin, marka, lightbulb and 3 others like this.
  11. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident

    yeah that would turn me off, i always bring a bottle of water with me, one time a manager said no outside drinks so i emptied it and filled it up at the water fountain, whats the point of that....Im guessing this is another useless safety thing which doubles as a no food thing. they don't trust their staff with searching through backpacks so a blanket banning. really dumb
  12. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie Thread Starter

    Philadelphia, PA
    Agreed. But wait, what does that mean? The shrimping part.
    showtaper likes this.
  13. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    Wouldn't you want to have a barf bag in case the make another Jackass movie?
    unclefred and The Hud like this.
  14. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    The point of that is that a lot of movie theaters only break even on the movies they show, because of the fees and overhead involved. The profit a lot of them make is generated from the snack bar, so it's in their best interests to compel their patrons to buy food and drinks there and not bring anything in. If you want a water, buy a water bottle at the snack bar. If you don't, take a sip from the water fountain (which pretty much all of them have). The same rules also exist at Broadway shows and lots of rock concerts. It's their venue; good or bad, they get to make the rules. Of course, you have the freedom not to attend if you don't like their rules.
    McLover likes this.
  15. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    My objections have nothing to do with the snack bar. Some of us can't "leave our bag in the car" because we have no car. Life is different for those of us who live in the city.

    And yes, me and my wife have indeed chosen to avoid Cinemark because of this ill-considered policy. If they had free lockers, it wouldn't be an issue.

    I refer everyone to my post about the 306 films my wife saw in the theater last year. This policy resulted in one of the most faithful filmgoers in the US avoiding their theater chain like the plague. She saw one film in a Cinemark theater. One. Out of 306.

    That is some industrial strength stupid.

    A friend coined the term "Excel thinking" for that sort of spreadsheet-assisted stupidity, where you use a limited amount of data to get the answer you wish to have, rather than collecting all the data to get the answer you need. The missing data, in this case, is the number of customers who have chosen to no longer visit your business.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  16. I'm with you there.
    I understand profit, captive audiences, convenience and all that. But, when I am asked to pay an amount for one bottle of water at the theater, that I can literally purchase a 24 pack of the exact same water for the same price, I say no to that opportunity.
    Sometimes, however, one is pushed to get some snacks.
    A week ago I was at the theater with the family. I purchased one pretzel bites, one small Dr. Pepper, one sour patch gummy snacks and that equaled $18...$18 friggen dollars for $3 worth of snacks anywhere else. A 600% markup!
    This is why I bring in my own water and snacks if the mood strikes. I usually don't munch while watching a movie.
    googlymoogly likes this.
  17. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident

    whoa! :help: call off your dogs! i know they make their sheckles at the snack bar, i get it, i just don't eat that stuff, just seemed silly to pour it out and fill it up at the water fountain, its no big deal, ive spent plenty at the movies, don't need the to be read the riot act lol
  18. Heck, if they had the lockers that charged a quarter it would be okay by most I would think.
    This is, in my opinion, an outcome of the "zero tolerance" mindset, as well as the perceived safety crowd.
    The policy, as currently enforced, provides basically no safety.
    lightbulb and Chris DeVoe like this.
  19. Partyslammer

    Partyslammer Forum Resident

    You’d suck the doorman’s toes? ‘Cause that’s what “shrimping“ is.
    numer9 likes this.
  20. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    You asked why. I told you why.
    numer9, showtaper and the pope ondine like this.
  21. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    I take your point and wholeheartedly agree. I haven’t read any responses yet so I don’t know if this has been said, but I can’t stand any policy that gives the appearance of trying to solve a problem at the inconvenience of many when the policy clearly doesn’t (like Disney having variable pricing to control the crowds...p l e a s e...they couldn’t care in the least about that). The intention is noble, but it isn’t going to do anything to stop anyone wanting to do what they say they want to prevent. Something else is up. And come on, we all know how to easily sneak candy in a does an eight year old. This is a mystery to me. I don’t know why that sort of thing makes me mad, but I suspect it’s knowing that they think people are stupid enough to believe it will do anything to help while covering up a more nepharious reason.
    SBurke likes this.
  22. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Well, I don’t think that’s the reason as they are not searching bags and it will still be easy to bring in your own candy. I know because we do and it’s at a Cinemark. That’s why I’m puzzled as to what the real reason is. And six years later (I live near the theatre where the shooting happened). I’m all for safety, but not policies that only masquerade as such.
    Chris DeVoe and SBurke like this.
  23. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Well, and there’s this. Unfortunately, you can have all the policies you want, stupid and smart. But an idiot that wants to cause harm is going to do it anyway. We all need to be vigilant and responsible for our own safety, and not let our guard down because you can’t bring a large bag into a theatre. Excel thinking at it’s stupidest worst.
    Dave Mac and SBurke like this.
  24. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    I think it's a good idea.

    Ned Bode, bpmd1962 and Vidiot like this.
  25. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident

    I would like to debate this but im off to do some shrimping :-plnktn-::unhunh:
    Robert C and Ghostworld like this.

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