Created By: Heffenfeffer on August 17, 2012 Last Edited By: AHI-3000 on April 25, 2016
Troped

Snacksploitation

Places like movie theaters, stadiums, and airports will ban outside food and drinks - then sell you said food or drinks with a huge markup.

Name Space:
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Page Type:
Trope
"Yo stop at that deli, the theater's overpriced! You've got the backpack, gonna pack it up nice! Don't want security to get suspicious Mr. Pibb and Red Vines equals Crazy Delicious!"
The Lonely Island, "Lazy Sunday"

There are many places in this world where you just can't take certain things, often to ensure safety for all involved. Weapons, spray paint, or street shoes can be banned from sports arenas for good reason. Food and water, however, are not banned for safety reasons, but rather for profit margins. The exact same can of soda that costs less than a dollar from the vending machine a block away from the stadium inexplicably costs 3 dollars from a vendor inside. This leads to people either complaining or smuggling contraband food into these secure areas.

YMMV as to this happening in Real Life.


Examples:

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     Film 
  • Scary Movie shows the stereotypical black girl bringing in a picnic-basket loaded with food such as barbecued chicken to eat during the movie, in addition to treating the theater otherwise at her own private hangout.

     Television 
  • Seinfeld has multiple examples:
    • The owner of Monk's Cafe forbids anyone to bring in their own condiments, in response to Jerry bringing in his own maple syrup for the pancakes he ordered. Not for money reasons, since it saves the owner money by not having to provide any of his own; he was simply being an Angry Chef.
    • In another episode, Kramer tries to sneak a cafe latte into the theater in his shirt, because he complains the drinks are overpriced. It doesn't end well.
  • Northern Exposure shows Maggie managing a movie-theater, and making a fuss about someone bringing in their own popcorn. It turns out that they were only doing it because the theater's popcorn had made people sick the night before.
  • The Benny Hill Show has a Blackout Sketch where Benny & another bloke brown bag it at a restaurant, only asking for drinks. The waitress says, "Hey, you can't eat your own food in here!" So the two guys switch lunches.

     Video Games 
  • Bioshock - The vending machine inside the Fleet Hall theater only sells snack items - at 40 times their cost outside.

     Western Animation 
  • Rocko's Modern Life - Heffer is stopped by a metal-detector when trying to enter a movie theater, and is then frisked by a security guard. When he finds a candy bar on Heffer, Heffer laments, "I'm so ashamed!"
  • The Simpsons has a Flashback scene with Otto at Woodstock 1999 where he's actively on fire and goes to a kiosk for some water to put it out. The clerk tries to sell him a small bottle for $8. He says, "Screw that!" and walks away, still on fire.
  • The Boondocks shows Granddad makes a big fuss about it when they all sneak into the movie theater to see Soul Plane 2. Granddad has Huey, Riley, and Jazmine sneak in snacks from home, and he later throws a childish tantrum over having to pour butter over his popcorn.

     Real Life 
  • US Airports now ban carrying more than 3 ounces of liquid into the terminal area. It's a good thing that all the kiosks inside the terminal are there with their 3-dollar bottles of water!
  • During the London Olympics, where inside the "Olympic Zone", British people were enraged to find the only permissable "food" was Mc Donalds and the only permissble drink was Coca-Cola. People entering the Olympic zone were searched and told to surrender non-approved foodstuffs, and those who refused or told the food police where to get off could be, and were, arrested. This even applied in the run-up to the games, where contractors were infuriated to find the canteen could not sell chips (French fries) because McDonald's had vetoed it. As chips are a staple British foodstuff, there were unseemly scenes, a lot of agression was expressed, and McDonald's representatives were repeatedly told to F*** Off. McDonald's, in this instsance, were forced to climb down. Satirical magazine Private Eye caught the mood with a cover showing heavily armed policemen blocking the way to the stadium, with a speech bubble saying '"Put down the can of Pepsi and nobody gets hurt"''. The British Facebook pages for McDonald's and Coca-Cola were heavily bombed with critical comment in the run-up and during the Olympics.


Community Feedback Replies: 65
  • August 17, 2012
    AgProv
    Real life: the London Olympics, where inside the "Olympic Zone", British people were enraged to find the only permissable "food" was Mc Donalds and the only permissble drink was Coca-Cola. People entering the Olympic zone were searched and told to surrender non-approved foodstuffs, and refusniks or those who told the food police where to get off could be, and were, arrested. This even applied in the run-up to the games, where contractors were infuriated to find the canteen could not sell chips (French fries) because Mc Donalds had vetoed it. As chips are a staple British foodstuff, there were unseemly scenes, a lot of agression was expressed, and Mc Donalds representatives were repeatedly told to F*** Off. Mc Donalds, in this instsance, were forced to climb down. Satirical magazine Private Eye caught the mood with a cover showing heavily armed policemen blocking the way to the stadium, with a speech bubble saying '"Put down the can of Pepsi and nobody gets hurt"''. The British Facebook pages for Mc Donalds and Coca-Cola were heavily bombed with critical comment in the run-up and during the Olympics.
  • August 17, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In a Flashback scene on The Simpsons we see Otto at Woodstock 1999. He's actively on fire and goes to a kiosk for some water to put it out. The clerk tries to sell him a small bottle for $8. He says "Screw that" and walks away, still on fire.
  • August 17, 2012
    wanderlustwarrior
    The actual doing of it in the real world isn't a trope. It might fly as a parody, though.

  • August 17, 2012
    StrikingViking
    • In an episode of Seinfeld, the owner of Monk's Cafe forbids anyone to bring in their own condiments, in response to Jerry bringing in his own maple syrup for the pancakes he ordered. Not sure if this applies, since it saves the owner money by not having to provide any of his own; he was simply being an Angry Chef.
    • In an episode of Northern Exposure, Maggie manages a movie-theater, and makes a fuss about someone bringing in their own popcorn, despite that they were only doing it because the theater's popcorn had made people sick the night before.
    • In Scary Movie, the stereotypical black girl brings in a picnic-basket loaded with food such as barbecued chicken to eat during the movie, in addition to treating the theater otherwise at her own private hangout.
  • August 18, 2012
    NightNymph
    To go under the Seinfeld episode above:
    • In another episode, Kramer tries to sneak a cafe late into the theater in his shirt, because he complains the drinks are overpriced. It doesn't end well.
  • August 18, 2012
    Heffenfeffer
    Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I've added your contributions to the draft.
  • August 18, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • David Letterman will occasionally make a joke to the effect of "$100 beers at Yankee Stadium" but I can't recall any one joke specifically.
    • In a Blackout Sketch on The Benny Hill Show Benny & another bloke brown bag it at a restaurant, only asking for drinks. The waitress says "hey, you can't eat your own food in here." So the two guys switch lunches.
  • August 21, 2012
    Duncan
    From Steven Wright's standup:
    "One day I was kicked out of a movie theater for bringing my own food, so I said, C'mon the prices for the food here are outrageous! ...and besides, I haven't had a barbeque in a long time."
  • August 22, 2012
    Lavalyte

    From Black Books: Bernard: Excuse me, there seems to be some mistake. I bought some popcorn and a drink and now I have no money left. Youth: That's how much it costs. Bernard: What is it, magic popcorn? Does it produce some kind of dizzying high?

  • August 28, 2012
    ShiningArmor87
    • In the Strong Bad E-Mail "the movies" The King Of Town sneaks into a movie theater all-you-can-eat fajitas, complete with a mariachi band. He then insists it was all in his box of Milk Duds.
  • August 30, 2012
    peccantis
    This isn't a trope but a business tactic unless you change it top be strictly about gags concerning that tactic and related activities (smuggling food, complaining about prices etc) or such.
  • August 30, 2012
    chelonianmobile
    • Concession is set in a movie theatre, and one strip shows the manager lecturing a customer for bringing in outside food. Meanwhile, the off-duty employees enter to see a movie, carrying large paper bags labelled "Outside Food Co".
  • August 30, 2012
    SharleeD
    Maybe it should be revised to be about the act of sneaking food into areas where it's not allowed. That's more trope-like than the simple existence of the restriction would be.
  • August 30, 2012
    TonyG
    Phil from Modern Family has developed sneaking in snacks to an art, and delights in pointing out the hiding places with appropiate puns.
    Let's just say it (points at jacket) Ruffles me when some (points other side of jacket) Goobers tell me I have to spend half my (points at sleeve) Pay Day on their (points at pants leg) hot dogs.
  • August 30, 2012
    Duncan
    In an early Bloom County strip, Opus complained to a counter girl that the Walrus Wafers were far too expensive. She gave him the standard "I don't set the prices, sir", before realizing there's no such thing as Walrus Wafers.
  • August 30, 2012
    zarpaulus
    Webcomics
    • Concession started out as the antics of a group of movie theater concession stand workers. In one comic the manager is telling a customer she can't bring in a can of soda when three of the employees (taking the day off and seeing a movie) and one friend walk in carrying huge grocery bags labeled "Outside Food Co."
  • September 2, 2012
    ShiningArmor87
    Bump.
  • September 2, 2012
    Routerie
    We should rework this into "Snacksploitation Gag" or "Snacksploitation Parody." Because as peccantis says, the practice itself isn't a trope - it's a real life tactic, and these stories are just commenting on it. The reworking will also help deter Real Life examples.
  • September 10, 2012
    Susiemary
    Actually, speaking from my own experience, the Olympic Park allowed any brand of food to be taken in as long as it is not excessive. All drinks, including Coca-Cola, were banned but we were allowed to bring empty bottles to fill up at water fountains. There were also plenty of independent food stalls with a variety of cuisines, therefore Mc Donald's was not the only food outlet (however it was the only brand name one).
  • September 13, 2012
    spacemarine50
    Another Simpsons episode has Skinner going to a movie theater, his thermos of cola got confiscated.
    • Idea for a laconinc or a name: No Outside Food Allowed. Usually see a sign like that at places that do this trope.
  • September 13, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    That is not a good title. It's not an exploitation work that involves snacks (as that is what the other portmanteaus with "exploitation" are), which makes this a bad snowclone.

    There can still be good titles that also inform the trope, say Sticking It To The Snack Bar, or something like that.
  • September 13, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Also from The Simpsons, when Homer goes to Rock-n-Roll Fantasy Camp:
    Mick Jagger: Rule Number One: There Are No Rules! (Crowd cheers) Rule Number Two: No outside food.
  • September 14, 2012
    Arivne
  • September 14, 2012
    DracMonster
    But dammit, Snacksploitation is the best pun ever!
  • September 14, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Then use it for a trope that actually fits the name. Clear Concise Witty says that puns are acceptable as long as they don't get in the way of the other two, and that is the case here.
  • September 14, 2012
    spacemarine50
    Snacksploitation:

  • September 14, 2012
    Routerie
    Well, it should make the theater and whoever look evil. If it's just a realistic depiction of the typical technique, that's not the trope, right?

    I don't think No Outside Foor Allowed is a good name because people might just list examples of any case where no outside food is allowed.
  • September 14, 2012
    acrobox
    oh come on, Snacksploitation is awesome.

    its not necessarily a pun or snow-clone of Blacksploitation. its just a portmanteau of Snack and Exploitation. Because the venders are exploiting the consumers of snacks, and exploiting arenas where snacks are sold to gain the highest profit. one word, no 'gag' or 'ploy' or 'gambit' necessary.

    and @ Drac Monster it is the best pun ever.

    lets have some fun guys
  • September 14, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ It doesn't matter if it's not meant to be a snowclone. It looks like one, and that does cause confusion for those who would see the title and assume it's an exploitation genre.
  • September 14, 2012
    acrobox
    there is no such thing a 'snack genre' no matter where you come from.
  • September 14, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Still looks like a snowclone. It looks like something other than the trope. That makes the name bad.
  • September 22, 2012
    ShiningArmor87
    Bump.
  • October 7, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    For the first commenter: chips are not a staple British foodstuff. That's general meat.

    Also, the events held up North weren't really expensive, they let you take food in, and there wasn't a Mc Donalds in sight.
  • October 7, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    You know, even barring looking like a snowclone, the name still implies something closer to Food Porn than this trope, and is thus not accurate.

    A better name would be a pun on the drug smuggling trade.
  • October 7, 2012
    SKJAM
    I understood what this was from the current title. Anyone other than Dragon Quest Z still having difficulty with it?
  • October 7, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ In case you missed, there are posts other than mine asking for a better name.
  • October 7, 2012
    dvorak
    "F*** off" is Bluenose Bowdlerizer. Another Simpsons example, in an episode where Lisa runs away and moves into the Springfield Museum. Comic Book Guy is stopped by security, who proceed to pull various foodstuffs out of his clothing. He comments "Go ahead. You'll never find it all."
  • October 8, 2012
    spacemarine50
    ^^^I do. Haven't read mine apparently.
  • October 8, 2012
    Chabal2
    Foxtrot: mentioned at the end of an arc where Peter's been working in a movie theater for the summer. His boss gives him his paycheck, then remarks a movie theater might might not be the best place to look at it, while an enraged Peter claims there must be a mistake, as it won't even buy two boxes of Milk Duds.
  • October 9, 2012
    shinehro
    I like snacksploitation
  • October 9, 2012
    shimaspawn
    <Mod Hat>

    Currently this is not a trope. It's a rant about real life. It needs more focus on the impact on fiction and far less focus on real life. If it is not remedied it shall be discarded.
  • January 25, 2013
    spacemarine50
    Bump
  • January 26, 2013
    acrobox
    I think its fine, it has five hats already
  • February 13, 2014
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    • Banjo-Tooie has an inversion of this in the Witchyworld level. Grunty has a strict policy in that all food must be consumed in the park, and will confiscate it from you if you try to sneak it out. You need to sneak food out in order to feed the friendly Oogle Boogle cavemen in the Terrydactyland level. Fortunately, there's an exit that Grunty doesn't know about, accessible after you unlock the Claw Clamber boots.
      • An unseen but more straight example is when you first unlock Jiggywiggy's temple. Jiggywiggy reminds Banjo and Kazooie that the only things he forbids in the temple are flash photography and food that isn't purchased at McJiggy's.
  • February 13, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    This may or may not count, but...

    Film
    • Super Mario Bros. Needing water to fill their dry radiator, Mario steps into a convenient store, and shortly afterwards, he exits, muttering about not being able to get water from their tap, and having to pay three bucks for bottled water.
  • February 13, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Web Comics
    • The Concession highlights the price disparity in the comic dated Monday 3 July 2006. Joel proffers a bag of Skittles candies to Nicole, and charges her $5.50. Nicole is astounded, and points out that the same Skittles are available at the corner store for only 75¢. Nonetheless, Nicole ponies up the $5.50, because "they're Skittles."

    I think this might be tropable, since it exists in Real Life because people tend to accede to higher prices rather than be inconvenienced to travel elsewhere for a lower cost. This convenience versus savings mechanism is a human foible ripe for exploitation and parody.
  • February 13, 2014
    zarpaulus
    ^ I think that comic has been mentioned three times now.
  • February 13, 2014
    Chabal2
    Foxtrot: This gets used several times when Peter gets a job at a movie theater. In one case, his boss gives him his paycheck but tells him the concession stand might not be the best place to look at it ("There must be some mistake... this won't even buy two boxes of Milk Duds!"); in another, he complains to his dad that his paycheck is much less than he'd thought.
    Roger: Welcome to the wonderful world of taxes.
    Peter: Taxes? The taxes are nothing.
    Roger: How many tubs of popcorn did you eat?!?
  • February 13, 2014
    KarjamP
    Five hats doesn't mean it can be launched.

    It means at least five tropers think it's worthy for a launch.

    If problems have been bought up, though (the fact that this has been decried as not a trope), then it can't be launched until said problems are solved, or else it would be considered a pre-mature launch.
  • February 14, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    I asked about this in Ask The Tropers.

    and now We Wait.
  • February 14, 2014
    FastEddie
    Here is a simple rule that we should apply more often. Always, in fact.

    If you can't state a storytelling purpose, it isn't a trope.

    Storytelling purposes are things like: advancing the plot; making a character description specific; developing a theme, providing information about the setting; and so on.

    The description of this doesn't make it clear, but this is a rule (no products we don't sell allowed) that is used to provide a conflict. Everybody knows the rule. We are going to break it, or at least attempt to break it for the story purpose of causing a conflict with venue management or frustrating a character. That makes it a trope.

    Careful, though. There are lots and lots of rules that can be broken for the same reasons. We don't need a list of every rule that has ever been made frustrating in a story. The working title here is way too specific. Make it about the trope — petty rules are used to frustrate characters and provide conflicts.
  • February 16, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Newspaper Comics
    • One Curtis strip has Curtis sneak his mother's succulent fried chicken into the movie theater, disguised as a tub of popcorn. Although his little brother Barry would normally tattletale on Curtis for such chicanery, Barry regards the outrageous concession prices as wronger still, and concedes Dumbass Has A Point.
  • February 16, 2014
    DAN004
    I've seen from some ppl's examples that they're getting the troope right.

    So yeah, I guess this doesn't need to die.
  • February 16, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ the specific theater rule needs to die. in case you haven't noticed there's nothing that ties the examples together other than "it happens in the theaters". and this isn't about the setting, but the rule of "snacksploitation".
  • February 16, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Of course description needs help badly. :P

    So does someone actually maintaining this?
  • February 16, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Pardon my saying this, but perhaps the concept is better widened to "Cornering The Market", when the supplier tries to limit the options available to the buying public. Essentially, "my goods or nothing." One of the better examples of this is the founding trope of Trading Places in which Wall Street bigwigs the Duke Brothers attempt to corner the market on orange juice, and are soundly snookered in their effort. Had the Dukes succeeded, they would have been stupefying billionaires, while the public would be stuck paying outrageous prices for a glass of OJ.
  • February 16, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ It's called "Monopoly".
  • February 16, 2014
    spacemarine50
    ^That's "my brand of soda or no soda". This trope is "no soda allowed, but you can buy mine inside".
  • February 16, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    Fast Eddie already gave a good alternative trope. I say someone go for his instead. if we did miss an alternative trope someone will just add it in the future.
  • February 16, 2014
    MetaFour
    Re: Curtis, I recall that strip made a Running Gag of Curtis smuggling increasingly extravagant meals every time he and Barry went to the theater.

    • One Wondermark strip had a traveller complaining about the exorbitant markups on fast food at the airport. The vendor points out that the airport charges him money, too, so marking up the prices is the only way to make a profit. But when questioned further, he admits that he's really just marking up the prices because he can get away with it.
  • February 16, 2014
    DAN004
    Make a new YKTTW plz.
  • August 3, 2014
    Spyspotter
    I don't really think the name is bad... I mean, we have Porn Stash and Porn Stache, for crying out loud!
  • August 3, 2014
    acrobox
    the name is fine Just Launch It Already
  • August 3, 2014
    DAN004
    "YMMV as to this happening in Real Life."

    Truth In Television dear. Otherwise fiction wouldn't think of this idea.
  • August 5, 2014
    AgProv
    Lampshaded in a Peter Kay show based on his experiences working as a steward at a venue arena in Manchester. The stewards are shaking down people arriving for a gig for contraband food and drink. Two girls from Birmingham get stroppy and insist one must have her bottled drink as she needs it with her pills for a medical condition. Un-moved, the stewards on the gate refuse to let her in. She drinks it all on the spot and demands to know if they're satisfied. The problem is, the bottle is about 60% vodka. Which (combined with her medication - she wasn't lying but was unwise to add the vodka) has catastrophic effects later.
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