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Snacksploitation

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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 banned not 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.

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Known to happen 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 as her own private hangout.
  • The intro to Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over takes a jab at the price of theater concessions.
    Floop: Now, if your eyes get tired during the 3D section of the movie, take off your glasses, rush out to the concession stand, purchase an extra large popcorn, an extra large soda, come back to your seat, put your glasses back on and voilà! You just spent 35 dollars!

     Live-Action TV 
  • 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. This wasn't saving him any money, he was simply being a Control Freak.
    • 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 sketch where Benny and 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.

     Music 
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     Newspaper Comics 
  • Curtis has a running gag where Curtis sneaks his own food into the theater every time he and Barry go to see a movie. Every time, his meal is larger and more elaborate than the last.

     Video Games 
  • BioShock: The vending machine inside the Fleet Hall theater only sells snack items - at 40 times their cost outside.
    • Apparently a callback to System Shock, which BioShock is a Spiritual Successor to: in System Shock 2, the snack replicator in the movie theater similarly has absurdly inflated prices, 100 times the normal value of these basic snacks. And the prices get even higher if you hack the machine, which would normally lower prices on other replicators.
  • Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: In the Teen Girl Squad minigame in "Homestar Ruiner", the highest-scoring death you can give The Ugly One involves her trying to smuggle a candy bar "past concession stand security" and being Guess-What-VOIP!ed by a cyborg penguin.

     Web Animation 
  • Referenced in the BlurB! version of the Happy Tree Friends episode "Keepin' It Reel" when Mime mimes eating popcorn, complete with crunching noises.
    Mimes cost the theater companies millions of dollars in lost revenue due to sneaking in snacks.
    They're impossible to stop.
  • Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "the movies", one of Strong Bad's many annoyances with movie theaters are people who sneak in meals and loudly eat during the movie.
    Strong Bad: And if you think the guy sitting next to you munching popcorn is bad, try going to a theater where people regularly sneak in their own all-you-can-eat fajitas!
    [Cut to the King of Town, who's not only eating fajitas, but has a mariachi band playing behind him.]
    The King of Town: What?! This was all in my box of Milk Duds.

     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
    • In a flashback scene with 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.
    • When entering a science exhibit in "Smart and Smarter", Comic Book Guy is asked to step out of line because his clothes are obviously concealing a large amount of outside concessions. Lisa, having run away from home, snags some of the confiscated food as her meal.
    Comic Book Guy: Search all you want. You'll never find it all. I'm baking muffins as we speak.
  • The Boondocks shows Granddad makes a big fuss about concession when they all sneak into the movie theater to see Soul Plane 2. Granddad has Huey, Riley, and Jazmine sneak in snacks from home. He realizes he forgot the popcorn, gets an overpriced bag from the theater, and throws a childish tantrum over having to pour butter over it himself (the dispenser clearly hadn't been cleaned in a long time).
  • Family Guy: The family sneaks not only their own popcorn, candy, and drinks into a movie, but a laptop computer on which they watch Braveheart.

     Real Life 
  • During the London 2012 Olympics, where inside the "Olympic Zone", British people were enraged to find the only permissible "food" was McDonalds and the only permissible 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 McDonalds had vetoed it. As chips are a staple British foodstuff, there were unseemly scenes, a lot of aggression was expressed. McDonalds, in this instance, 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 McDonalds and Coca-Cola were heavily bombed with critical comment in the run-up and during the Olympics.
  • Good God movie theaters. They strictly enforce the "no outdoor food or drink allowed" rule like a law and snacks tend to cost more than the actual movie ticket — it can easily cost you a hard $20 for nothing more than some popcorn and a drink for a single person. At the very least some theaters offer a free refill, but even then you're not even getting close to $20 worth of food.
  • Food vendors located beyond security checkpoints at airports ("airside" in aviation parlance) are a downplayed example. Prices at these restaurants are definitely higher for the same quality of food compared to similar restaurants, and budget-conscious travelers do bring in outside food to save money when they're waiting for their flight. However, it's a downplayed example for a couple reasons. One, security itself does not ban food from airside, only liquids above 100 millilitres. Two, in the case of water many airports have installed water fountains airside designed for water bottles so that travelers can fill up with an empty water bottle that passes security.
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