Friday, August 21, 2015

Regal Cinemas Cynical Approach to Increasing Snack and Drink Sales

The firearms blogs and forums have been buzzing about Regal Cinemas announcing a new policy to check bags. Customers will now see a sign stating: "For the Safety And Comfort Of All Our Guests: Backpacks and bags of any kind are SUBJECT TO INSPECTION prior to entry to this facility." Regal's website setting out their admittance procedure states:
Security issues have become a daily part of our lives in America. Regal Entertainment Group wants our customers and staff to feel comfortable and safe when visiting or working in our theatres. To ensure the safety of our guests and employees, backpacks and bags of any kind are subject to inspection prior to admission. We acknowledge that this procedure can cause some inconvenience and that it is not without flaws, but hope these are minor in comparison to increased safety.
The policy apparently took place a couple weeks ago, and, so far, has only netted the usual "contraband"--people sneaking in food and snacks.

The obvious flaw to the whole "checking bags" procedure is that, of course, anyone can still carry a concealed weapon into the facilities without being checked. Which leads to the real point of the ban: "the usual contraband." Sure, Regal reserved the right to search bags prior to this to check for food and drinks, but it was probably rare in practice because regular searches would alienate customers. Now, however, Regal can say it is for our safety, and have customers actually appreciate undergoing a bag search. For Regal it is a win-win: they get to search bags for snacks and drinks, but avoid the stigma of such searches. This USA Today story seems to sum up the general reaction of the public:
Washington resident Manny Geraldo, 30, said his athletic bag was searched as he entered the theater, but it didn't bother him. "If it can prevent an attack from happening, it's a minor inconvenience for me," he said.

For Keyshia Smith, however, having her bag searched was a surprise that she didn't appreciate.

"I feel like it's an invasion of my privacy," the 23-year-old Washington resident said. "But I guess with times like these, you have to do that now."
There is a lot of competition for my entertainment dollar. If they are going to waste my time with useless bag searches to boost popcorn sales, I think I will spend my money elsewhere.

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