The movie theater dilemma (a horror story with a good ending)

By bettymachete Latest Reply 2013-11-21 18:03:56 -0600
Started 2010-06-15 11:18:04 -0500

Soooooooo I was asked to hit a movie with my friend this past weekend. We bought our tickets and made our way into the concession area, the smell of hot buttery popcorn in the air so thick I almost felt like passing out. I began looking for some sensible choices and to my dismay I didn't see a thing except for water or diet coke that I could have. AHHHHHHHHHH! I also noticed a new policy in effect that had theater employees searching for contraband goodies and snack smugglers. I was angry and upset. It made me feel bad and my friend felt bad so she decided to pass on all concessions as well. So today I made a call to AMC and told them of my experience. I told them while I have always enjoyed going to movies with family and friends, I never knew that diabetes would be the reason I had to stop. After speaking to the manager at length about the problems that diabetics face with their menu she immediately took my number and had a corporate guy call me. I had it made clear that AMC theaters do NOT want to lose our business and here in the Atlanta area they are going to excuse diabetics, starting immediately from their no outside food ban and that they are going to work on providing alternatives for diabetics. :)

73 replies

Nuggles 2013-11-21 18:03:56 -0600 Report

Tonight is the first time I'm going to a movie theater since being very recently diagnosed with "pre-diabetes". Like the rest of you - I have always LOVED theater popcorn. I still have a lot to learn about what to eat and what not to eat, exchanges, etc. Is there anyway at all I can enjoy movie theater popcorn and not cause myself health problems? Ie: quantity, with or without butter, fewer carbs in other meals that day? Any help would be so appreciated! Thank you!

squog master
squog master 2010-12-27 17:43:57 -0600 Report

Right now I sneak in my own small bag of popcorn (what's a movie w/o popcorn) as I am allergic to soy & movie popcorn is made with soybean oil more often than not. Then I usually buy a bottle of water & when I get to my seat I put in a packet of Crystal Light On The Go into my water because no theater I've been to has any caffeine free sodas. And besides caffeine raising my blood sugar it can also accelerate my extra heartbeat & murmurs. I decided if I ever got caught I would tell them about the food allergy and if they have a problem with me bringing in my own food that that is discrimination against people with food allergies & they will be hearing from my lawyer.

BandonBob 2010-12-27 17:29:30 -0600 Report

people do need to stand up for their rights. My late wife was one of only three disabled people who stayed in the lawsuit against Regal Theaters that went all the way to the Supreme Court about their concert seating. The end result was that she adn the Oregon Advocacy center won their case and Regal had to remodel 2000 theaters to provide quality of sight seating for disabled people. If you hold out for your rights and are dtermined enough you can change their policies.

HealthyEntrepreneur 2010-12-27 16:30:24 -0600 Report

Hello everyone, we are a business located in Los Angeles but were talking with a few movie theater branches in New York about having our frozen yogurt in their concession stands. On average one serving of Chill frozen yogurt has 110 calories, 0 fat, 65mg of sodium, and 16 grams of sugar. The good thing about our product however, is we also offer NO SUGAR ADDED options, like blueberry, cheesecake, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, raspberry, strawberry and a few more. On average our No Sugar Added options per serving have 70 calories, 0 fat, 0 cholesterol and 6 grams of sugar. Also we have non dairy options (sorbet) which are as well low in sugar, with 14 grams per serving. To all of you movie go-ers this is a much healthier alternative to ice-cream and snacks in general. Do you think this sort of product would be something you would be interested in seeing in your local movie theater?

julie2 2010-07-01 08:15:26 -0500 Report

Betty, I can understand and appreciate the problem because I have it too. Thanks so much for giving that great solution I am going to try it next time I go to the movie theater.

Katsarecool 2010-06-29 03:30:04 -0500 Report

I live in the Atlanta area too. It is a small world. Thank you for sharing your story and thank you for sharing your courage too. Popcorn without all the stuff isn't bad for us unless we eat too much. LOL I always take my own snack and dare anyonne to say anything. LOL

BeckyJ 2010-06-28 19:48:09 -0500 Report

I too went to the movies for the first time in a long time. My neice wanted to go see a movie for her 6th birthday and my sister in law and I took her to the one a few blocks from their house. The movie was about half over when I started to feel a little shaky. I tried to leave quietly to go check my sugar but was trapped in the middle of the aisle by a women alone with 6 kids. After 5 minutes of trying politely to get past the little angels without any help from the mother other than a glare for trying to leave and getting punched in the leg by the littlest I just sat back down and tried to check my bg in the dark. Finally remembering that my new insulin pump had a back light I turned that on and proceeded to check my sugar. It was 56 so I quickly grabbed out the roll of lifesavers that I keep in my purse for emergency's. At that point the lady in with the brood turned around and started to scold me for the light and then noticed I was eating the candy. Since this particular theatre did not carry lifesavers in the concession stand she knew that I had brought them in from outside. She was very rude in pointing out that outside food was not allowed and that it was setting a bad influence for the children since they now wanted the candy and she couldn't give them lifesavers too. Well suffice it to say that our little discussion, one sided since I couldn't even explain, had caused a comotion. A theatre employee was rushing down the aisle shushing us. He got to my seat and told me that I had to leave as I was causing a commotion, and since I had broken the rules of the theatre my neice and sister-in-law had to leave too. He didn't give me a chance to explain and instead had the other people move so that he could evict us. NOW the lovely lady was more than happy to move and had the kids moving very quickly. I pleaded with the employee to let my neice and sister-in-law stay for the end of the movie but he was very rude and said absolutely not. I was still having trouble with my sugar and was a little unsteady on my feet when we got to the end of the row and I stumbled and fell into the chairs. "Have you been drinking?!" he practically yelled and started to drag me up by the arms. He then proceeded to stiff arm me out into the lobby and shoved me out the doors. I fell again and this time scraped my knee. My neice was crying and my sister-in-law was trying to explain about my diabetes but nobody seem to be listening. I had a crowd of employees around me and they were even talkin about callin security when I finally was able to show them my insulin pump and explain what had happened. The manager apologized but still asked us to leave that if I couldn't control my health condition better than I probably shouldn't have come to the theatre in the first place! I called the main office of the theatre to place a complaint and the only response I could get was that the staff had every right to prevent a commotion and that I should have informed them of my condition prior to the movie and they could have put me in a special section they have for young children that is seperate from the rest of the theatre. The "crying baby lounge". NEVER goin there again!!

Viking on the hill
Viking on the hill 2012-02-26 19:24:11 -0600 Report

I just had a similar incedent in a theatre. I had a paper bag, containing my diabetic supplys, as well as my diabetic friendly food and a candy bar in case of low blood sugar. The kid taking our tickets saw the bag and said he would not let me take food in. He told me that if I wanted to eat, I must eat from their snack bar. I started getting angry. I'm a big guy with a beard and I dress the biker that I am. My daughter was imbarrised, but I coud not let this one go. I got in his face and slowly explained that the food at the snak bar could very likely kill me, but if there was any diabetic friendly foods there, I would buy them. The kid did not know. I asked for the manager. Over walked a woman, about 20 years old. I explained to her that I had recently taken my insolin, and that it should be taken with healthy food. She said that the snack bar has diet coke, and that I would be fine… I raised my voice a little… OK a lot! I explained that I had been taking my 13 year old daughter there weekly for the last 8 years, and that I am going to raise holy hell in every legal way, and that this was a very bad decision on their part. I just got home. I'm fixing to make some noise.

bettymachete 2010-06-28 20:01:08 -0500 Report

OMG Becky! You need to call the BBB and post a formal complaint against this theater ASAP! I am in total shock and dismay! I am sorry you were treated to unfairly and rudely. What they did was against your rights and should be held to account for it. I will post more once I get my thoughts together. Geesh! *hugs*

Katsarecool 2010-06-29 03:31:16 -0500 Report

Beck I am so sorry this happened to you. And so many people say this country is full of lawsuit bunnies. Sometimes it takes a big hit in the corporation's wallet to make a point and to bring about changes.

tabby9146 2010-06-27 15:34:44 -0500 Report

sorry you had that experience and glad you spoke up! I have always been able to sneak mine in. It is so hard to pass up the popcorn my husband has, or my daughter will have, sometimes I eat a handful or two and sometimes none at all. I just eat what I brought.

DonnaAnn 2010-06-26 01:51:08 -0500 Report

I love it !! What a wonderful idea. I have not been to a movie in years because of this very problem. Always waited for them to come on video !

munxees 2010-06-24 23:12:59 -0500 Report

Beautiful! I have the same problem here in Massachusetts with all theaters. One, I think, has apple wedges for $5. It's ridiculous and btw I hate Pepsi with a passion! They offer diet Pepsi or water. Otherwise, it's grease and calories and carbs galore! And yes, they do not allow outside food or beverages. I am going to try the same thing with National Amusements theaters and any others I find! Hopefully they will follow suit. Perhaps I will find an e-mail and forward your post! Thanks for the idea!!

bettymachete 2010-06-25 09:24:54 -0500 Report

First off I totally agree on the Pepsi issue! lol
And DO advocate for your rights and the rights of other diabetics! Let us know how it turns out!

sugarfreeDiva 2010-06-23 16:19:31 -0500 Report

Thanks for speaking up. I don't do the movies for budget reasons, but hopefully this will be one GIANT step in the direction of making healthier food choices for everyone, especially children. Also there is so much focus on food as or in addition to an activity in our country. I would hope more people would make it a point to eat before or after such an activity. Also, why pay such high concession stand prices?!

OMG-T2 2010-06-23 17:32:06 -0500 Report

Wow, sugarfreeDiva, I couldn't have said it better myself! I agree completely! While I totally applaud what bettymachete did in stepping up and acting so proactively in the situation she found herself in, and can appreciate that AMC responded so beautifully as well, I just can't get past how it feels to cough up so much money for concession stand fare. Even before I gave up going to movies at theaters (because I generally end up hating everything I see that purports to pass for entertainment) I almost never purchased snacks, preferring to eat either before or after the viewing and should I ever choose to see a movie in a theater again, I guess I will continue the practice…though, it WOULD be nice to feel comfortable in selecting from a theater's offerings, or bringing in my own munchies!

AmyMarie2010 2010-06-22 23:51:12 -0500 Report

Wow. That's amazing. I only wish our theaters here in Oregon were that nice and considerate. My brother is a total movie go-er and he ALWAYS asks me to go with him. But i'm almost always passing the opportunity to go out. =/
Good for you!!


BondedbyBetis 2010-06-22 18:27:44 -0500 Report

That's sounds like a wonderful Idea! I just went to a theater a had to walk on past the entire case full of milk duds, sour patch kids etc! Instead I ate while hiding (lol) a 100 cal pack i had in my bag hoping the noise of the bag wouldn't cause its own scene! Never knew how much it affected me in the littlest parts of my life!

greeneyedghost 2010-06-21 19:54:03 -0500 Report

Woohoo.. that's great! Although, I don't live in the GA area… that is awesome for u. Great way to make a diff for urself and others with this load … if n i had time to see movies I would… lol. I stay so busy with my kiddos and life so … but I WANNA SEE ONE .. lol. I'll try smuggling in my theater too and see what happens. ;) Good luck to ya and others. NiCkI

bettymachete 2010-06-21 23:08:33 -0500 Report

I wouldn't even bother smuggling it, if someone asks just tell them you are diabetic and can't have the snacks they sell there. If they give you a problem after that, thats when you discuss it with a manager.

Rhonda Layman
Rhonda Layman 2010-06-22 16:19:26 -0500 Report

Good for you! And great that you stood up for yourself, Betty. It's people like you that make it easier for the rest of us. I have went into restaurants, and if something was on the plate I ordered that made it not good for me (potatoes, beans, etc.), the waitress was only too happy to substitute when I explained I had diet restrictions. If the restaurant had of not been considerate they would have lost several meals over it, we would have left. But I have not once encountered a restaurant that didn't do everything they could to help me.

bettymachete 2010-06-22 16:52:47 -0500 Report

There are some restaurants who's chefs aren't so accommodating. I know of one particular Italian place who's Chef is also the owner and a good friend of mine. Stubborn, prideful and very particular he is, as many Chefs are.

Before I was diagnosed, I filled in for his wife who was hospitalized over a week and one night we had a nice couple in the place, and she ordered the Shrimp scampi with pasta. However, the woman didn't want any pasta at all, she just wanted the shrimp along with her steamed veggies. She didn't want pasta to even touch her plate.

My friend, absolutely would not serve the dish without the pasta. He said that it would look horrible plated. I said but it would look like what she ordered. I begged him to reconsider but he wouldn't. So, I returned to the table with the dishes and she looked at me and I tried my best to explain and I really felt badly for her but she was not happy, understandably. She returned the dish to the Chef. The couple both left but she told me not to worry she did hear my battle with the Chef. I don't think they ever returned to the restaurant.

Lymy 2010-06-21 17:25:47 -0500 Report

Being a former movie theater manager I can see his point. But now that I am a diabetic I can see your point. (only too clearly.) I am wondering though how many perfectly healthy movie goers are all of a sudden going to become inflicted with this disease? And what will the manager do about it. Will he eventually give up and revert back to his original plan or will he let the whole situation blow over and return to the status quo?
I would not want to do that job again, I took a lot of abuse about outside foods being brought in. But, the biggest problem I had was with age restrictied movies. I would tell my patrons that the law was the law and it was there for a reason. Apparently our movie posted stated no one under 17 admitted without a parent. But in Tennessee & North Carolina the law gave 18 as the age to see 'R' rated movies.
You didn't tell us what you went to see? Was it any good?
Lymy. (Rosemary)

bettymachete 2010-06-21 23:05:55 -0500 Report

I imagine managers do take a beating sometime. Thanks for asking! We went to see The Karate Kid, it was really good. Jaden Smith certainly takes after his parents and will become a fine actor as long as his parents keep picking out good roles for him.

AuntieBear 2010-06-21 03:03:18 -0500 Report

I'm lucky in the fact that I hate popcorn, so smelling it does not tempt me. I do get the regular soda as I am allergic to most diet sweeteners. As for the candy selection, I convince myself that the cost of the candy is so high I will have more fun using the money for stampin stuff or rubber ducks or something that will last longer than a handful of candy that will make me hate my weight even worse.

As for getting more diabetic friendly choices in Atlanta, I hope that catches on in Arizona. Theatres here are not diabetic friendly.

ldrgs 2010-06-20 22:36:14 -0500 Report

Way to go girl!!!! I have almost stopped going to the movies for that same reason.

bettymachete 2010-06-22 08:09:36 -0500 Report

Nah don't stop, movies are a nice get away. And some things just HAVE to be seen on the big screen especially now with IMAX 3D.

TrishaG 2010-06-19 19:34:21 -0500 Report

Way to go!! I know that when I first diagnosed back in 1975, it was an experience to go into Buger King, my dad ordered for the whole family, they had most of the order on the tray when he got to ordering the beverages. He asked what diet beverages they have, their response was none, but the did have unsweetened tea, but nothing to sweeten it with other than regular sugar. He told them I guess we'll need to go some place else and we all turned and walked out the door! It made me feel that wow!! I am something. Of course we went about 6 miles down the road to check to see if they had anything and they had diet sprite or 7up or something (McD's), its hard to believe that any company now would not have healthy alternatives to eat, since the number of diabetics increase so much each year. I hate to tell you the last time I went to the movies, both AMC and Dickenson, did not search for anything. I think that's when tickets were about $4 for prime time movies.

Rhonda Layman
Rhonda Layman 2010-06-22 16:25:03 -0500 Report

You have one terrrr-ific dad! In Oklahoma we have Sonic drive-ins. They don't have anything on the menu that is legal. But we also have Braum's Ice Cream & Dairy. They have the best ice cream for diabetics, and it's carb free. I love it, and cannot tell the difference in that and the "real" thing. I love Sonic food, but when I wrote to them they basically said that people who eat there expect high calories, carbs, etc. Not sympathetic at all. :-(

imadiabetic 2010-06-19 17:05:47 -0500 Report

i agree..i had this same issue and complaint about why iwas discrimated against…and i said no.. i know im mexican,,but it wasnt was that they didnt offer any diabetic snacks..or more drinks for us..and to me,,thats discriminating..dont you think we should put a law suit against companies like amc,mcdonalds,burger king, and other fast food places..this was all diabetics can enjoy mcdonalds, and those other fast food places…just wondering what you all would think

kdroberts 2010-06-19 20:49:28 -0500 Report

Well, it's more complicated than that. There really isn't such a thing as a diabetic snack. What is good for you may not be bad for someone else. A type 2 will have different needs to an adult type 1 who will have different needs to a child type 1, etc. Then you have to think of all the other conditions where diet plays a major part, they all have different needs.

Then you have the whole issue regarding snacks in general. The whole point of going to the theater is to see a movie. Not having a snack doesn't stop you from seeing the movie. It would make it almost impossible to make a discrimination case based on the law.

The way I look at it is you know what to expect and as long as they don't stop you taking in things that they don't sell you can work around it very easily.

GabbyPA 2010-06-20 10:14:42 -0500 Report

Nope...because you can simply choose not to eat there. They have no obligation to serve foods for diabetics. There would be no stopping it then. Then those who don't eat pork would demand that the restaurants be pork free. Or those who only eat organic would demand that the foods be certified. There is no end. You simply choose where to eat based on what you desire to accomplish. No one should be eating at the fast food places on a regular basis anyway.
Same with the movies. KD is right, we don't go to eat, we go to watch the movie. My hubby and I don't buy snacks usually because they cost more than the movie tickets. We are frugal, and that is a waste of money in my view.
We have to take responsibility for our own choices. Businesses would go bankrupt trying to cater to every type of special diet. That is our responsibility.

bettymachete 2010-06-20 12:07:19 -0500 Report

I totally agree with you Gabby. It's nice however that AMC is looking into making diabetic snacks available to us here, but in the meantime I can bring my snack and not feel harassed ot bad about it.

GabbyPA 2010-06-20 12:23:05 -0500 Report

Oh, yes. I do agree that it is a great thing that they are doing. Don't get me wrong there. I was just responding to the discrimination comment from above.

kdroberts 2010-06-20 12:36:58 -0500 Report

Diabetic snack is very wildly open to interpretation. If they do end up offering diabetic snacks my guess is they will be sugar free versions of regular candy where the sugar is replaced with sugar alcohol. Ie, no better that the stuff that's already there. They wont have a diabetic snack than popcorn, you just have to know your limit.

bettymachete 2010-06-21 14:39:33 -0500 Report

I think they are looking into providing fruit (similar to the apples they have a McDonald's happy meals now) and nut selections and perhaps some sugar free candies.

GabbyPA 2010-06-18 08:38:26 -0500 Report

That is such good news! I know my local AMC allows my husband to enter the movies for free under their ADA rules. So we always get to pay half price at the movies and now if I can bring in my own goodies a movie will once again be a cheap date! I love it.

cy-mrbean 2010-06-18 10:23:09 -0500 Report

Hi i'm new to this site, not sure how it works. What are the AMC, ADA rules

kdroberts 2010-06-18 10:30:37 -0500 Report

I believe in this case AMC is the movie theater company and ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act.

GabbyPA 2010-06-20 10:07:42 -0500 Report

My local theater has a policy that if someone is disabled they are allow the caretaker to enter for free. Meaning that without the care taker, the disabled person would not be able to get to the movie on their own. So technically, I am the one who gets in free. You have to ask, because not all theaters offer this. All they are required to do is make it accessible. This really is a nice thing they offer to us.

imsuzie2 2010-06-18 04:00:06 -0500 Report

Atta Girl, Betty! My husband eats the popcorn, and have some, but also have my water and fruit roll-ups and cheese and crackers in my purse. I bet "we" could challenge their ban…in looking in a purse or pockets, don't you? I am fortunate that the last time we went to a movie, we were encouraged to bring our own (inside a casino here in Vegas). We were in a private booth. Not sure since now we don't qualify for the booth, and would have to sit with everyone, if the same policy would still apply.

Sally Thomas
Sally Thomas 2010-06-17 15:14:39 -0500 Report

Good for you! That is wonderful that you stood up for your rights and actually got a favorable reaction! Myself, unfortunately, would be one of the "cheaters" that got a large bucket of popcorn with extra butter and pay for it all the next day. Lol!

Chaplain ET
Chaplain ET 2010-06-16 19:09:41 -0500 Report

This sounds interesting. We have a BIG 21-screen theater in Boise, and a small 2-screen theater here in Mountain Home. I'm going to call them, and ask them what THEIR policy is. The one in Boise is a Regal theater group. I'll let the group know the reaction I get…

monkeymama 2010-06-15 22:44:31 -0500 Report

Legally by law they can not tell you you can not bring these snacks in with you. You have diabetes and that is medical just cause to bring in what they are calling "contraband". I love how you though took a strong stand on this for us. That was a GREAT things. Thank you for speaking up!!!

bettymachete 2010-06-16 10:41:21 -0500 Report

I don't think many diabetics think of the legalities of their ban. They just blindly follow like most people. If I was carrying in a bag of sugar free snacks and was asked to toss it or leave I would have probably tossed it rather than stir a problem, not thinking to say I was diabetic. But I do know I was told health codes mandated them to enact the policy (not sure how true this is because I know that the majority of money they get is from concessions).

Glamour 2010-06-15 19:09:46 -0500 Report

Sorry to say I can't even eat popcorn. For me it = death! (Diverticulosis, just because Diebetes isn't enough fun)

Emma2412 2010-06-15 20:32:51 -0500 Report

As to the diverticulosis, I've been there; done that. Actually, I think diabetes is more fun than that. I wound up in the hospital for a few weeks with the diverticulosis but I've been fortunate not to have to go to a hospital for diabetes.

bettymachete 2010-06-16 10:25:26 -0500 Report

Yikes, I had to read up on what that was. Bless your heart! I wouldn't touch movie theater popcorn now, the smell was just about too much for me to handle.

Downtown 2010-06-16 15:13:48 -0500 Report

My cousin and best friend are the same person and he has diverticulosis, and is in pain alot from it,(he claims). Glamour, do you suffer pain? similar to gout? A dilemma I know nothing about! JB

Jeannie Holmes
Jeannie Holmes 2010-06-15 15:33:08 -0500 Report

Way to go!! I think I will get a hold of our local theaters and tell them the same thing!!

bettymachete 2010-06-15 16:17:46 -0500 Report

Yes you should I think theaters need to be a bit more accommodating if they want to survive in this day and age, providing healthier food snacks would be a great improvement, not only for diabetics but for all really. I believe that AMC's Atlanta corporate office recognizes this as a problem and is willing to make steps to improve. I was very impressed with the conversations I had with the theaters management. All it took was a simple phone call. Everyone should do this.

Thomas508 2010-06-15 12:26:53 -0500 Report

Way to go! I have never been a big popcorn eater but my wife and kids tare it up at the movies, I eat maybe a couple handfuls and that's it so it is no big deal to me but I would like some diabetic friendly snacks available though. That would be cool!

MAYS 2010-06-15 11:29:00 -0500 Report

Good for you !

All diabetics should become activist for the rights of diabetics.
Everything revolves around money, businesses know that to isolate means less or lost revenue.

Your action was appropriate, and appreciated.


daniel velazco
daniel velazco 2010-06-17 16:26:34 -0500 Report

If these Movie company would use their heads they could also sell diabetic friendly snacks. That makes more sence than not letting people bring their own snacks.

bettymachete 2010-06-17 16:59:42 -0500 Report

I agree, and it seemed that at least the people I spoke to agreed as well. I think it just takes us diabetics to let them know that we can't have what they currently serve and press upon them that they are cutting out sadly a growing population of movie goers.