I asked for two tickets to see a movie in one of our two local theatres. “Senior?” queried the ticketeer, eyeing the silver in my hair.
“Yep,” I quickly replied, though I had no idea what threshold theatre management set for seniors. She smiled and took my card, a little too assured of my senior status to suit me.
Even though I skated on the admission, a couple of small soft drinks and popcorn cost me over $15, more than twice the admission price.
That was a while back; I’m sure by now I would need to transfer some savings to beef up my cash card if I wanted to see a block buster on Saturday evening. So we sneak our treats into the theatre inside my wife’s purse. It’s a matter of principle. I wouldn’t pay $150 for an oil change, so why would I pay $4.50 for a box of popcorn, even if it is smothered in artery-clogging butter.
Then I saw it, right there in bold headlines in the Haaretz, newspaper. Apparently Israelis have been pounding law makers on this culinary injustice with a vengeance. In fact, according to a piece by Allison Kaplan Sommer, as of Tuesday, Israeli time, the entire country may be able to bring home-made or store-bought snacks into air-conditioned movie theaters during the hot summer months. What a country!
It seems while American legislators remain deadlocked on political controversies like tax increases, deficit spending and where the next war should be fought, Israeli politicians have the chutzpah to tackle issues that really matter to families, like the “Popcorn Bill.”
Not that Israelis don’t have plenty on their plate with people setting themselves on fire at social protests, arguing passionately over ultra-Orthodox army service, warily watching the ongoing bloodshed in Syria and wringing hands over the ongoing nuclear threat from Iran. Israeli legislators have plenty to do.
That’s why it’s so nice to see lawmakers somewhere looking out for the little things that hit us in the wallet, like, say, by Saturday night. After all, who doesn’t like choice? A candy bar behind the glass case at a movie house costs more than most medical prescriptions at Walmart. How is that right?
But during a summer when people are setting themselves on fire at social protests, arguing heatedly over ultra-Orthodox army service, warily watching the ongoing bloodshed in Syria and the ongoing nuclear threat from Iran, it was a little unsettling to see that the focus of one legislator’s energy has been the high cost of junk food. Consider the following Israeli legislator's comments; they are likely pertinent to your community:
"The Knesset's Economic Committee approved on Tuesday a bill, known as the "popcorn bill," which allows bringing food and beverages bought outside cinema complexes into the theatres. The bill is aimed at preventing a state where captive consumers are forced to pay excessive charges.
The bill also allows the public to bring food and beverages into businesses which sell their own food and are located in closed areas, such as concerts and movie theaters. MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud), who promoted the bill, said he is "glad that after a long struggle and despite the theater's objections, the committee approved my bill to defend the captive consumers in movie theaters, sport events, hospitals, etc."
When people are barred from bring your own snacks into theatres, they are indeed, subject to highway robbery, paying outrageously high prices for the highly processed junk served in the concession stands. Often, popcorn costs as much as 10 times more and a small Coke is as much as a six-pack in a supermarket.
If Florida wants to import taxpayers and jobs, pass the popcorn bill, and they will come.