Sh*tfit of the Day: Popcorn

OK, I know this is going to divide people, opinion-wise, but why in God’s name would cinemas choose POPCORN as the snack to sell to people when they are watching a movie? It makes absolutely no sense at all! The only noise you’re supposed to hear in a cinema is the one coming out of the speakers – I don’t want to sit there listening to what sounds like five-thousand cows chewing grass! Popcorn – and the eating of – is my number one cause of Cinema Stress. Never mind “turn off your phones” – what about the seven tonnes of pointless, tasteless noise-making crap that you’ve just served to the audience? You may as well have handed out tambourines and maracas as we came through the door!

Imagine if I built a library. Yes, a library. It would be a place of peace and quiet – I’d have big, comfy seats and beanbags and you’d be allowed to sit there all day, if you liked, borrowing magazines and books. I’d have free WiFi, too, so that you could catch up on your emails and, if you were sneaky about it, have a little nap! Oh my God, you’re thinking, that would be amazing. That would be on a par with going to an IMAX cinema to see the new James Bond movie, except that it wouldn’t cost me five thousand pounds. Now, come on – step into my library, that’s right, come this way. Are you through the door? Good. Now just lift your feet up whilst I STRAP SOME AIR HORNS TO THE SOLES OF YOUR FEET!

What? You want it to be quiet in the library? Oh dear. No can do, unfortunately. I’ll be honest – at least the sound of the bicycle horns will drown out the chomping. We’re selling Prawn Cocktail crisps today – got to make some kind of profit in the current financial climate! Anyway, the air horn bits will cushion your feet from the lorryload of crunchy gravel that we’ve decided to cover the floor with.

My Mum’s local cinema will NOT serve popcorn – and they do wine. Wine is silent. Water is silent. Popcorn isn’t, and neither are nachos which have the added disgusting disadvantage of being so pungent that you can smell them from across the cinema. Sweets are quite silent, but NOT WHEN YOU PUT THEM INTO A STIFF PAPER BAG. Take one person rummaging for the fizzy cola bottle amongst the Maltesers and times that person by twelve: suddenly you have half of a percussion orchestra enthusiastically getting it on when you’re trying to fantasise about listen to Daniel Craig.

So, in short, Dear Odeon Cinemas: you’re not fanatical about film, you’re fanatical about making money. What do you make on one portion of popcorn? A lot, I expect! You may blame demand, but sometimes you just have to be the bigger man. Serve something quieter instead, before you give me some kind of stress-related heart problem. And I know that some of you readers will be muttering under your breath, go to another cinema then!, but I like the Odeon, apart from the munchers. I like the massive screens, I like that I can park easily, I like that I can pre-book and earn my little points on my loyalty card, I just don’t like the Food Orchestra. And don’t even get me started on people who prop their feet up on the seat in front…

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  1. You will never get rid of Popcorn I’m afraid, it’s the mark-up value. How much is corn, about 80pence a silo and cinemas sell it at about £6 a bucket. I heard that the consessions profit is what pays all the staff wages, ticket sales only cover the rental of the movie and the buildings costs. Of course all I’ve said could be wrong, it’s all hearsay from a vue employee.

  2. Oh dear… I LOVE Cinema popcorn! :O

  3. I am not as irritated by the sound of theater popcorn as I am the smell. No matter what theater I go to, it seems they all burn the popcorn and the putrid smell makes me nauseous. Seriously, if I spend too much time in the snack area it ruins the whole movie for me because I feel sick through out the movie. We try to see movies when they will be least crowded, maybe that’s why I don’t notice the sound, no one is ever next to me eating.

  4. Argh, yes. So bloody annoying. You know what else is? When somebody coughs in the cinema and before you know it about 60% of the cinema all seems to catch said cough and you’re stuck in the middle of what seems to be some kind of coughing symphony for about 10 minutes. So. Annoying. I just want scream at THEM ALL. (Except that would kind of ruin the whole quiet thing too…)

  5. I’m going to be slightly off topic here, but there was this woman the other day sitting next to me in the bus, who was eating some bagel type things and she was making the most disgusting sound ever. Imagine if there wasn’t a big “No drinks, No snacks” sign right in front of her.

    I don’t know which is worse, munching in the cinema or munching in the bus.

  6. Haha I love this article – although I do admit that I’m one of the popcorn eaters, I just love the stuff. But I also think I’m fairly quiet when I eat it – or I try to be as much as possible. I do understand your pain though – I can’t stand those people who rummage around in the box to grab as big a handful as they can and then proceed to eat heaps of it with their mouths open.
    My other pet peeve in the cinema is the talkers – why go to a movie when you’re just going to sit there and talk all the way through it?!

  7. I’ve taken pomegranate seeds in a Tupperware before!

  8. how about delights such as macarons, slushies and gummies instead? pretty quiet i would say, but not so healthy!

  9. I like eating popcorn but I don’t like the noise either. What do you think about cotton candy?

  10. LOL… My pet peeve is still teenagers and kids. I try to go for the first show in the morning in some remote or high end part of the city. I ate macarons the last time I went to the cinema.
    Otherwise, I think the shows I’ve watched were too noisy for me to notice any munchers in the midst. I do eat popcorns too, though; we finish the whole bucket within the first 20 mins of the show. =.=”
    I would love to visit a cinema in the UK!

  11. well said Ruth! those nachos and dips are so smelly. people seem to eat in the cinema like food is fast going out of fashion! also people who non-stop talk in the cinema is SO annoying and when telling them to please not talk seems to make them talk more! xx

  12. Rita the parachutist

    Even if they sold only silent snacks in very soft bags, there would still be all those couples acting as if they had no home. Which really does bother me tremendously. Well bye then, going back to my retreat in the woods.

  13. I completely agree! Not only is it annoying in theatres, it is beyond annoying for the workers. I work part time at a theatre in the US to save money for school, and having to deal with the food and other bits and bobs left over is disgusting! There is always someone who spills an entire bucket of popcorn or “forgets” to pick up their trash.

  14. Finally someone that hates popcorn in cinemas as much as me. Much love Ruth. xx

  15. My cinema-stress are people sitting in the cinema auditorium who command ice cream in the little break between the previews and the film itself. Why can’t they buy their ice cream before the previews or just jump over to the serving-station?! But no, they have to annoy other people and make the film start hours (I know, this is exaggerated, but my personal impression) later… :(

  16. I giggled so much at this, I had to show my husband who is currently mid giggle fit. He says your imagery is awesome and he’d like to read a book by you except I may have to put up with constant giggle fits!

  17. I hate that eating (crunch + people chew + swallow… you get the whole) noise when going to the movie, plus the smell! It’s like being at a kiddy MacDo party. And if it’s an action movie that’s fine but if it’s more of a film than a movie.. auch!

  18. This is hilarous! I so agree! Also, I watched a program on this not that long ago, and they made everyone eat popcorn at a dinner table and everyone said it tasted stale and wasn’t nice so they gave them the SAME popcorn in the cinema and they all said it was lovely. Clearly people eat it out of habit than actual love


  19. Lol, this post is really funny, even if I don’t agree. I love popcorn and it has now become a part of the whole relaxing movie-context, and I have to say that, even when I don’t eat them personally, but someone next to me, it doesn’t bother me at all… It’s not that loud to me, I just don’t notice that. Maybe you aver very sensitive to noises.

  20. Wherever I go, I somehow mange to sit in front of someone who doesn’t have enough leg space and keeps prodding my seat. I have a sensitive back too. So irritating!

  21. The most annoying thing, is when someone is eating individually wrapped sweets OR come to think of it, when people bring in actual real food type stuff, I once sat next to a couple who got out what can only be described as a Sainsbury’s mini Chinese banquet for two, I was in absolute shock! Having wine served might chill us out so these things get to us less. Always used to go to the Cornerhouse in Manchester because they served wine, but then had a pretty bad experience of watching My Little Eye and consuming an entire bottle which made the long underground walk to the exit interesting to say the least.

  22. I don’t like popcorn to eat (pointless is the word) but it doesn’t bother me in the cinema. I see it as part of the experience even though I don’t partake. I’m 41 now and can’t contemplate the cinema without popcorn.

    Nachos – well that’s my Cinema Stress. I get so annoyed if a couple sit beside me with a nachos snack.

    Ice cream is my cinema snack, generally wolfed down in less than 2 minutes.

  23. I wholeheartedly agree. People will always find a way to make noise and annoy others, be it with popcorn, sweet wrappers or talking…grrr. Personally I can’t even eat popcorn (silently!) in the cinema because I always seem to choke on the hard bits of corn…. and that is very noisy….lol

  24. But popcorn is so buttery and delicious!!

  25. I get the impression that there are popcorn less cinemas in the U.K.? Unheard of here in America. Our cinema carpets here are forever marked by the scent of buttered popcorn which has been repeatedly mashed in by all the feet on their ways out. I personally am immune to the noise and the smell, but, then again, they turn the sound systems up way high over here too. My peev with theaters are those who literally talk constantly during the film…annoying!! Good luck with your plea to the Odeon Cinema to pull popcorn from the menu :) At least they aren’t serving buffalo wings or Chinese take out… :) One of my local cinemas serves all sorts of pungent foods…pew!

  26. Heston Blumenthal did a programme about cinema food and you’re right, they do make a lot of money! Wonder how much? Approximately 3p per bag is for the popcorn, and the paper bag itself costs 6p (insane that the bag is MORE expensive than the food!) and yet cinemas now charge atleast £3.50 for the smallest option (I live up north in Manc land). Insane, INSANE. I was thinking about popcorn today prior to reading this post, as I’m due to go on a date to watch the new Bond film and thought that munching incessantly wouldn’t do my ears much good, nor will the corn stuck inbetween my teeth do any favours for my date’s eyes!! Popcorn is fine at home and I have to agree with you that it just doesn’t have a place anymore in cinema! AMEN, RUTH, AMEN! xxxxxx

  27. One cinema chain in Moscow serves frozen yoghurt apart from popcorn: I think, this is the perfect snack! Much more healthy and doesn’t cause such noise

  28. I’m glad somebody finally said this, it’s exactly how I feel about the cinema too! Even worse is the dreaded ‘Choc-top’ ice creams, which people never fail to open right in a quite and intense part of the movie!

  29. People talking during the movies make me want to rip their vocal cords out of their throats. And loud foods as well, I never counted popcorn as a loud food. Maybe because it isn’t as popular here I guess as elsewhere. Or because of the way it’s made here. Crisps, and crunchy bags, they shouldn’t be sold in the cinema, at all. We usually get M&Ms, which aren’t the most volume friendly of candies, but you can at least out them on mute by sucking on them.

    All this talk about candy has made me want some. Now where is my bag of mini marshmallow?

  30. ahahaha funniest thing i’ve read in a while, what about a marshmallow only cinema?

  31. Went to see Bond the other night and iMax are surprisingly strict about use of phones, you wonder why they allow all the popcorn noise! Its funny you mention because I had a guy opposite who was rummaging through the bag the whole movie like there was a million pound note to be found – Drives you mad! P.s. You should create a dedicated ‘rant’ section, agree with all your rants so far + its nice to actually hear someone else ‘rant’ about something !

  32. Lol!! I love popcorn and malteasers mixed together!! I must be going deaf as it doesn’t bother me. I do hate the smell of nachos tho ;-)

  33. Not even to mention all the other snacks that come in this noisy plastic packaging, geeesuz!!! Good rant!

  34. Sorry lovelies, but I can’t see a movie without popcorn! It’s just part of the experience for me. People talking through previews and texting or checking their messages mid-film drive me mad.

  35. Totally agree Ruth – I despair when I actually bother going to the cinema. I don’t want to hear people eating/slurping their drinks, or chatting, or see them checking their phones, or see teenage girls getting up and go out every 15 mins so that the boys in the group they’re with will look at them (any attention is good attention it seems…). And parents, I don’t want to have a heart attack every time your small child wanders around in the dark near a set of steep stairs just because you’re not paying attention to them because it’s your “night out”. Oh and don’t take your shoes off and rest them on the back of the seats in front – YOU’RE NOT AT HOME! *deep breaths* For the amount I have to pay to see a film I want my own soundproofed cubicle. I’d actually pay extra for that blissful experience. Or lets just cut out the cinemas and be allowed to buy films direct straight away.

  36. I’m in the same position! I love the Odeon for the above reasons but their choice of refreshments just annoy me. I’d love it if they did wine – some chilled Pinot Grigio to compliment my Tangfastics!

  37. Emma Computergirl

    Lol! Popcorn is a love hate for me- hate the price, hate the noise- and some idiot ALWAYS spills it on the floor or kicks it over… so you end up walking into a dark cinema and getting it all over your shoes. However it is a nice treat to have and fairly healthy (minus toffee sauce etc). I like the idea of wine in the cinema. Pus I like the small independent cinemas more these days- the bigger ones seem loud and soooo cold. Air con all the time. Brrrr. You sit still for 2-3 hours in the cold. They should give you duvets.

  38. Popcorn is even annoying if you’re the one eating it – it gets stuck in your teeth, you can’t hear anything aside from your own chewing and you feel self-conscious that you’re disturbing others. I generally tend to stick to sushi as my cinema snack.

  39. Absolutely right! It drives me crazy!!!

  40. Blood pressure Ruth, blood pressure. LOL
    Very funny article. How was the film? I heard very mixed reviews from friends.