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Moviegoer etiquette: What food is acceptable to smuggle into a theater?

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Woman Movie Theater
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I came out of my TV cave yesterday and decided that three months was far too long to have gone without seeing a new movie. If you were on Twitter around 5 p.m., you might have even been one of the kind people who helped me pick which movie to go see. (Spoiler: Most people said Bridesmaids, so that won.) Only, my rare moviegoing experience took a turn for the unpleasant shortly after the flick began, when the person next to me decided it was a great opportunity to eat his cheeseburger

He wasn’t alone — only the most offensive. The theater was actually filled with smuggled foods — and we’re not talking the minor snacks you pick up at a corner store. I saw a sandwich to the left, got a whiff of the aforementioned offensive piece of meat to my right, and spotted a person walking out of the theater with an empty salad bowl. I was also a guilty party; I stopped by a cafe on my way and bought a half dozen mini cookies to keep me company while I killed an hour before the movie, and I had a Starbucks iced tea covertly tucked in one of my (gigantic) purse side pockets. (The intention was also to save some of this for the movie — but only a sole cookie survived that long.)

I’m not against smuggling in food. With the prices in theaters today — especially New York City — a date can easily run $45 if you include tickets, drinks, and a small calorie-ridden snack. Thriftiness is key. But when it comes to choosing your illegal snack of choice, are there not rules, PopWatchers? We seem to have moved so far beyond the idea of hot dogs and nachos (even though EW’s Kate Ward asks with rage why they choose to serve those in the first place). I’m a big fan of the movie/dine-in experience of the Alamo Drafthouse, but you go there expecting a cacophony of smells — and you’re usually too drunk to notice them all. (Margaritas!) But when I go to a traditional theater, my nose is usually unprepared for a nasal assault beyond popcorn. Maybe I’m a prude. Or maybe, just maybe, there’s a movie snack line that some fellow moviegoers are crossing — nay, leaping over.

Thoughts? What is the most offending thing you’ve seen someone bring into a movie? And (confession time) what is your greatest offense?

Follow Sandra on Twitter: @EWSandraG