How would you like to see a movie in a theater, for the price of zero dollars and zero cents? Yes, we’re talking about a free movie ticket, one that was handed out by an employee of the theater itself after a recent show.
Sounds pretty good, right? It certainly couldn’t hurt to get a free ticket, given the cost of going to the movies these days. I’ve written about how to save money on movies, and there are plenty of cheaper alternatives to going out to see a show. That’s what makes getting this otherwise expensive option for free an appealing thing.
First, I’ll share how and why the free tickets were given out. Recently, while seeing a movie at a nearby theater, the sound went out in the middle of the show. For a few minutes, there was no sound at all. The theater wasn’t crowded at all, with seemingly less than 30 people for a matinee show, and nobody got up to complain to the management of the place. People were kind of looking around, looking at each other, and apparently just hoping that the problem would go away or get corrected.
At that point, I just got up and decided to tell the theater management what was going on. On my way out the door, I bumped into an employee who seemed to sense there was an issue. I told him there was no sound, and he acknowledged this and left to presumably take care of it. Which, he apparently did, because within 30 seconds we had sound again.
Again, in total we missed maybe a couple of minutes of sound in the entire movie. Not a huge deal at all, right?
After the movie ended, I was surprised to see that there was an employee of the theater standing by the door to the lobby, handing out a complimentary movie ticket. Yes, for the inconvenience of missing out on a few minutes of sound, we could each get a free ticket for a future movie. Hooray!
Not a bad move by the theater’s management, for a variety of reasons. For one, it shows that they are interested in keeping their customers happy. I liked getting that ticket! Certainly better than nothing, or no acknowledgement by them. I sure wasn’t expecting anything at all, since I didn’t think missing a few minutes of sound was anything to get bent out of shape over.
But then I thought about it some more. When you come back for a free movie, it’s not like you’re guaranteed to spend no money. Actually, if you buy any concessions, you might spend a lot. I actually spent $4.75 for a bottle of water on that hot day, which is outrageous but I was really thirsty. The medium popcorn I spied was $7.00, if I saw correctly. Glad I didn’t buy it, as that I not cheap!
So, if you take them up on their “generous” offer, you’re a potential source of additional revenue from sales of overpriced concessions!
Just another example of how there is value to a business giving something away for free. From the customer’s perspective, it’s also a good example of the saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch!
My Questions For You
Have you ever gotten something that seemed free or really inexpensive up front, but had a lot of hidden potential costs associated with it?
How much do you usually spend on concessions at a movie theater?
This post was an Editor’s Pick in the Carnival of Personal Finance at Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance