"Not eating chard. That's what all those weirdos eat at their stupid picnics on the Hungry Ghost lawn." -Nina

February 05, 2008

Reader Mail: Pleasant St. Theater Wants To Keep Things Clean For You

An alert reader sent an email over the transom (with photo at right handily included) noting the new sign in the window of the Pleasant St. Theater.

"Absolutely NO outside food or beverages. We want to keep things clean for you."

Yes you, our dear patrons. Let us help you help us help you keep yourself clean, by preventing any extra dirty outside food and beverages from our floor. (don't be crass, this is not about money, we are a non-profit!)

Tom, in his reader's email, offers that the sign is disingenuous, and I have to agree. Me and Beyonce feel good about the money we earn, as should anyone else. What's with awkwardly attempting to disguise a desire to earn some money, passing off your efforts at that, as one of altruistic concern over the cleanliness of my Ralph Lauren Purple Label pants? Thanks, but I have a housekeeper once a week who also washes my clothes.

Maybe there is an some kind of unwritten rule in the non-profit arena I am not familiar with, one where any mention or desire for profit must be disguised, so as not to be associated with such an unseemly pursuit as earning money?

Anyhoo...How long until the Pleasant St. Theater closes, offering that the costs involved with running a theater while simultaneously trying to save Dafur became too much to bear? The over-under from odds makers in the UK is 283 days. Tom Jones' email in full, below.

"Walking by the Pleasant Street Theater today, I was mildly amused (but not surprised) to see this double-speak posting on the window. What's the relationship between 'outside food or beverages' and 'we want to keep things clean for you'?

None. Cleanliness of a venue depends on the effort exerted by staff to keep things clean and not the presence of outside goodies. Those 'other-than-we-sell-it-to-you' treats, however, do represent a threat to profit margins. Every dollar soda or drink you bring from home deprives the theater of (conservatively) $2.50 or more profit it would make by selling you a similar drink. And popcorn? You don't even want to think about how much even the smallest container of the stuff nets (subtract about 30-40 cents for ingredients -- including real butter -- plus container plus energy to pop it).

And maybe that's okay. After all, you're treating yourself to entertainment and you're helping pay minimum wage concession staff and you're doing your part for a non-profit organization. What's not okay though is to be disingenuous about the reason behind a food policy.

The text at the bottom of the left hand window blurb reads: 'Don't worry! The theater won't lose its vintage character'.

It already has."

As Carol Johnston, executive director of the Amherst Cinema Center, signed off in a recent email to me, "See you at the movies!"

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