Last week my wife and I did a movie theater mystery shop that required me to basically be at the theater all day for 3 days. Some theater patrons that I observed participated in dishonest and sometimes really gross behavior in order to save a few bucks. I’m not talking about sneaking candy into the theater. That behavior might be unethical but it is not stealing.
The gross behavior I observed was a man digging through the trash for a popcorn bucket and drink cup. He then took them into the bathroom. Presumably to clean them out. He later returned with a full bucket of popcorn and full drink. The reasonable assumption is that he took these items to the concession stand and got the free refills on both of them. I’m all for saving a few bucks but I am not going to eat out of a container that has been in the trash. That is just plain gross. You don’t know what could have been put in there and you are not going to be able to get them clean in the bathroom. Even if you could be sure that they were clean this isn’t something I would do because it is simply stealing.
We also observed people being let in a side door and sneaking into a movie. This is another form of stealing. In the past I used to sometimes cross over to another movie after watching a movie for which I had a ticket. I used to rationalize this behavior as frugal but that is one of my supposedly frugal behaviors I no longer indulge in because I have determined it to be wrong.
I doubt that the people who stole from the theater actually thought they were being frugal but just to be clear: stealing isn’t frugal.