magic hat circus boy

Working the concession stand, there are lots of easy ways to generate a little extra cash for the Cinecave. Someone asks for a small popcorn, and you say, “Hey, he puts one of yours in the hospital, you put one of his in the morgue.” The guest looks confused, and you say “So why not go for a medium popcorn for X dollars more?” and the guest just thinks you’re crazy and vows never again to go to the weird theater that never plays mainstream stuff.

My favorite way to bump my ticket sales a bit is to upsell beer. A guest’ll come up to the stand and ask for a bottle of the Beer of the Month (which is Circus Boy right now, if you’re curious). Since we don’t allow glass into the auditoriums, I take a plastic cup from the side and ask “Would you like one beer, which will fit in here?” and I display the cup “…or would you like two” and at this point I grab the taller plastic cup, and set it next to the first one “which will fit in here?”

And honestly, that’s a bit of a lie because I’ve not yet perfected my art of pouring beer so as to minimize head, so often, whatever pour sap found me as his concessionaire has to chug a tad at the stand.

Anyway, most people will take two. You might think you get a discount on buying two beers at the same time – like, “Separately, $11! But together, $9!” but that’s not the case.

The other night, I did this for a couple at the stand. The guy absolutely jumped on two beers. His lady friend demurred. At the next register over, a woman boldly exclaimed, “Why do you do that?” when my coworker made the same inquiry about two beers in one cup.


“Why are you offering him two beers in one cup?”

“Because two beers will fit in one cup and now he doesn’t have to miss part of his movie to get another beer!”

“I don’t understand!”

Here’s the long, written out, easily re-read answer: One thing about working in any retail environment is the sales pressure. There’s always sales pressure. If someone comes to the register with one book, see if you can get them to buy two. If you see the same people at the box office night after night, see if you can get them to buy a discounted ticket book. There’s a few reasons for this: one, more money for the company is a good thing and enables the company to support lower performing theaters which otherwise would be … you know, not around.

At the Cinecave, particular pressure is placed on upselling to guests who come to the concession stand. This is because the vast majority of ticket sales actually go to the movies’ distributors, producers, whoever. Point is, that’s not money used to pay staff wages, the electric bill, the rent, or the overnight cleaner (great guy by the name of Freddy, or possibly Freddie). Concessions is where the theater makes the money is needs to run operations.

(Didja see my pun?)