10 April 2007

I'll Have A Extra Extra Small Soda, Please...

My re-Americanization has become a particularly slow and rather tedious process that includes multiple jaw-dropping experiences which I feel will continue to boggle my mind until I leave the US again on May 11th. Last Friday I had one such encounter.

Some friends invited me to see “Blades of Glory” (which was hilarious, by the way). We met at the theater and within minutes my jaw was dragging on the floor. It was $11 to get in! That’s equivalent to 88 kuai, which would have bought me ELEVEN DVDS or TWENTY-TWO BOWLS OF LA MIEN!

Then it was off to the snack stand, where the three girls each bought a small soda at a cost of FOUR DOLLARS EACH. Again, that’s 32 kuai, or SIXTEEN SODAS in China.

Even all of this shock nothing could adequately prepare me for the moment the snack stand employee placed the beverage on the counter. It was absolutely enormous. In all honesty, it may have been the widest cup I have ever seen. Ever. The contents were easily the equivalent of a “Super Size,” “Macho,” “King Size” or “Go Big” beverage you’d get a socially reprehensible fast food joint.

Now seriously, who needs that much soda, not just for a small, but in general? In life does any human being need that much coke in one sitting? Even the girls were blown away by the size. Of course the reason is that the actual soda itself costs almost nothing to produce. Most of the expense is in the cup. So I’m sure the movie theater just figured they would make the actual drink bigger at little to no cost to them and simultaneously charge an outrageous price for said beverage, making people feel better about the low-interest loan they just took out to go to the movies.

This brings me to the larger question: Why is it alright for movie theaters, ball parks, airports and theme parks to charge five times more for the same item than any other venue on the planet? And why are we ok with that? Why do we continue to buy these items? They’re not any better. In fact, they’re usually worse. A small popcorn now costs $5. Read – that is POPPED CORN with DRIZZLED ARTIFICIAL BUTTER. For that price shouldn’t we at least get real butter…served in a gold-plated bowl?

1 comment:

Kelly said...


Oh the famous la mien currency conversion!

I just got back from Canada and plan a longer email later, but had to let you know I can totally relate. I almost ended up not buying a package of pudding this weekend because it could buy me a whole dinner! My mother was beside herself.