Cinema Chain Scraps Snack Ban

Cinema-goers will no longer have to smuggle in contraband supermarket-bought snacks, after major cinema chain Greater Union dropped an unpopular and possibly unlawful policy against externally purchased food and drinks.

The cinema chain had introduced a controversial rule banning patrons from bringing in their own food, instead inducing them to purchase their refreshments at the cinema snack bar.

Disgruntled consumers complained that the policy restricted their choice and left them paying more for similar products.

When news of the policy reached the New South Wales Fair Trading Minister, John Hatzistergos, he was concerned.

"Just like being able to choose the movie they want to watch, consumers should also be able to choose what food and beverages they take to cinema and where they purchase them from," he said.

Under section 9 of the Fair Trading Act, he dispatched the Commissioner for Fair Trading to contact Greater Union to investigate their policy.

In response, the company disclosed to the Commissioner that it had removed the ban on food and drinks bought from outside.

"The decision to recognise public concern and discontent and remove this unfriendly policy is a positive one," Mr Hatzistergos said.

"Families on a budget can now enjoy a day at the movies in the knowledge they can once again bring their own snacks, rather than be forced to purchase them from the candy bar."

Greater Union's new policy is to allow patrons to bring their own food and beverages, other than items excluded for health and safety reasons or the comfort of other patrons.

22 June, 2005

Findlaw

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