Today we’re going over to Disney to go to the movies, specifically to pay another visit to AMC’s amazing, new dine-in theater over at Downtown Disney because after a week of religious dieting and exercise, I’ve been salivating for their incredible crab rangoon dip like you wouldn’t believe! Seriously, words cannot describe just how much I’m looking forward to this meal…

That said, although also not super expensive, it’s definitely not necessarily cheap, either, because it is theater food and all, and so before leaving today I find myself faced again with the dilemma of whether I should finally bite the bullet and just sign up for AMC’s rewards program, but frankly … I just don’t think that I have the heart to do it, and the reason being is pretty simple – they want to charge me to be a member.

Their new program, called Stubs, came out around a year ago and replaced their AMC MovieWatcher program where you would get handfuls of $0.50 and $1-off coupons when you bought your tickets, good for concession stand purchases and every so often a free movie ticket altogether. The new program is a lot simpler in terms of the rewards themselves – for every $100 you spend on tickets or concessions purchases, you get $10 to do with whatever you’d like. So if I do the math right, for tonight’s dinner & a movie excursion alone, we’d probably earn $10 by the time we’re all said and done…

…but I just can’t in good conscience pay somebody for the courtesy of carrying their rewards card, no more than I would pay an annual fee to a credit card for a slightly more lucrative cash-back offer. It’s not that it’s overly expensive, either – it’s $12/year, which would easily still put us in the black for the amount of movies that we see each year, but I don’t know – something just seems not right about me having to pay you in addition to my recurring patronage for the right to receive rewards on behalf of that loyalty. It doesn’t seem very thankful to me for this business to say, “No, no – we do appreciate your business … so just give us a little more and we’ll totally thank you for choosing us as your preferred theater!”

I mean, I know that running a movie theater is a tough act to make a profit on to begin with, hence the ever-increasing ticket prices and the absolutely ridiculous concession prices, so I’m sure some executive at AMC simply saw this as an untapped source of revenue. And for every guy like me who puts his foot down stubbornly and refuses to participate, I’m sure they’ve still got a handful of other people who are willing to suck it up and eat their first reward to cover the fee because they know that they’ll make up for it in the end eventually. Frankly, if they would’ve instead just raised ticket prices, I think I would’ve been reluctantly fine with that because at least those are part of the expectations of what we pay for when we go to the movies.

But as much as my better math skills persuade me that it’s a perfectly profitable deal on our side, I just can’t do it, and thus whenever their friendly staffers repeatedly ask me at every transaction if I want to join, “Not unless you guys have stopped charging for it…” will continue to be the only reply that I can muster. Even reflecting back on it myself, I’ll admit that it may seem like kind of a petty stance, but I just don’t think I should have to pay you twice before you’ll truly appreciate my business…

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