QUESTION 88: Bringing Food into Arenas and Theaters
Some public places, such as arenas and theaters, have policies that
prohibit patrons from bringing in their own food. In other
words, if you want to eat a candy bar, or even drink bottled
water while watching the event, you can't bring your own food.
Their policy requires you to buy the food from them, usually
at inflated prices. Is it okay to ignore this policy and bring
in your own food anyway, possibly hiding the food when you enter?
The theatre or arena sells a person a ticket with certain
conditions attached. It's not totally an unreasonable condition.
You're paying for the use of the facilities, the use of the seat,
etc. They sell you the ticket only on condition that you follow
their rules. I don't see how you could take some food in, even if
it may seem unfair.
I could understand bypassing the rules if the policy was secret
and not publicly known. But these things are known, and they're
not hidden. Everybody observes them. Why should a person be
allowed to break such policy rules? You're using their private
property for the viewing of the event, which is something you're
not allowed to use on your own.
Can't you say that it's unreasonable for them to put such
restrictions on you? All you're doing is buying a ticket to
watch something. Do they really have the right to tell you not
to bring in food?
They have no right to tell you anything. They're not your
parents, who can tell you to do this or that. But they
can say to you: "We sold you a seat so that you can sit there
and watch the game. We didn't sell you the seat so you could use
it for your own private restaurant and eat there. If you want to
eat there, you can only eat certain foods that we sell you."
You are buying the ticket based on the condition that you agree
to their terms. Even if you don't agree with their policies,
or think they are unreasonable, you have no choice but to accept
their policies if you want to enter. They can also tell you
that you can enter with a group of people as long as you don't
turn the chairs around to face one another in order to have a
party, because it disturbs the other people sitting around you.
Even if it wouldn't disturb other people, they could say,
"This isn't the place to have a party."
Could it be actually considered geneivah (stealing) to bring
in, let's say, one soda, rather than buy their soda?
There is a very big tzad (consideration) to say yes, because
you're using their property to serve your own interest, which
conflicts with their own.
NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION 89: RABBI LOOKING FOR ANOTHER POSITION
Let's say a Rabbi who has an employment contract with a
synagogue is interested in finding another position
as Rabbi, possibly in another city. Is he obligated to tell
this to his current shul out of concern for losing his job,
or what people will say? Should he take into consideration
that word might get back that he went to a synagogue in
Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Yisroel Belsky Shlita and Torah.org.
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