Last night I had one of the more bizarre experiences I’ve had at a local theater. My wife and I met a friend for dinner in Logan Square and afterward we walked over to the Logan to see a film—it was The Way, Way Back and it sucked, but suffering through it wasn’t the worst part of the evening. We arrived, purchased our tickets, and handed them to the ticket taker, who asked to look in my wife’s bag. (As we left the theater later I noticed it had posted its right to inspect the bags of patrons.) Still, I had never seen a bag search at a movie theater in my entire life, and my wife, who earned her degree in cinema studies and has been to way more movies than the average person, said it was a first for her. I know this happens occasionally at the openings of blockbuster films, to prevent bootleggers from sneaking in recording devices, but I don’t think this flick met that threshold. My wife had a container of leftovers from our dinner at the top of her bag and the ticket taker refused to let us in unless we discarded them.

We were both in disbelief, and explaining that they were leftovers made no difference to the ticket taker. We offered to let them hold onto our food (it was too good and we wanted it later) until the screening ended, and an employee sprawled out on a nearby couch chimed in that that would be illegal, because if we got sick from the food we could sue the theater for tampering with it. I’m not making this up. My wife, our friend, and I were fairly astonished by the stalemate we found ourselves in and we debated just eating the cost of our tickets and leaving the Logan. Instead the ticket taker offered to call the manager, who backed up her employees—got it to give it the Logan for its unified message—and also refused to let us into the theater with the leftovers. Just for the record, all three of us are in our late 30s or older, so sneaking snacks into a theater generally isn’t a typical activity. She did offer to give us vouchers for a future screening (by this point the movie had already begun), but she cited policy in refusing to give us a refund. She wasn’t very friendly or understanding in asserting the policy—a sign on the front door asks that patrons don’t bring in food or drink. I understand that theaters don’t want to give up sales of overpriced refreshments, but I couldn’t imagine how it applied to leftovers. I suppose we could have walked four blocks each way to put the food in our car, but then I’m guessing we would’ve missed a good chunk more of the movie. I suppose by the letter of the law the theater was simply enforcing its policy (none of which seem to be on the theater’s website), but going through a TSA inspection at an airport was more pleasant and chill than my final visit to the Logan.

We ended up just tossing the food and seeing the movie, but our anger turned to outright indignation when as we walked down the corridor to the theater, we looked back and saw the ticket taker pointing a flashlight into the trash can where my wife had just tossed our leftovers, either snooping after what we tossed or doubting that we had tossed it in the first place. People talk about the NSA and civil liberties, but what about the Logan?