This Viral TikTok Will Change How You Order Movie Theater Popcorn

Can you think of a more perfect pairing than an epic, edge-of-your-seat movie and a bucket of hot, buttery, salted popcorn? We'll wait. Though choosing to buy popcorn when you're at the theater may be a no-brainer, picking a size may be a more challenging decision to make. Luckily, one TikTok user posted some useful information that may make the size choice a little easier for you. After all, no one makes friends by holding up a snack line!

In a recent video on TikTok, MaxKlymenko lets us in on some cinema secrets. Among other things, the video specifically addresses the size options available at theaters including small, medium, and large. But, according to Klymenko, owner of creative agency klym&co., size availability isn't strictly about giving the consumer options. The TikToker explains, "In reality, this is a marketing trick because the medium popcorn is just driving sales to the large one." The strategy even has a name; as Klymenko points out, it's known as "decoy pricing."

What is decoy pricing?

If you didn't walk into the movie theater thinking you were going to order a large popcorn but ended up getting the absolute biggest tub you could buy, you may be a victim of decoy pricing. According to Lad Bible, the Decoy Effect employs a third option used solely to persuade consumers to pick a more expensive product. It seems a little snack psychology is at play here.

According to a LinkedIn post by Jeremy Smith, a Digital Analytics Marketing Technologist, when the decoy item is priced close to the high-priced item, the thinking of the consumer is along the lines of, "Why would you pay $6.50 for a medium popcorn, when you can get a bunch more for an extra 50 cents?" Also, to use this tactic, the decoy should be only "marginally better than the low-priced option," according to Smith. In other words, the medium popcorn should be closer in size to the small popcorn, but closer in price to the large popcorn, making moviegoers feel like they are getting a deal by choosing the large popcorn. Sneaky!

While we have zero doubts about the deliciousness of movie theater popcorn, we do prefer the scheming stays on the big screen!