Will You Watch More or Less Movies in Theaters That Require Wearing a Mask?

How easy is it going to be eating popcorn and drinking soda while wearing a mask? Um, a distraction to the experience, definitely.

To mask or not is now being debated in the movie theater world.

AMC has reversed their decision to now requiring moviegoers to wear masks in their theaters. Before, they were going to allow their patrons to make that choice for themselves.

“This announcement prompted an intense and immediate outcry from our customers, and it is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks,” Aron said in a statement on Friday. “At AMC Theatres, we think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests. Accordingly, and with the full support of our scientific advisors, we are reversing course and are changing our guest mask policy.”

AMC Theatres reverses course, requiring guests to wear masks – CNN

I haven’t seen that Regal will be requiring masks, unless required by governmental order, which was a similar position AMC took initially. Since a very tiny percentage of movies we watch at AMC theaters, whatever policies they choose will have almost no impact on our movie theater watching experience.

One of many things that has changed for our lifestyle is wearing masks. When it’s required for use at a business, as is the case with most casinos, we wear them. When it’s optional, we don’t. At work? It’s mostly required for both of us, so we wear them. I’d be lying if I said wearing a mask is something either of us enjoy. We don’t.

Do we feel safer with everybody wearing masks? Honestly, no. Do you? This might be controversial, but I feel sicker wearing a mask than being able to breathe naturally without one. They also fog up my glasses making it harder for me to walk around safely. Don’t even get me started on sneezing or coughing inside one. The wearing mask experience sucks, sorry.

There are practical considerations when wearing a mask as part of the movie theater watching experience. We both love popcorn, so we’re nearly constantly eating throughout the film. This is going to cause adjusting and readjusting a mask every single time a bite is taken, not to mention drinking soda.

We can watch movies at home without wearing a mask.

This got me thinking about the question raised in the title. Will wearing a mask make me want to see less movies in theaters? I don’t think so. Despite not enjoying wearing a mask, it’s not so unenjoyable that it will cause me to say, “I won’t go see Tenet at any theater that makes me wear a mask.”

However, if we have a choice between theaters that require masks and those who don’t? We would probably choose the one that doesn’t require a mask.

Since we really miss the movie watching in theater experience, a mask being required isn’t going to prevent us from seeing a movie. Some may not go back to theaters if they are forced to wear masks. It seems a bit silly a reason to reduce movie watching in theaters, but I’m curious how this might impact other moviegoers interest?

Will you watch more or less movies in a theater that require wearing a mask?

AMC opens mouth, inserts foot … again – please just reopen already!

If any company ever needed to quit the doom diet, it’s AMC. We realize time’s are challenging and they need to tell shareholders something, but does it have to be that they have “substantial doubt” their business can continue to stay afloat? I mean, really.

Negative prophetic hypotheticals aren’t even remotely encouraging for businesses.

Sure, AMC are burning cash while closed and if they open and don’t do enough business they’ll burn reserves even faster. The problem is the longer they stay closed, I’d argue, the worse it all gets.

The theater chain, which closed its theaters earlier this year, expects to have lost between $2.1 billion and $2.4 billion in the first quarter.

AMC Theatres has ‘substantial doubt’ it can remain in business – CNN

I’ve been saying all along that they should reopen as soon as it’s safe to do so. More and more businesses are being allowed to reopen. We’re in June now, and while there are no new wide release movies available, it seems prudent to me that they should get the theaters open — again, if it’s safe to do so — then start showing movies.

Or are they literally going to wait until the week of Tenet on July 17? I’ve heard they may reopen in July, but not seen any actual date on the AMC website. Has anybody else?

Florida Landlord Sues AMC for Rent – 7.5 million – Meanwhile, they won’t open until there are “new” movies to show?

AMC On Demand is available … not sure how much $$ it is generating?

It’s not news that landlords are feeling the sting from tenants that can’t pay rent, but I’m a bit flummoxed by this lawsuit. $7.5 million for the entire balance of the lease? That’s what a Florida landlord is asking AMC to pay.

Palm Springs Mile Associates, Ltd., filed suit in federal court in Miami, alleging that AMC had failed to pay the $52,153.87 monthly rent on the AMC Hialeah 12. The suit contends that the breach of contract has triggered a requirement for immediate payment of the balance of the lease. The suit seeks in excess of $7.5 million in damages.

AMC Theatres Sued by Florida Landlord for Not Paying Rent – Variety

Let’s talk about that rent for a minute. $52,153.87 per month. If we divide that by 12 screens that works out to a cost of $4,346 per screen, if we then divide that by 30 days, that works out to 362 movie tickets sold per screen per day just to pay the rent.

This doesn’t take into account that the theaters don’t get to keep 100% of the ticket price. In fact, they get far less from the new movies when first released. This also doesn’t cover any labor costs.

This makes me feel less annoyed that popcorn is sold at an extreme markup (see: 788% Profit on Movie Theater Popcorn). Clearly, without the concessions these movie theaters would go broke.

Why aren’t movie theaters selling and delivering popcorn? There’s Doordash, Ubereats, etc. I’d think this would give at least some revenue to theaters from their businesses that literally are making $0 while shuttered. Some independent theaters are doing this but not the big three. They just shuttered and furloughed a bunch of their employees. They didn’t even try.

On that front, I can see why landlords would feel a little put off. No attempt to use any of that real estate to generate any kind of revenue makes little sense. The flip side of that is that rent seems ridiculous to me. Maybe it’s in a prime location, I don’t know the details, maybe it is well worth that price, but that is some real difficult math to wrap your head around for a viable business model at the least.

Put all this together and add to it the news that AMC is now holding out on reopening because there are no new movies to show? That just adds to the legal quagmire for this struggling industry giant.

AMC, open the theaters when it is safe to do so, there are plenty of movies to show — classic movies, if need be. Using the excuses not to reopen because now there are no new movies to show? That will likely not hold up in neither the court of public opinion or court that decides financial judgments against your business.

Welcome to #2 of 4 Worst Weekends for Theater Attendance

Apparently, this coming week historically is one of the four worst weekends for movie theater attendance. There is only one wide release planned, Birds of Prey.

Every year, distributors must navigate four dead-zone weekends: post-New Years, Super Bowl Sunday, Labor Day, and the first in December. Historically, these are the periods with the lowest theater attendance, although studios now have their strategies; some slots have become a good time for horror titles, for example. But early December still resists tactics, with a graveyard of films that braved the date.

With Playmobil Only Wide Release, Welcome to the Box Office Dead Zone | IndieWire

Week #1 of 2020 featured The Grudge⭐️⭐️ and this week should go much better. And next week there are a bunch of new films coming out to celebrate Valentine’s Day which must be one of the better weekends, at least for couples.

Some people complain that going to movies is becoming too expensive. They would rather stay home. The streaming markets are growing and taking down the traditional TV model, which is great to see. It gives movie and TV fans a wide variety of choices at more affordable prices.

But creating movie and TV for streaming isn’t an inexpensive proposition for the streaming channels. Take HBO Max which launches in May 2020, and plans to have 31 original TV shows by the end of 2020:

On top of its Max Originals, AT&T is stepping up the budget for HBO. The content budget will rise to $2.5 billion in 2020, up about $500 million from 2018 and 2019. It’s not clear whether management includes that number in its definition of incremental investments, but considering everything available on HBO will also be on HBO Max, and its plans to get all of its legacy HBO subscribers onto HBO Max, it very well should count.

HBO Max Has Already Cost AT&T $1.2 Billion

Am sure we’ll be checking out HBO Max when it launches. In the meantime, we’re going to keep enjoying the unlimited movie theater plan and existing streaming choices. It’s a great time to be a movie and TV lover!

Regal Cinebarre Issaquah Closes + January 2020 Viewing Challenge Complete

Regal Cinebarre in Issaquah Washington has closed permanently, bought by Costco

Sad news whenever a cool movie theater closes. Some readers might remember Kara and I talking about our visit to the Regal Cinebarre in Issaquah.

A notice on the front door of the movie theater said: “Unfortunately, our Cinebarre Issaquah location has closed permanently. We want to thank our guests for years of loyalty, and we will cherish all the fun memories we had together throughout our time here.

Costco purchases Regal Cinebarre Issaquah | Issaquah Reporter

Unfortunately, the location was off the beaten path and wasn’t getting enough business to stay afloat. The Regal Cinnebarre at Mount Lake Terrace is still open. That’s another 45 minutes or so away and almost two hour drive from us, but at least we can still visit a Regal Cinebarre “locally.”

We’ll be in Las Vegas again in March and probably visiting the Palace Station Cinebarre. We remain fans of the dinner and a movie concept but, like all businesses, to remain profitable and competitive “just being there” isn’t enough.

January 2020 21+ New Movies Watched Viewing Challenge — SUCCESS

On the streaming front, might as well update our January 2020 Movie Viewing Challenge: 21+ New/Unseen Movies. The complete list of new/unseen movies watched from January 1 – January 31, 2020 is listed below, ranked by rating.

  1. 1917 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  2. A Quiet Place ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  3. Lady Bird ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Danny Collins ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. The Rhythm Section ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  6. Patchwork ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  7. Little Deaths ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  8. Bad Boys For Life ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  9. The Last Full Measure ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. Tammy and the T-Rex ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  11. Phil Spector ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  12. The Intruder ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  13. Easy To Learn, Hard To Master: The Fate of Atari ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  14. Like A Boss ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  15. I Want To Marry Ryan Banks ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  16. Doolittle ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  17. Just Mercy ⭐️⭐️½
  18. The Marshes ⭐️⭐️½
  19. What Men Want ⭐️⭐️½
  20. Clownado ⭐️⭐️½
  21. Bumblebee ⭐️⭐️½
  22. The Fanatic⭐️⭐️
  23. First Response ⭐️⭐️
  24. The Call Up ⭐️⭐️
  25. Always Will ⭐️⭐️
  26. The Grudge (2020)⭐️⭐️
  27. Gretel and Hansel⭐️½
  28. Final Sale ⭐️
  29. Underwater ⭐️
  30. The Turning ½

Stand out movies in January for me were 1917, A Quiet Place (just took me totally by surprise with how it was done) and Lady Bird.

I’ll be posting about the February 2020 Viewing Challenge separately, but if you want to get started watching themed movies, be thinking Valentine’s Day and romance films and you’ll be right on track.

Linda Hamilton Wrongly Thinks Movie Audience Today Are “so unpredictable”

Put me in the Linda Hamilton fan club.

Unfortunately, I must disagree with her assessment of today’s audience (emphasis mine below), but very much agree with her on big budget movies (emphasis also mine) being high risk:

“I would really appreciate maybe a smaller version where so many millions are not at stake. Today’s audience is just so unpredictable,” Hamilton tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I can’t tell you how many laymen just go, ‘Well, people don’t go to the movies anymore.’ It should definitely not be such a high-risk financial venture, but I would be quite happy to never return. So, no, I am not hopeful because I would really love to be done.”

Linda Hamilton “Would Be Quite Happy to Never Return” to ‘Terminator’ | Hollywood Reporter

So much to talk about in these bolded quotes, so let’s tackle them one at a time.

Today’s audience is just so (NOT!) unpredictable

Blaming the audience for the reason a movie doesn’t do well isn’t a very sound career move. Linda Hamilton is well past those concerns and I don’t think she meant in her comment to be blaming the audience, but it came off that way to me. It’s like standing at the door of your business and telling customers not to enter your store.

The film business isn’t rocket science.

If you make a great movie on a reasonable budget, you have a better than good chance of turning a profit at the box office. I would say financial unpredictability arises when the film budget is too high, see: $100+ Million Movie Budgets Are Stupid

The problem with Terminator: Dark Fate⭐️⭐️½ had nothing to do with audience unpredictability. The director, Tim Miller was submarining the film with misguided promotional efforts (see: How To Better Promote Your Next Films, Elizabeth Banks and Tim Miller), the story was ill-conceived and the most important thing: the movie was essentially unnecessary reboot that wasn’t as good as the original T1+T2 punch.

Why did audiences need Dark Fate? We didn’t, because we had the originals that were far superior. This is coming from a fan of the franchise, not somebody who wanted to see the film underperform. We provided more lead-up coverage for Dark Fate on this blog than any other movie to date. Just do a search for terminator and you’ll see how much I wanted to see this movie succeed.

And let’s be clear: making over $250 million at the box office is not a failure or a “bomb” or any of the other headline clickbait slams. Audience interest was there, but when your budget is too high, filmmakers, that isn’t on us, that’s on you.

Despite all this Terminator: Dark Fate Might Eventually Break Even.

People Don’t Go To Movies Anymore

Obviously, this doesn’t apply to me, nor many of the 1,200+ movie bloggers I’m following. But are people becoming apathetic to the theater experience? Yes, many are.

Movie theater audiences have been declining, unfortunately, but I think the numbers could flatten, especially with more promotion of unlimited passes and better movies released throughout the entire year and creative business moves, see: Yes, More Perks and Quirks to Entice Moviegoers Please.

People aren’t going to go watch a bunch of bad movies. Honestly, if we gauged January 2020 movies there is little incentive by and large to go see movies like these. January is a well known terrible month for studios to dump on audiences and this year clearly is no exception.

From a business perspective this is just stupid. What if McDonalds chose to sell food of a lesser quality in January, would that make sense? But for some reason, Hollywood studios think it’s OK to shovel lesser quality film on moviegoers every January. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

So what if a movie has a less chance of winning a gold statue. A wise friend of mine used to say, “you can’t eat plaques, pins and awards.” Alas, the movie business is letting down its customers 1/12th of the business season.

If you just fail to try and change business trends, you accept the dying process.

It should definitely not be such a high-risk financial venture

Let’s end on a more positive note. This is the one part of what Linda Hamilton said that makes the most sense. Movies don’t have to be high risk financially. I’d like to see a move back to more financially responsible, lower budget, CREATIVE films. Stop making so damn many reboots and sequels and rehashes. Focus on adapting great novels that never have been adapted and fresh, original, inventive screenplays.

I refuse to believe the problem is with the creative content available, it’s the choices being made by the studios to finance and produce movies they think we want. We don’t need another Spider-man movie, and I’m not saying that because I dislike Spider-Man, but give us movies about Harley Quinn, The Joker, etc. Those are less trodden paths.

Why does it take millions to make good movies in 2020? It shouldn’t. Syfy did pretty well with some crazy, creative movies like Sharkanado. Blumhouse has been banking it with some of their lower budget genre horror films based on older properties. So, there are some studios thinking out of the box. Need more to follow the lead of the smaller guys.

A lot depends on what Disney does, since they are commanding some 40-50% of the box office revenue. Will Disney continue making their massive blockbusters only or will they encourage their “smaller” studios (see: Disney purges “FOX” name – the FOX has left the 20th Century Mouse House) within the mega large company to make lower budget, creative films.

Yes, More Perks and Quirks to Entice Moviegoers Please + Regal Unlimited 2019 Recap

Theaters with comfy recliner-seats are totally the way to see movies in 2020 and beyond

Movie theater owners that want to remain relevant should pay attention.

Dinner and a movie service? Yes. Alcohol? Yes. Comfy recliner seats? Yes. Top notch sound? Yes. Old school arcade games in the lobby?

Regal Cinnebar in Salem, Oregon has a retro arcade game area

Absolutely.

Hope I don’t sound greedy, but think all will help attract adults to visit your theater more frequently.

Thirty-three percent of those who went to a theater three to five times in the past year spent four to seven hours streaming every week, with 30 percent of those who went to the theater six to eight times in the past year reported spending the same amount of time streaming. Out of those who’ve been to the theater more than nine times in the past year, 31 percent said they stream 15 or more hours per week, according to the study.

Madison Theatre will use perks and quirks to entice movie-goers – Times Union

Reserved Seating is BETTER than open seating

Just read this complaint about how “awful” it was watching a movie at the theater these days:

If you have not had to watch films under the same conditions that the general public does, you have no idea how awful an experience it is. We recently went to see “Dark Waters.” We had to buy reserved seats, but the movie theater was practically empty. Then the assault to our senses began with a series of surround sound commercials, followed by awful coming attractions, interspersed with more commercials.

Going to the movies these days is a horrible experience

Can’t disagree more strongly with this moviegoer.

Having seen every wide release movie in the theater for the last 6+ months, I know that reserved seating is a benefit and better for customers. I would rather be able to know where I can sit that nobody else is sitting before buying a ticket and entering the theater and being surprised by what seats are left.

As for previews/trailers before a movie starts? Look at the starting time for a movie and add 15 minutes. Make that your actual starting time for the movie and you’ll skip seeing most/all of the previews. In Regal cinemas, make it 20 minutes. You can tell in Regal Cinemas when the movie is about to start because the brief student film plays right before the movie starts.

Back to reserved seating, if you buy your ticket in advance … say stop by the theater earlier in the day and buy the ticket and reserve your spot, then you don’t have to worry about coming late and getting stuck with a bad seat.

Over 2.5 million movies seen by Regal Unlimited members in 6 months

In August 2019, Kara and I both signed up for Regal Unlimited passes enabling us to see any new 2D movie as many times as we wanted for essentially $22/month USD. I just received a 2019 recap for all the movies seen in 2019:

Movies I saw at Regal theaters in 2019 since August 12 = 7,538 minutes = 125+ hours (5.3 days!)

A total of 68 movies seen in theaters that were all rated and reviewed. According to the email I had $685 USD in “savings” by buying the unlimited plan vs. paying the per visit ticket price (around $12 average per movie).

68 x 12 = $816
$22 x 5 mos. = $110
= 816 – 110 = $708 (my numbers are close enough to theirs)

If you are going to watch 2 or more movies a month in theaters, the unlimited pass is well worth it.

Let’s face it, staying home is not what everybody needs or wants to do. Movies provide a social outlet to get out of the house and do something. We need to stay active in this world or we’re dying. Staying in the home bunker watching on your TV, no matter how elaborate, is not the same social experience. This isn’t “romanticizing” the theater experience as some like to label it.

This year we should watch 100+ movies in the theater. Figure a minimum average of 2 movies open wide every week, and assuming we see all, that’s 104+ movies (52 weeks x 2 = 104 movies).

See you at the theater in 2020!

New Movie Streaming for Free in China creates fear of “destroying the movie industry”

Tent cities are a growing concern in society

Let’s take a moment of silence for anybody who is sick with the virus that started in China. Any outbreak causing human beings to get sick and some to die is much bigger than any movie business concerns.

That said, the two are somewhat related in this piece. A movie studio is going to stream a premiere on a free platform due at least in part to the current virus outbreak scenario in China. Theater chains, despite some of their locations being shut down at the moment due to the outbreak, are crying foul.

“This goes against the payment and revenue model that the movie industry has cultivated over many years, is trampling and intentionally destroying the movie industry and premiere models, and play a lead role in causing destruction,” said the letter, whose signatories include Wanda Film Holding, Bona Film Group, and Henan Oscar Theatre Chain.

China’s theaters, studios protest against deal to stream movie online for free | News | WTVB

Sooner or later there is going to be a MOVIES IN THEATER FOR FREE streaming channel. A legal one probably ad-supported in some way, not some torrent copyright piracy nightmare. A legit Spotify-like service for movies.

Mark my words. It. Is. Coming.

The bigger question is whether or not what happened to the music industry will happen to the movie business? Will we see fewer big budget movies being made? Absolutely. We’ll see a rise in more Youtube/indie content, lower budget films and films which exist to drive ad revenue.

I’m not saying this will be a great time for good movies. It will be like what it’s like on YouTube right now. A bunch of crap to filter through to find a few gems. There will be many, many more movies, most of them horrendously amateur and bad.

Hollywood will look more like tent city.

I know, a prediction of doom and gloom for the movie industry, but it’s inevitable that somebody is going to legalize the Spotify model for movies. It probably won’t be this year or maybe next, but it wouldn’t be a bad wager that it’s likely to happen within the next 10-20 years.

The movie business has to change and adapt, as should have the music business. Hopefully, they do better.

Let’s start the clock ticking with this post on January 25, 2020.

Disney purges “FOX” name – the FOX has left the 20th Century Mouse House

As seen at the beginning of Star Wars, the most profitable movie of all time, the title card will no longer hold relevance soon. Disney is removing “FOX” from 20th Century Fox.

Disney is dropping the Fox name from its 20th Century Fox brand, renaming the longtime studio as just 20th Century Studios. Its art house production company, Fox Searchlight, will now be known as Searchlight Pictures.

Disney drops ‘Fox’ name and will rebrand its movie studio as ’20th Century’ | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV | News, Weather, Sports

After Disney bought Fox, the name’s fate was just one of many question marks. How much of the 20th Century Fox movies will end up in Disney+ and what will go into the infamous Big D vault?

This name change seems to be a departure from what Disney CEO Bob Iger said back in August 2019:

“The company itself will be The Walt Disney Co., but there will still be companies, especially on the movie side, with the Fox name,” Iger said during the meeting, which Disney live-streamed. “We will continue to make movies under the Fox brand and Fox Searchlight brand. And FX, which isn’t Fox, but sounds like it will keep its name.”

Disney Boss Bob Iger Says 20th Century Fox Will Continue to Make Films Under Its Own Brands

No entities live forever: people, business and brands. Still, sad to see the FOX leaving the hen, er, mouse house. R.I.P FOX.

Studios To Regain Powers Due to 1948 Paramount Consent Being Overturned

Big studios dancing around with diehard moviegoers hearts … or rather their wallets and purses

Seems like the movie studios are about to get back some legal flexibility, er muscle, that was stripped from them in the 1950s.

Some are saying it’s not a question of what if, but when and how soon before the current movie theater environment will be impacted.

We’re talking about legal mumbo jumbo called the Paramount Consent, which allowed studios — with less red tape — to own their own theaters, have more ability to control and dictate minimum ticket pricing and group movies together upon release (force theaters to show duds if they want to show more prominent titles).

Why would the United States government roll back these changes that were put in place after a win in the courts against Paramount in 1948?

They say the laws are obsolete in the current environment.

It’s true times have changed. We have the internet and streaming in 2019. In 1950 most people didn’t even own one television, much less a color TV set. The internet wasn’t even a wet dream.

No Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple … yeah, the technology world was non-existent.

We shouldn’t be too panicked as moviegoers, yet, because there will be a two year sunset provision before these laws are fully rolled back.

The one shred of hope came when Delrahim explained that “antitrust enforcers remain ready to act” if studios begin engaging in behavior that harms consumers, but wiping these decrees off the books unquestionably gives studios huge freedoms to establish more dominance across the industry. I hate to be fatalistic, but if antitrust enforcers are our last line of defense against corporate greed, the future of an already dwindling industry could be more dire than ever.

Paramount Conset Decrees to Be Overturned, Altering Moviegoing – /Film

Forgive my rolled eyes for trusting government intervention.

The studios are already reeling over their own competitive environment. Disney is locking up more titles in their vault perhaps planning to release them on their own streaming service (Disney+!).

Several articles are decrying that this will most negatively impact the small, independent theater chains who may soon have an even more difficult time getting first run movies to show.

This is difficult with the laws in place now.

At a time when the average moviegoer sees 3-4 movies in theaters a year, I don’t see this rollback — yet — as the end of the world. Maybe it will create more competition among the big three theater chains (AMC, Regal and Cinemark). Let’s not forget that these industry titans were investigated for possible anti-trust violations five years ago over clearances:

…the Department of Justice will be looking to determine whether or not the three major movie chains are unfairly using their positions in collection with the film industry to prevent smaller and/or independent chains from receiving the all-important first run movies. Interviews with executives from these smaller chains in multiple states are already being carried out, and more are scheduled for the future.

3 Major Movie Theater Chains Under Investigation For Possible Antitrust Violations

The plot thickens.

Any positive outlook? Yes, maybe Netflix and Amazon will buy their own theaters and finally be able to show their own original movies like The Irishman without having to honor the 90-day theatrical window.

Business, Time and Technology Will Be The Answer

Nobody has the answer to how, if and/or when this will impact moviegoers. My 50+ year life experience tells me that business environment is dictated most by where people spend money.

Follow the money.

I’m spending more money at theaters now than ever before thanks to an unlimited movie plan from a big theater chain that didn’t exist six months ago.

Thanks to a disruptive technology startup (Moviepass, now defunct), not some dust-ridden law protecting me from big, bad corporate greed..