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We know home theater - 24th Anniversary
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We know home theater - 24th Anniversary

Popcorn Machine Sightings

Have you seen a Popcorn Machine lately?'s staff have been out and about in Chicago, Illinois, looking for popcorn machines. That's right- we're hunting popcorn machines. Why on earth would we do that? The simple reason is that we're looking for unique and interesting uses of popcorn machines in everyday settings. Who uses them? Why do they buy them?

We've summarized our results, and found that popcorn machines are used in a wide variety places, from gas stations to bowling alleys. The popcorn machine sightings corroborate with our sales activity on who we've been selling these machines to. Here's a list of some of the places we've seen a popcorn machine in action. The other thing we've noticed is that the most common kettle size in most places was an 8oz popper. It's got a high capacity kettle, it fits into most places, and it uses a standard wall outlet. Take note: many of the poppers we spotted had been in use for over 10 years. The key takeaway in this observation is that popcorn machines last a long time! We summarize the list here with our observations. You'll see that a popcorn machine is like a Swiss army knife: it has a lot of uses. You can probably think up a new one.

Homes: We've been to many homes with popcorn machines. The key reason is that popcorn machines make good quality popcorn, and are great decor items. The most common area in the home for a popcorn machine was the home theater, bar area and game room. The basement was the place we most often sighted a popcorn machine.

Schools: We've seen popcorn machines in use at sports events, as a fundraising activity. A popcorn machine is a great way to fundraise at school events. Many schools purchase them for this activity, and yes, kids love popcorn.

Banks: We saw many popcorn machines in banks. The key reason is that banks are in the business of getting new depositors, and they use free popcorn to keep customer feeling good about the bank. It costs less money than the free candy, and it smells good.

Retirement Homes: Yes, most retirement homes have a popcorn machine. They keep the guests happy.

Hotels and Resorts: We've seen many a popcorn machine in a hotel. The two key hotel areas we've seen popcorn machines are the bar and sometimes the pantries, in the smaller hotels. We've even seen them in the lobby. Most hotels give away popcorn. You paid for the room, and it's one of the cheapest free perks they can give out, besides miles.

Bars and Nightclubs: This is the oldest trick in the book. They give you free popcorn to make you thirsty, and you drink more. We fall for it every time. If you're a bar owner, step to the plate and buy a popcorn machine, and watch your drink profits soar. Popcorn has replaced peanuts as the snack of choice in bars. It's a little less messy at the end of the day, too!

Apartment Buildings: Many new apartment buildings have common areas. Sometimes it's a full blown home theater, other times it's just a TV room. They give away the popcorn for free.

Clubs: All kinds of clubs have them ,including the Country Club, Golf Clubs, Rotary Clubs, VFW's, and Elks Clubs. If you are in charge of club, you need a popcorn machine. In most cases, it's used to provide free popcorn for club members. They let you pay dues for the privilege.

Condo Associations: Many condo buildings have them in the common area, for owners snack on while they socialize or argue about the condo assessments.

Gas Stations: Yes, we have seen them here. The key reason is to sell it to you while you buy gas. You get to buy gas and popcorn. What could be better?

Ice Rinks: The concession stands at the ice rinks all have them, and they sell it for a premium price. They make money.

Bowling Alleys: The same law applies here. They sell popcorn as a snack. They buy low from us and sell high to you.

Miniature Golf: This is just Economics 101. You've got people putting around on the golf course for hours. You can sell them popcorn, and then drinks. After all, the popcorn makes people thirsty.

The ballpark or stadium: All types of ball parks sell popcorn. Some stadiums use that prepacked stuff that taste like cardboard, but we still buy it. I like the ballparks that make it fresh.

Movie Theater: Yes, this is obvious. We like to restate the obvious. These guys mark it up quite a bit, but not as much as amusement parks.

Car Wash: The car wash is another one. You buy a wash, you get free popcorn. You work there. you get free popcorn. The bottom line is, you get popcorn.

Concession Stands: You'll find concession stands at museums, zoos, and planetariums. If there are kids going to a venue, you'll always find popcorn machines there, and nice people to sell it to them. We have the Lincoln Park Zoo here in Chicago. It's one of the only free zoos in the country. Guess what? At the end of the day, it's not entirely free, as you end up buying popcorn, sodas, and parking. They lure you in to buy things.

Amusement Parks: When paying to get into the park, you pay for the privilege to buy more things. They always give you a deal to get in. That's when the money flows- for all the concession items, including popcorn. Everything in an amusement park costs double what it costs everywhere else. Amusement parks have an even bigger markup than movie theaters! They have lots of overhead to make up for, though, as they've got to maintain the roller coasters. My advice is to not even try eating popcorn on one of those rides. It will get dumped on someone, and that someone could be big.

Airports: You'll find popcorn sold at most major airports today, from different concessionaires. They make money doing it, and everyone likes the taste. Plus, they know you'll buy a five-dollar Coke with it.

Train Stations and Bus Stations: Same as airports!

As you can see, there's many uses for popcorn machines all around the world. The popcorn machine is truly the Swiss army knife of snack-making. Why not get one yourself, so you don't have to pay inflated prices at the airport or theater? You could always join a club and pay dues, as the popcorn is free for dues paying members.

This is a list we have complied by the staff of Have you seen a popcorn machine in use somewhere else? Please feel free to email us at, and we'll list it here!