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LAist's Solved Mysteries: Stealing Arclight Bonus Points

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With enough solved mysteries now to publish a best-selling novel, LAist has settled into a comfortable place solving local mysteries for our loyal readers on a week-to-week basis. Sure, it may not be nearly as snarky as The Coffee Buzz -- but hell, it's free. And in this world, that's something to talk about.

This week, LAist turns our wandering (and lazy) eyes towards a potentially criminal situation that has been unknowingly going on at Hollywood's Arclight Cinemas for some time now. And even more disturbing, is that it's been going on without many people having any inkling about it.

What we're talking about are the "bonus points" one gets when they buy anything at Arclight Cinemas. Whether you purchase tickets, buy food or even waste your money on their in-house gift store items (yes, I know you desperately need that book on the Top 100 Movie Lines of all time) -- such items turn into bonus points specifically for YOU, that can be redeemed for free items at the concession stand.

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Sadly, you may not be the only person redeeming your own bonus points.

Up until about three months ago, the secret was gaining momentum. If you knew your buddy was an avid Arclight visitor and you happened to know his phone number (easy information to find out), all you had to do was go up to the candy counter, give them that phone number, and walk away with a few free items. There was no ID check, no asking your name and no limit to the amount of items you wanted to snag by using such bonus points.

Just how and why such criminal acts were being overlooked was the mystery of the century. Or, you know, that week.

In talking with the management at Arclight, LAist has found out that such practices were adjusted over the last few months to combat such bonus-point, cheating rings... But that, sadly, they have yet to be completely solved. While the staff at the Arclight Cinemas concession stands still continue to ask you for your phone number (or, Arclight Member account number), they have now limited the amount of free items you can redeem with your points to a single, item.

But surprisingly, the Arclight staff does not ask for any I.D. whatsoever.

Ask the management at Arclight what the procedure is supposed to be and they'll tell you that they're supposed to check your I.D.. But with long lines and people chomping at the bit to get their food and get to their movie on time, the I.D. checking is not happening. In fact, you can still walk up to a concession stand, give out your friends phone number (or even listen to the person in front of you, remember their number, and use it at a later date) and take them (over and over again) for all the bonus points they've received. There are no hard and fast rules in place to keep such bonus point redemption thefts from happening.

Sure, you could pretend to be honest -- but we know better.

On the other hand, those in the upper management at Arclight Cinemas have tried to diffuse such rumors by telling LAist that with each ticket purchase, any visitor reaps a few points which can be used to redeem a free item. But in reality, one would have to purchase at least four tickets in order to gain enough for a free soda or candy or hot dog -- and even then, they'd have to take the time to sign up for a membership so that such points can be tracked.

I mean, isn't it just easier to lift someone's phone number and take them for all they're worth?

Sadly, upon uncovering such truths, LAist tried to figure out an alternative. A way to keep others from taking your bonus points away from you, without you even knowing it. But when it comes down to it, there is no solution to the mindless bonus point acquisition process that smart Angelenos with a penchant for free candy have been taking part in.

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Hell, at least you know the truth though. That's half the battle, right?

There is one solution per those in a position to know (i.e. Arclight). Those afraid that others may pillage your points can simply change their phone number and account to a number that does not coincide with a real telephone number. Keep said number close to your vest and when in line redeeming points, whisper said number to the cashier. Yes, paranoid whispering. This will both keep others from knowing your number and turn you into a raving lunatic.

But for free candy, what can we say. Isn't it all worth it?

Mystery solved.