Over the weekend my “better half” and I went to see a movie at the Chesterfield Mall.

We normally stay in Union to catch flicks, but for Christmas my sister gave us gifts cards for an AMC Theater.

I understand that it cost money to show a film to audiences, but if we didn’t have a gift card, I don’t know that we could have afforded to see the movie without taking out a loan.

We saw what we thought was a matinee of “This Is 40,” but apparently 4:35 p.m. is in the evening because the tickets cost $10.50 each.

I expected that the theater would be more pricey than what we normally spend, but we spent $21 before we even got to the snack counter and Jami loves popcorn. (When I say Jami I actually mean me.)

Jami likes to add butter and white cheddar cheese flavored salt by the handful. Which can get messy, especially with the butter.

At the snack counter I almost had a heart attack, not from the butter and salt, but after seeing the price of two sodas and a popcorn was $19.50, in addition to the promise of my firstborn son and the naming rights of my firstborn daughter.

Although “AMC Chesterfield 14 Jones” has a very nice ring to it as a name for a baby girl, I had a hard time parting with the cash.

But this wasn’t your average run-of-the-mill snack counter. There were more options than popcorn, Jujubes and Milk Duds.

Also on the menu were hot dogs and nachos.

Who thought it would be a great idea to serve cheesy nachos and hot dogs begging for condiments in a dark room?

I have a hard enough time keeping mustard off my shirt when I’m eating mustard at high noon on a cloudless day while wearing a lobster bib.

I can’t imagine trying to eat a loaded hot dog while I’m elbow to elbow with a stranger.

Maybe the outrageous prices are to pay for upholstery cleaning and staff to mop up the mixture of neon nacho cheese, ketchup, relish and popcorn from the theater floor.

Or maybe the high ticket costs fund the previews before the film. The movie actually began at 5 p.m., and ended after 7 p.m. That is much longer than I expected.

I am glad that I didn’t schedule a dentist appointment that night. I am also thankful that if I needed to, I could have gotten my needed vitamins and nutrients from the Auntie Ann’s Pretzels and Orange Julius that were just steps away.

We are spoiled that we don’t have to pay $20 for a matinee, and I can’t imagine paying $30 to see a movie at 8 p.m. Not to mention the wait to see the film.

We walked out of the theater and back into the well-lit mall looking like vampires freshly removed from their coffins, and we came across a huge line snaking through the mall.

The line wound around the Sunglass Hut, past Spencer Gifts, through the Sbarro, and under the giant trampoline that I can’t ride because it is “just for kids.”

It was then that I understood why the snack counter served full meals. By the time customers made it through the line, they had lost 10 pounds and would never make it through three hours in the dark cinema without 80 ounces of caffeine.