The award for dumb move of the week goes to the San Diego Zoo. No, not for deciding to ban visitors from bringing food and drinks into the Zoo and Wild Animal Park. That move is decidedly unsmart but is very run of the mill. What gets the award is the explanation, which we will get to after the ones they did not use.
They did not say that they want to force visitors to have to buy $7 hamburgers and $4 bottles of water so that they make more money. (Remember that a visit to either of those places is decidedly a day-long affair.) They also did not say that it was because the food that was being brought in was creating a trash problem, nor that people were feeding inappropriate food to the animals.
The first of those would have sounded believeable but would have really pissed people off. The others would probably have been more palatable to the public but maybe slightly less believeable.
The reason? "People bring the food in huge coolers and there isn't room for all the huge coolers, which wind up interfering with other visitors' views of the animals."
Lack of room in the grandstand was the reason given at stock car racing venues for limiting coolers to 14" square. After 9/11 they were banned altogether, another nonsensical but highly profitable ruling. The SD Zoo's two venues cover a few square miles each, so are you kidding me?
My wife and I have been annual members at the SD Zoo for more than ten years. I sort of vaguely recall that I've noticed people carrying food and drinks at times, and I may have noticed a cooler once or twice. I don't recall ever having seen a "huge cooler" at all, much less hordes of them, and I can guarantee I have never had my view blocked by any coolers. (People, yes, but not coolers.)
Having stuck to their "no room for coolers" theme for more than a week, the Zoo is now gradually switching to a theme having to to with... Yep, trash and feeding the animals.
Their PR people need to run for U.S. Congress.