The NFL is dealing with some backlash this week after making a change to its security rules that will ban standard-size purses and bags from football stadiums. The league says that the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon was a factor in changing the policy, but the decision is upsetting a lot of female fans who just want to be able to carry their handbags to the game.
The policy change is also going to make it more difficult to save money by carrying in outside food and drink. Yes, you've probably been small-time smuggler at some point in your life -- whether it's sneaking your own beer into a ball game or buying candy at the corner store to avoid the big markups at the movie theater's concession stand.
But tightened security need not dissuade you from thumbing your nose at concession prices. Here are a few products specifically designed to aid and abet you in your candy-and-booze running.
Skip the Concession Markup: 5 Ways to Sneak in Outside Food and Drink
5 Ways to Beat High Concession Prices -- and the NFL's Bag Ban
Hikers are big fans of the CamelBak, a line of backpacks with built-in bladders that hold water and have an attached hose for quick hydrating. Such a system can of course be repurposed to hold booze, but even the most poorly trained security guard is going to stop you if you try to bring it into a baseball game. And under the new NFL rules, all backpacks are banned anyway.
The solution: The Beer Belly ($24.08), an 80-ounce bladder in a satchel that fits nicely on your belly. Wear it under a baseball jersey and everyone just assumes you've got a prodigious gut. What they don't know is that you've got the equivalent of several beers in there, saving you from having to pay the big markup in the stadium. Just drink it before it gets warm.
We suppose women could just use the beer belly and claim that they're pregnant (and hope that security will be too tactful to do a full pat-down). If not, here's something just for her: The Wine Rack ($29.95).
As the name suggests, this a bra that holds booze. Specifically, it's a sports bra with a built-in bladder that holds 25 ounces of your favorite beverage. Like the Beer Belly, it's got a drinking tube to allow you easy access to your drink when stadium security isn't looking. We recommend filling it with red wine, which unlike beer doesn't suffer if it gets a little warm.
Sometimes you need to sneak in some booze in a more formal setting -- say, a nice bar where the prices are a bit too steep. If an actual flask isn't subtle enough (or if your suit has no pockets), you might try out the FlaskTie ($24.95), which conceals a long, thin pouch behind an actual tie. Far from a gag gift, the tie is available in 27 different patterns.
The official website shows one possible use for this product: Drinking on the job. In one picture, an unkempt office drone who looks like he already spent the previous night getting hammered takes a pull from his TieFlask, while his water-drinking co-worker looks on in obvious jealousy. We don't want to judge anyone, but if you find yourself buying a special tie just so you can imbibe at work, you probably need either a new job or a twelve-step program.
Scottevest makes pocketed clothing for travelers who don't want to carry a backpack when they've got stuff to tote around. The company offers vests that hold iPads, shirts with pockets sewn in for smartphones or MP3 players, and multi-pocket pants, among other gear. It's a great way to avoid paying baggage fees when traveling, and it also means you don't have to leave your iPad behind in the hotel room and risk having it stolen.
But it also seems like an ideal way to sneak food into a movie, sporting event or amusement park. Instead of being limited to a candy bar slipped in your front pocket, you can use a Scottevest to sneak in a full meal. That's a big money-saver when you consider the huge markup at the movie theater.
The NFL may be banning purses and handbags, but other leagues have yet to follow suit. In the meantime, though, don't think you can just fill your purse with snacks and stroll into a hockey arena. Usually security will go through your bag as you enter to make sure you aren't bringing in contraband or outside food, and they might also give you a pat-down to make sure you've got nothing in your pockets that shouldn't be there.
To circumvent this, you might consider getting a purse or handbag with a hidden compartment or false bottom designed to hide valuables or a concealed handgun. While we don't advocate sneaking firearms into a football game, there's no reason these compartments can't be repurposed. It's up to you whether you're willing to make your nice new purse smell like a hot dog just to save five bucks.