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Thank You Sir! May I Have Another?
Assume the position: bent over at the waist, butt sticking out in the air, ready to be struck yet again in the posterior by those in power. After the strike, we state "Thank you sir! May I have another!" time and time again, willingly accepting what those in power do to us over and over and over again.
I'm tired of it. Arent' you?
Last Christmas, our eldest daughter gave my wife and I a couple of gift cards as gifts. Well thought out and quite nice, if you ask me. One to a local restaurant, the other to the movie theater. Things being what they are, we had not used them yet. Saturday we used the restaurant one for a nice lunch for the family. Sunday, my wife suggested I take our youngest to see a movie. She and I are not real big on theaters, in part due to the extremely loud movies themselves.
Question: Why are the theaters so loud? Do they think we are deaf? I have been to rock concerts in my youth that weren't half as loud as a theater today. My son and I literally sat at the very back of the theater, as far from the speakers as possible. We still had to bend over and yell into each other's ear to be understood. Problem #1 in my book.
Problem #2: the cost. He and I went at 12:45 PM, during what is laughingly called the Matinee. In days of yore, this time lead to a lower cost ticket. A nine year old and my tickets cost $15.00 for the movie at this time. When we went in, there were possibly ten other people in the theater. Seating would hold 272, so they were just a bit under the Fire Marshall's limit.
About a third of the way through the movie, he asked if we could get something to drink and some popcorn. So we wandered back to the lobby and went to the counter. I stood in disbelief at the prices. A small drink, 16 ounces, was $4.75; large $6.00. Popcorn ran to similar pricing and the candy was unbelieveable! A box of candy which can be purchased at a local store for $1.00 or less cost $4.00 or more. I settled on the only combo they had listed, two large drinks and a large popcorn. This was the only item we could get refills on if we so desired. When the young lady gave me the total, I almost went into cardiac arrest there on the spot. $17.75! Shaking like a leaf, I handed over the gift card in order that it be used first before paying the remainder. Staggering off, I had to allow my son to lead me back to the theater and get me settled in.
How can they seriously expect families to go out for a movie at those prices? Had I not had the gift card, this simple little day time father and son jaunt to the movies would have cost me a cool $35.00 for two hours of ear shattering noise and minimum enjoyment. As a side note, I will say that at this theater which contains no less than a dozen or more movies showing at the same time held no more than 30 people or so that I saw. That is coming in, watching the movie, going to the restroom, and purchasing (being robbed) at the snack bar. In our movie there were perhaps eight or ten people total for the showing.
If I owned the theater, I would rather have more people in attendance at a lower per person price. For example, if I cut prices to $5.00 per person and saw attendance rise to thirty or forty people, I would make more money for the same time frame, right? And if I cut my prices at the snack bar to a more reasonable rate, I would sell more product. But these greedy people see only the immediate returns on their movies. Charge ten or more dollars per person and get only a few people in to watch. They then jack the prices up even more in order to help their bottom line thereby causing even more people to not be able to afford to come and see the movie.
Do they not understand the simplicity of lower price = more profit? Perhaps they need to read Sam Walton's "Made In America" book in order to understand how retail should work. For that matter, maybe Walmart management and home office need to read it again in order to do it right.
What if they lowered the prices?
$10 per ticket cost
Number of people
Okay, I got that off my chest for the time being. But there are so many other situations we willingly place ourselves into and hand over our money. Theme parks for instance. In our state we have three primary theme parks one can go to. Worlds of Fun in Kansas City; Six Flags in St. Louis; and Silver Dollar City in Branson. Of the three, we enjoy SDC the most, but is has become cost prohibitive to go there. A one day ticket now costs in excess of $60.00 per person, while a season pass is over a hundred. Gas to and from adds another $30.00 minimum. If one chose to spend a night, add another hundred. A meal at the park for a family of five will exceed $80.00 for burgers, fries, and a drink. Parking adds $10.00 so a family of five for a day of fun would easily cost close to $500.00. Who has that kind of money?
Worlds of Fun is even more costly, and is twice as far away. Six Flags is three times as far, so an overnight stay would be required. Add to that the last time I stayed in St. Louis and our vehicle was stolen right off the Ramada Inn parking lot and you get the picture. I am not going to do this! A family could easily spend $1,000.00 for a couple of nights and days at such a location. Is this really what America does for fun?
Why do we continually place ourselves in this position?
How many of you spend this kind of money at a theme park?
When did it come to this? Have I been that out of touch with movies and theaters like this? For a while here in town we had a theater that ran movies several months after they were released and only charged a buck. $1.00 per person to see the movie. Drinks and popcorn and such were a more reasonable cost and a family could easily go to a movie for under $20.00. Not any more.
Everything is about the almightly dollar. Movies show millions of dollars in ticket sales, but what does that really show us? Only that the cost is outrageous. Hollywood, post your numbers in number of tickets sold if you want to see how they stack up against films from the past, not dollars. Telling me you made $500,000,000.00 on Avatar doesn't mean squat to me; your ticket sales probably weren't as good as Gone With The Wind's were, you just charged more and it was seen in more places.
While commiserating with fellow employees today, I received somewhat of an education. See I am a basically honest person. I drive the speed limit; I open doors for people; I treat people the way I want to be treated. It never occurred to me to do what a co-worker said that his family does. Are you ready?
They movie hop! They will buy a ticket for an afternoon movie, then after it ends hop into another movie rather than leave. They might even catch a third movie if they feel like it. How do they do this? Well, the theaters have set themselves up where they have one way onto the theater, then all these hallways where the movies are shown in different rooms. No one who works in the theater pays any attention to people inside these halls, as people get up and go to the restroom or go out front to buy snacks and drinks. They don't ask to see your ticket unless you leave the immediate area. One can wander the halls for hours popping in and out seeing several different films in one day for the price of a single admission.
I was shocked! My first impression is one of disbelief. Why, that's illegal! You are stealing! Being dishonest! Then, a little voice in the back of my head that I didn't even know existed spoke.
"Remember the Golden Rule? Treat others the way you want to be treated? Well, the theaters are doing just that to you!" Huh?
They charge you to the point of being highway robbery for drinks, snacks, and tickets. They are showing you how they want to be treated! Go ahead, steal from us! After all, we are doing it to you!
Now, I am not saying I could do this, even knowing what I know. But the thought of getting back at them for what they are doing does have some merits to a point. I am ashamed at the thought, but really, why not? There is no earthly reason tickets should cost that much, nor popcorn cost anywhere near what they charge for it. By charging so much they dare you to not come, or to come but movie hop in order to get your money's worth. Don't they?
At heart, I am honest enough to say I won't do this. But it does sound tempting, doesn't it? Sneak in to see three movies in a day, carry in candy or water in a bag so one doesn't have to pay ten dollars for a bottle of water and a box of Hot Tamales?