Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Value of a Dollar: Convenience

I was just about to order two tickets to a concert coming up next month. It was going to be my wife's birthday present. It's a performer that I know she likes, albeit one that I couldn't care less about. But the timing of the show is almost perfect, so I figured I could sit through a few hours in a crowded theater listening to so-so music, because I love her and we do things like that for people we care about.

Then I clicked on the "price details" for the tickets, and my curmudgeon kicked in.

In addition to the $20 price of the show, there is a $1 charge per ticket, a "facility charge." This, I suppose, is the added cost of holding the concert indoors. OK, a buck a ticket, I can live with that. I object to it on principle, but it is just a buck. Each.

Then there's the $5.80 "convenience charge." Don't kid yourself: this isn't the charge for your convenience, buyer. This is the charge the theater imposes for the convenience to it of not having to mess with all that ticket-selling stuff on its own. It's the commission paid to a third-party ticketing company.

I object to that on principle, too. If the theater want to charge $26.80 for the show, that's fine; I will decide based on that price whether I want to pay it ... and I probably would. These days, it's not so much for a show, even one that I don't really want to see.

But knowing that the show is really only worth $20, and the "facility" in which it's held is only worth another dollar, I object to paying $5.80 above the value of the show. Per ticket.

I also object to paying a $2.50 premium for the privilege of printing the tickets on my own printer, when standard mail is free.

So now I'm having a hard time reconciling myself to buying two tickets for $26.80 each, because I know they aren't really worth that.

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