Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Value of a Dollar

It's become an accepted feature of American life that captive audiences are to be charged through the nose for everything. I'm tired of it, myself, but there are enough damned fools out there -- that is, pretty much everybody -- to keep the practice alive.

It amazes me, how profligate people are, how ready and willing to part with their money for no value. So they charge you six bucks for a beer at the ball game; what can you do about it? You're stuck there for hours. Here's a thought: drink water out of the fountain, and stop off at a bar for a beer after the game. The game will be just as good. And don't eat the food at the ball park. Besides being overpriced, it's bad for you in every way.

Same thing at the airport. Eat before you go, and take food with you for the flight (since the airlines have now joined the fleece-for-all). 

This diatribe is provoked today by my first-ever visit to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, where I went to see the excellent film, The King's Speech. I figured the food prices would be higher than at a restaurant, and they were, just a bit. They were the kind of prices that would pass for normal in Seattle or San Francisco, and having just been out on the west coast a few months ago, I was not obligated to pick my jaw up off the floor when I saw them on the menu. I had psyched myself up to pay a premium price for mediocre food, and was all set to do so, until I saw the price of bottled water: $3.

That's more than a premium price; that's exorbitant. Water is free in this country, and the bottled-water craze is ludicrous. But even in a captive venue, $3 for a little water in a two-penny bottle is way, way too much. At that price, it should come with a blow job. (I assume it doesn't.) So I did without for a couple of hours. It was no hardship for me, and no doubt Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will not notice the small profit missing from their bottom line. Because all you other profligate fools will buy their water.

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