Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fun Fees for All

The other day I went to enjoy a piece of cinema. I was seeing a film in 3D, which I was more than excited about because I have not been to a 3D attraction since the Honey I Shrunk the Kids exhibit in Disneyland. So not only was this a trip to the movies, but a visit to childhood.

I go to the ticket counter to purchase my ticket. Upon handing over my credit card and as the cashier was swiping my piece of plastic she tells me that there is a two dollar fee because the film I was about to enjoy is premium. I found this interesting for a number of reasons. The first being, clearly the theatre had issues with this charge because the scruncci wearing girl only had enough courage to tell me of the fee as she is swiping my card. Secondly, I wondered if there was a non-premium option for my viewing pleasure, because knowing myself I would not be able to tell the difference - I do not know I am watching a blue ray DVD until I am told so, and even then I do not appreciate the better quality, (I know I should and I apologize). After smiling and nodding as if I knew about this charge I take my glasses, that no doubt cost under 50 cents to make and go to my premium movie. I wondered if there was superior popcorn with organic butter to complete my premium movie experience.

Anyways, the film was great, and I do not know if I should attribute this to the premium quality or the fact it was just plain entertaining - a mystery I may never know. As I am strolling out of the theatre chuckling about the film, I came the next part of the premium movie experience, you give back your premium movie enhancers. When exiting the theatre there is a recycle bin for the glasses, which everyone puts their glasses in thoughtlessly. I of course took mine off, but had to ponder the fact of the entire event. I paid two dollars for the glasses, then had to give them back in fear that environmentalists would have a field day on me and was only left with a 11.00 ticket stub to commemorate my first premium movie experience. I then wondered, if you keep the glasses and go to another premium movie and inform them that you are already equipped, is the ticket normal price? I would have to think not, unless the district supervisor of the theatre is called in to override the charge, causing you to miss the first 1/2 of the film.

Many fees are appearing in various sectors, it started with fees for checking bags, and the most recent one I experienced is a tire fee for rental cars. The fee at the particular place I went to was 2.00 per tire, but there is no way you can pay 6.00 because you never use only 3 tires, I tried to joke about this with the cashier - I guess he had heard it before because he was not too amused. So really the fee is 8.00 regardless. The fee is to cover wear and tear on the tires, which makes the entire up front fee obsolete, because a major reason one rents a car is for trips in order to preserve the wear and tear on their own vehicles. Hotels have started to charge resort fees for quite some time now, and they cover things such as using the fitness facilities, the pool area...pretty much if you want to walk from your room to the lobby you are paying the fee. There is almost no way around it - I don't understand why these places don't just make these "optional" fees part of the up front cost. Wouldn't that save a lot of head aches, calls to the manger and angry letters from disgruntled customers? And what is the irony of all these fees one might ask...when economic times get better do you ever see these fees being lifted? Something along the lines of "Awesome Airlines announces no more checked bag fees!" I am not sure if I see it, but I suppose only time will tell.

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