It sure looked good, but promos always do at first glance. Like that recent car commercial offering $3000 off a new vehicle. Act now, because it's a limited time offer. Pressure, pressure. Always pressure. But then one might consider -- if they can give you three grand off and still make a decent profit -- and you know they will -- then how outrageous was the mark-up in the first place? Same with a windows company offering buy one and get one free. Simple logic dictates the one you're paying for has likely been marked up 300% over what it costs to make and install it. And remember, no interest for the first four years. Hey, if it's going to take you 5-6-7-8 years to pay off a few windows -- either they cost way too much and/or you couldn't afford it anyway.
Back to the Tigers' promotion for a future game. If I have this right, the offer was as follows:
4 hot dogs
4 bags of chips
All for only $19.99 per person.
This package is obviously aimed at the typical "family of four" demographic. Technically, a few partying dudes could pile into a van, replete with a cooler full of serious stuff and head to Comerica to avail themselves of such an offer, but that's probably not what the PR folks of the Tigers had in mind. This sounds great until one translates it into reality. Here's what mom, dad, Bart and Lisa will actually get:
One nasty hog dog apiece. Nothing like a ball park frank, you say? You've been brainwashed. Ask yourself one question. Would you eat such a leathery thing on a soggy bun at home -- or offer them to guests? And good luck at the condiment stand. Mustard and ketchup are one thing, but may the onions and relish at least not be moving on their own when you're trying to dress your dog. Let's just say from standing in line at the concession stand to finally getting back to your seat can be quite the adventure.
One of those little bar bags of low grade potato chips worth perhaps a quarter.
One small soft drink in a paper cup. Wholesale cost? Maybe a dime.
Ah, but the tickets. Granted, in today's insane world of ticket prices, anything under 20 bucks is almost unheard of. What they don't tell you is that you'll be sitting up in nosebleed section somewhere. True, one can't expect the princely seats for pauper prices, but the team could be a little more forthcoming with their promo and what actually awaits patrons if they choose to pursue it.
[Idle thought. In the old days, there were "box" seats. Everybody knew those were the first few rows, be it in the upper or lower deck. Behind them were "reserve" seats. This is where you would always wind up sitting next to the nuclear powered loudmouth smoking a big cheap cigar. "Grandstands" meant outfield seats and weren't that grand at all. Lowest on the totem pole were the "bleachers". The only thing you could see from there was the number on the center fielder's back -- maybe. There are no more grandstands and bleachers. Nowadays it's all done by "sections". So who's to know whether Section 108 features better seats than 145 or 232? Unless one is careful, they might purchase seats thinking they'll be sitting behind home plate, only to arrive and discover they're closer to the clouds than the infield.]
But let's get real. It's likely going to cost you 20 bucks to park your vehicle. And Bart and Lisa surely won't sit through the typical 3 hour game and be satisfied with a single hot dog, small bag of stale chips, and a Coke. They're going to want an ice cream, or peanuts, or another dog, all at full prices. Throw in a couple "programs" for mom and dad and some team paraphernalia for the brats, and that original 80 bucks likely just went up to at least 200, if not more. Along the way, dad will have to escort the young-uns on a few potty breaks, and that's typically when something great happens on the field. Crack, and a roar from the crowd. Dad missed it. Many moms didn't want to be there in the first place. The kids will squabble in the back seat on the way home, while Ma and Pa give each other the silent treatment up front. Especially if the Tigers lost, which they've been doing a lot lately.
Again, 80 bucks isn't a bad deal on the surface for a family of four to see a game live and in person, but there are hidden costs, in more ways than one.
A much better idea is to stay home. Dad can watch it on the big flat screen in hi-def and get all the replays and slo-mos. The kids can go back to their usual mode and be happy little droids mesmerized with the latest app on their mobile devices. Far be it from them to go outside and actually -- gasp -- play anymore. Horrors!! And if Mom isn't busy running a company somewhere, she might consider whipping up something decent to eat for the family. Good cook or not, it can't be any worse than the ball park slop.
Better yet, if Mom is a busy woman, another option is available. Pick up the phone and order a large pizza, with whatever toppings the brood prefers. That's maybe 25 dollars and feeds the whole family. Much better than blowing a couple hundred and it certainly beats enduring a trying day to, at, and from a ballpark. Everybody will be happy.
To make it right by the Tigers as a loyal fan, order it from Little Caesars. Not that he needs it, but at least that way multi-billionaire owner Mike Ilitch still makes a couple bucks.
On an unrelated note, hats off and congrats to Zach Johnson winning the British Open. Most, but not all, professional golfers are gentlemen and class acts. ZJ is the epitome of such. Humble, soft-spoken, happily married with kids, and even moved to tears over winning the Claret Jug. He thanked his caddy, his wife, the Lord, the staff at St. Andrews (including the groundskeepers), whatever fans he has back home, and even the good people of Scotland for being such gracious hosts. A class act of the highest order and worthy champion indeed. Well done and bravo.