Friday, July 15, 2011

Ticket Price Discrimination

We came to London for a couple of days and to humor my older daughter who was intent on seeing the final Harry Potter film in the country of Harry’s birth (it was awesome by the way!). We knew London was expensive and thus expected to pay more for movie tickets here, but never before had we encountered the employment of price discrimination based on where your seats are in the theater. Seats closer to the screen cost more, while the ones furthest from the screen cost a lot less. We paid NINE pounds per person (that’s nearly 18 US dollars) for a ‘standard view’ (which wasn’t even in the first tier of seats). And get this, in order to make sure that people don’t buy tickets for the ‘cheap seats’ and then sit in the more expensive seats once inside the darkened theater, a bunch of theater employees stand in each section of the theater for the ENTIRE film, surveying the crowd to make sure no one moves. I can’t imagine it is cost effective for the theater to pay an employee to stand around watching a bunch of people watch a movie. I bet if they stopped paying all those extra employees to monitor the crowd they’d save enough money to employ a single ticket pricing schedule. Thank god the French don’t do this because we’d never go to the movies.

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