Monday, June 10, 2013

FTT Off-Topic: The Rich Aren't Like You And Me. They Are Much, Much Worse.

Can't you just move to Dubai already?
As usual in such matters, not sports and writing for my own amusement. Like it or not.

There's a story in the NYT today -- and no, I'm not going to link to it, it will just spike your blood pressure, the way it did mine -- about how theme parks are joining every other aspect of America in going to a tiered model of pricing, where the swells in the audience are given the opportunity to pay more and have a superior experience to the likes of, well, you.

Universal Studios Hollywood, just in time for the summer high season, has rolled out a $299 VIP ticket that gets you valet parking, breakfast in luxury lounges, special access to the back lot, a fancy lunch and -- this one's the kicker -- unlimited line skipping.

Now, I've just been to Universal, in April, in Orlando. I had a decent time, as I've got older kids that are right in Universal's wheelhouse of post-Disney fun. We were able to get a deal on tickets from the place we stayed at. We went for 3 days over the course of a week in the area, and pretty much did everything there was to do. I might recommend it over Disney, seeing how Disney is more money for a base ticket.

But now, I'm not going to do that. And, well, I'm probably never going to go there again.

Why? Well, it's not due to a hatred for theme parks. We've been to Knoebels a half dozen times and will probably go a half dozen more, but that's more of a day trip. I tried to make it to Cedar Point just a few weeks ago, and was only stymied by child illness. The Shooter Eldest just went to Six Flags a week ago. Wildwood and Ocean City and a host of other places are probably in our future. And so on.

It's not due to a lack of money. We're not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination (click on some ads and change that!), but I make decent coin and can afford a little bit of recreation here and there without falling too far behind in the plan to save for the kids' college funds.

It's not even due to an unwillingness to say no to the kids, or to lay down the law on spending. They each get allowances, and if they want something, they're expected to spend their own cash, rather than come begging, or do without.

Rather, it's this. There's only so much that you want to subject yourself to situations where you feel like an ass because your bankroll doesn't compete, or your willingness to set money on fire is limited. It kind of takes the fun out of it.

Also, I'd rather my kids weren't exposed to awful people. Whether they have money or not.

At Universal, we were on line for the Jurassic Park water ride (which is pretty great) when it ran into technical issues. We were close to the front when it happened, so they gave us a line skipping receipt to use, like the VIPs get. And I felt like a tool for using it, and for undermining the central point that I was making to my 7-year-old when we used it -- that theme parks are fun, but you have to be patient and wait in line a lot.

Just like everyone else.

Except, um, for those people over there. They paid more. More than us. A lot more than us. And a lot more than everyone else on line.

No, honey, that really doesn't seem fair. And as I've told you many times, life isn't fair. If it were, you wouldn't live in the best and richest nation on earth, never really go hungry or cold or stay sick for lack of medicine, always have clothes and toys and pets and your own room or so on and so on.

And your eyes have already glazed over as you look at the people who don't have to wait on line, and Daddy kind of hates them now, and the park that lets them use their money to be such unrepentant scumbags, to the point where he feels bad for taking you here in the first place, and wants to key their cars and set things on fire and yes, the line seems even longer now, doesn't it?

As I said, It kind of takes the fun out of it.

So we're not going.

Hopefully, other people won't, either.

Which would fix the whole line problem in the short run, and the whole rapacious corporate decision in the long...

Since there just aren't enough rich douchebags to keep these places open.

And, um, finally, this.

There are places where the rich get everything they ever want, never have to encounter people with less, and are catered to constantly.

Mostly while under armed guard and constant surveillance, since they live in fear that the lower classes will, you know, up and kill them.

Like they have, over and over again, throughout the centuries in region after region of the world.

Weapons are cheap. Security is expensive, and has to be perfect, and nothing in this world is. Rub people's nose in their poverty enough, they make bad choices. For them, and for you.

Perhaps developing a sense of propriety might be an idea?


snd_dsgnr said...

You hit on what I've always found perplexing about the 1%'s response to the ever widening income gap in this country, these are by and large educated people so why are they so blind to the obvious patterns of history? Having an economic system that allows for a tiny minority to live in utter opulance while a much larger group deprived of political power watches their children go hungry has *always* led to social unrest.

And not the sort of unrest that causes marches or demonstrations, the sort that ends with gallows being erected in public squares.

I'm not saying I want that result, but that is the pattern.

CMJDad said...

My friend, I like your way of protesting this. Don't go. Don't purchase their product. If their practices offend you, vote with your wallet. I applaud your decision. There are others in the world who would rather take this to court, to have the heavy hand of government dictate what a private concern should do with their product. These are the folks that I despise. The best, most democratic option is to throw the people who make these decisions the high, hard middle finger and purchase a product that you have less disdain for. Ah, the free market. Capitalism actually works if the government will let it.

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