Thursday, 26 April 2012

Every little helps part 2

There was a time when WYSIWYG wasn't just about idiot-proof computer programmes.

Long, long ago, in a little place called Reasonable Land, if you wanted a £20 ticket for the Rolling Stones at the Venue, a month or two before the event, when the tickets went on sale, you either phoned up to reserve one (in fairness being told that if you didn't collect they'd be sold), sent in a letter with a £20 cheque, or queued up for one yourself. You paid your £20 and walked off with your ticket.

Now, the process is all automated, but you do have to be quick off the 'enter' key before the website crashes. You rarely can collect in person, you can phone a £30 a minute premium rip-off number and give your card details over the phone, you certainly can't reserve one without paying, and occasionally you can 'win' one using the 'enter' key.

However, unlike the 'olden days', added will be a booking fee, a handling fee, a postage fee, a packing fee, a 'you booked on a day with a 'y' in it fee, or if you go to Ticketmaster's "Get me in" site, a rip-off fee. This means the price that you pay for your £20 ticket won't bear the slightest resemblance to £20.

The frustrating thing is that they are making more money for less effort. And not only that, but tickets are quite often going on sale up to 18 months before the event. The band could be dead by then!

Anyone with any morals or gumption about them has to ask 'why?'.

And the simple answer. Because we the public let them away with it. If the girls want a ring side seat to drool over Simon Cowell's latest talentless protégées, then why should they pay £20 a month before when the ticketing parasites can leverage £30 out of them over a year in advance?

It's the big 'want' over 'need'. The same happens with altogether more mature (age, not mental agility) people who are happy to pitch their 2-man tent in front of the Apple store four weeks before the release of an identical-to-previous-but-with-a-higher-consecutive-numbered gadget. There is absolutely nil need, but a mere 100% want. They certainly don't queue like that at St George's Crypt in Leeds to donate to the homeless (at least I don't believe they do).

But it's the same all over. People engaging their wallets before they engage their brains.

Another example. There is what amounts to an admission fee of £2 at Leeds Bradford so-called International Airport. Yet, when you pay that fee, you still have to drop Aunt Bessie off, in the wind and pouring rain, some 400 metres from the terminal door. And if the weather is particularly inclement, as it is wont to be in the Leeds Bradford Airport hills, it can end up terminal for Aunt Bessie (she also has bad knees, bless her little cotton support stockings).

When you get into the airport, as if by magic, tea, coffee, crisps, beer, sandwiches, burgers, salads and lots more have been magically placed within a pricing structure that is up to 70% more than the High Street (well OK, perhaps not Kensington High Street, although I don't think even the Harrod's kiosk would dare charge £1 for a 35g/49p pack of Linnekar Crisps).

Similarly, when the casual visitor visits a Motorway Rip-Off, er, sorry, I mean a Motorway Stop Over, they are instantly transformed into mugs, happily paying a Michelin Star price for a Sam an' Ella's Greasy Spoon meal!

What is wrong with you all? Why don't you start voting with your feet and wallets and demand the value for money that you've worked hard to deserve.

Do you really have to have a £4 cup of hot brown very stuff cleverly disguised as a hot beverage every time you stopp off on the motorwqay, when you could have provided your car load with a proper cup of Yorkshire Tea for about 30p between you had you brought a flask. Does 30p not sound better on the pocket than £12, or are you in the habit of fuelling the Welcome Break Directors' overly large annual bonus to the extent that they surely must laugh all the way to under their mattresses with it (they're no fools, they don't trust the banks)? Stop putting up with their captive-audience "oh! they'll pay that" cavalier attitude.

So come on guys. Start becoming a bit more price-sensitive, like our American cousins, and stop putting up with this continual overcharging and rip-off prices for everything. Give "Take That" a miss at £60 + £12.50 booking fee.

Don't just leave it to the BBC's Watchdog and Fake Britain programmes or Private Eye magazine to expose.

Start being proactive in saving yourself a fortune.

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