Thursday, June 19, 2008

Legal Gouging

Last night, I took advantage of some free tickets and went to a Texas Ranger game. With me were Blake, Jaime, and Maddie. I go to an average of one game a year and there's a reason. I just can't handle the prices of the peripheral stuff. I guess this is how the owners are able to fund the exorbitant contracts of their players. They reach deeply into the wallets of the fans.

Let's assume a family of four takes an outing to the Ballpark. Let's assume their tickets are $20 apiece, a fairly typical ticket price. Let's also assume that one of them has a disability, as I do, and can park in a handicapped spot. Showing their sympathy for your situation in life, the organization will charge you $12 for parking in your close-by spot.

Of course, one doesn't go to the game without eating the sumptuous fare of ballpark food. Here are a couple of representative prices: large cup of soda, $4.75. Bowl of ice cream, $5.50. Beer? $6.25. (Uh, have no fear, I didn't indulge.) I didn't even glance at what a burger might cost. I could go into detail about how you can get a two-liter bottle of soda for less than a buck or how a half-gallon of Blue Bell can be had for less than $5 at your local Wal-Mart. I can almost picture Ranger owner Tom Hicks looking through a one-way mirror and yelling, "Gotcha", after each transaction.

So, let's tally up the damages. $80 for tickets, $12 for parking, $60 (or so) for food, and little Johnny wants a Ranger tee shirt, maybe an extra $20. Oh, don't forget the cost of gas for driving to the mid-cities for the game, probably another $20 there. My math says that's $192 right there. And that may be conservative. Based on what I saw around me, many families were exceeding the $60 food allowance.

Stuff like this strains my sensibilities. I can't relate to the shortstop who makes $4 million/year and I can't begin to understand 16 oz. of coke at $4.75. Better to stay home, manage my money well, and enjoy the ambience of my den and the Ranger game on TV. So there, Mr. Hicks. Gotcha!

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