What places of business have the most ridiculously high prices? A few jump immediately to my mind: the snack bar at a movie theater, the beer stand at a baseball stadium, and convenience stores along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Can you think of others? Why, of course you can. Please use the comments link below, to tell us all about it.
Also, where has an outrageous price genuinely shocked you? In what situation?
I attended my first corporate convention in San Francisco, in 1990. I didn’t confess this fact to anyone, but it was the first time I’d ever flown. I was 27, and had never before been on an airplane. We flew Eastern, and the plane was almost empty; it seemed to be just me and a few of my co-workers.
After we took off from Atlanta, everyone spread out, and we each had our own row. Everybody was lying cross-ways across the seats, just chillin’. Later, I was disappointed to learn that this was a rare occurrence, and not a normal flight. Eastern went belly-up the following year, I believe, and I never got to stretch my legs on an airplane again.
The thing that shocked me — completely blew me away, in fact — was the vending machine near the stairs in our hotel. It was a Coke machine, I believe, that sold 12 oz cans. The price? $1.00. I don’t know what the regular price was in those days, but seeing that “$1.00” printed on the front of the machine made me cut loose with an involuntary holy shit! And I still remember it clearly, 20 years later.
Yeah, I was a hick. What of it?
Oh, and by the way… the headlining act at that convention was Iggy Pop. He was the final performer, on the last night, and completely rocked the joint. After about two or three songs, elderly credit managers and unadventurous advertising execs were scrambling for the exits, with their fingers in their ears. I loved it. Those were great days to be sucking the corporate teat.
Several years later, while also traveling with the company, we stayed at the Helmsley Palace Hotel in New York City. A couple of us went down to the lobby bar before dinner the first night, and I ordered a bottle of Heineken and laid down a $5 bill. The bartender just stood there, and I was confused so I picked up the money and handed it to him. “$7.50,” he said, and I almost dropped a rectal plate.
A similar thing happened in California, at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Bill was staying there (also because of work), and I met him for a few beers. I can’t remember the exact details, but the bar tab ratcheted upward at an impossibly high rate of speed. Every time we ordered another round, it added about twenty bucks to the bill. For just the two of us! Sweet sainted mother of Dr. Rosen Rosen.
In the lobby that night we saw Ed McMahon, in case you were wondering about celebrities. And while we were out drinking and driving later in the evening (a tradition of sorts), the presidential motorcade went cruising past, along with about a million cops on motorcycles. My sphincter didn’t release for another week, at least.
Many years earlier, I took a girl to the senior prom and we went to a fancy restaurant called Lindy’s or Laury’s or something like that. And our bill was $72.00. This was in 1981, when my weekly take-home pay was roughly $103.00. It was shockingly expensive, and according to this site, it equals $167.76 in today’s money. That’s a lotta scratch for a doofus zitster.
And finally, the prices of houses in California shocked me. I remember telling our agent we wanted to spend about $150,000, and her showing us tiny dump in a far-flung town after tiny dump in a far-flung town. Little did I know… prices were WAY DOWN. A few years later it got completely out of hand, and we couldn’t have afforded to buy an aluminum tool shed.
And those are your Questions of the Day. What businesses have the most outrageous prices, places like movie theater snack bars and such? Also, please tell us about situations where you were genuinely shocked by the price of some everyday item or service. Use the comments link below.
And I’ll see you guys again on Tuesday.
Have a great day!