Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Mathematics of Today's Vacations

This is not a complaint, so don't take it that way. It's just something that popped into my head while I was running some numbers today.

You have to wonder how things come to be priced in the U.S. anymore and why we Americans continue to put up with the mathematical duplicity that goes on. Why does it cost $30 for an adult to view the same exhibit that a senior adult is going to see at $24 and that a child will see at $16? (or $40, $31, $28 if you do the other place instead, which is owned by the same company) or both together ($60,$45, $34)? They're the same exhibits, right? Everyone's eyeballs are going to look at them the same way, using the same light sources, walking on the same floors, using the same restroom facilities. So, why different pricing just because of age? Because we've let ourselves be convinced that it's appropriate.

In the cases of the allegedly discounted "combined ticket" I know they want to entice you into doing both and thus convince yourself that you're doing yourself a huge favor and saving a ton of money by choosing to do both, and thus inching their bottom line a little higher into the black zone. You may very well save money if you intended to do both, but couldn't they just set one nice reasonable price for everyone, and reduce the amount of math required? (Don't hate me for doing the math. It was forced on me in school.)

I know this mathematical word problem above is probably causing chest-tightening math-class flashbacks for some of you who found math class a waste of a perfectly good hour of your time. But, don't worry. I'm not going to give you a pop quiz.

Based on these numbers, I can understand why whole families can't really afford to take vacations anymore, at least to visit high-end attractions and places like amusement parks, etc. What is sadder still is that many theme parks are now offering "payment plans." Eek. If you have to finance a visit to a theme park, is it really worth it?

I think our own museums and state parks have it about right. You can take your family on an outing to most museums and camp out at state parks in Missouri without wreaking havoc on your budget . . . for the whole rest of the year. And that may very well be the case with many other attractions and museums in other states. I haven't visited them all . . . yet.

Maybe those high-end amusement and theme parks really are those once-in-a-lifetime magical vacations that everyone should aim for, but for a vast majority of families today, even modestly sized ones, they're about as feasible as me getting that Ferrari I've had my eye on. I could probably come up with enough to buy the t-shirt with the logo. It may be as close as I ever get.

#family #budget #camping #Missouri #museum #waterpark #themepark #vacation #familyvacation #statepark #familyfun

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