#TBT: What Do You Mean, Price Gouging?

Happy #TBT. To celebrate, we’re sharing an oldie-but-goodie post from Jim: What Do You Mean, Price Gouging?

If your plane crashed in the desert and after days of struggling across the blazing sands, you were thirsty, and if you finally bumped into a person with a supply of cold water, and that person told you that each bottle was $1,000, you’d probably evaluate your choices in the matter as, pay the $1,000 or die of thirst.

In that case, you could convince me you’ve been price gouged. The person selling you the water had no compassion for your life or death predicament and, invoking no doubt a heavy karmic burden, decided to take extreme advantage of their momentary power over you.

Yeah, that feels like price gouging.


Creating a “premium” tier of tickets is not price gouging.

But creating a “premium” tier of tickets for West End musicals that’s 20 GBP more than the “standard” seats? Not price gouging. Not by a mile. Not to be unkind, but calling this price gouging is like picketing your favorite West End bistro singing “We Shall Overcome” because you couldn’t get a reservation before show time and had to wait in the bar for a while. How long, oh Lord, how long?

These seats are not necessities and no lives are at stake. This is a perfectly optional purchase, and furthermore, since seats are available at other prices, you’re not even being denied access to the show if you don’t want to pay that price. It’s like the guy with the water saying you could buy the bottle for $1,000, or he’d pour it straight into your mouth for a fiver.

And even more, if the price is wrong, it will change. Count on it. When you see vast swaths of empty seats, that’s a leading indicator that prices for that section are too high for the show.

Obviously, people like to pay as little as possible for the things they buy, but just say that, please. You want to keep more of your money. Fair enough.

But you’re not dying of thirst. Stop acting like you are.

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