The theater is part of a national chain that offers a “reward points” program. Every time I pay for a ticket, even a discounted ticket, I earn points. The points accumulate and eventually they give me a coupon for a free bag of popcorn, a free drink, etc. About a month ago, I was awarded a free movie ticket that I can use any time. But I never will.
There are two reasons that this ticket will never be used. The first reason is that the theater chain limits the movies for which I can redeem the ticket. If it’s a first-run popular film with a good cast and a big marketing budget, the corporate bigwigs decided that they’d rather sell the seats than give them away. So those films are restricted until they’ve been around for a month or so. By then, I will have paid my five bucks if I want to see it at all.
The second reason that I’ll never use the ticket is that I’m married to a woman who doesn’t completely understand the concept of “free.”
The first time I tried to use it was on one of our regular Sunday visits to the theater. “Don’t use that free ticket!” she scolded. “If you use it on Sunday, you’re only saving five dollars. Use it on a regular-price night.”
“I don’t think you understand,” I explained. “It’s a free ticket. I’m not saving anything. Free is free. The movie isn’t any different whether it costs $9.50 to get in, or $5.00 to get in. It’s FREE.”
“No,” she insisted. “If you use it on a regular-price night, you’re saving $9.50.”
I gave up. I didn’t have the heart to remind her that I have achieved senior-discount status, so by her logic, I’m only saving $6.50. And if I do tell her, I’m afraid she’ll put me to work designing a time machine.