Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Insufficiently Free

My wife and I like to go to a local movie theater that offers a discounted price on Sundays. The normal price for Monday to Saturday is $9.50. The Sunday price is $5.00. It’s a pretty good deal, but I sweeten it even further.

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.


Burton Meahl said...

When I worked in the business, those passes were only limited for the first 10 days of a release. If you only want to see movies in the first week of release, then you are SOL. Otherwise, 10 days isn't much - unless you have been anticipating a specific title.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your wife. I use the same twisted logic - maybe it's a female thing. I think I do it a bit more logically. I buy discount tickets at AAA. I use to give them to the kids so they wouldn't waste their money or to thank them for a chore well done. I avoided using them on cheap times like matinees since you didn't save anything. This was mostly so I wouldn't have to run to AAA again which wasn't convenient. You are correct too but at least it does give you more flexibility so you can go to a mid week flick and not incur the full price.

Your wife's cheap friend in Boston