Saturday, September 23, 2006

Why we didn’t go to the Cinema tonight

A previous entry described our recent visit to the Vue cinema at Basingstoke. The film which attracted us then was the Internet-fuelled smash, ‘Snakes on a Plane’ - click on the link to see my review.

In the event, that movie started late due to projector problems and we were handed a couple of ‘free tickets’. Clare suggested today that we use them to go see the Helen Mirren fuelled smash called ‘The Queen’.

Look closely at the ticket. The front says we can go to a Vue cinema to see a performance of our choice. The back says that the ticket can be revoked at any time, and can’t be used to get a reservation.

I imagine some bright economics-trained marketeer at Vue decided the ticket could be used as a bulk filler where seats could not be sold anyway. The marginal cost to serve an additional customer at the cinema is essentially zero, and a seat which would otherwise be empty earns no revenue anyway.

The problem with undergraduate economics is that it misses the human factor. The implicit licence to renege makes the cinema look like a cheat. Clare said that she doesn’t much like cheats and that her chances of going to the Vue again are slim.

So there you are - they might have been better just to stick with saying sorry (or giving us a genuine ticket).