Bah, humbug -- I guess even Santa's buckling under the recession.
Vivian Manning-Schaffel: According to the Peach Buzz blog from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Atlanta's popular Phipps Plaza Mall is slapping double-booking and no-show parents on the wrist with a $15 pose fee -- of which only $10 goes toward the purchase of your photos. The remainder covers their website and credit card fees -- you know -- the very tools that enable them to charge you more money. Oh, and advance online reservations begin today, October 7, at santaatphipps.com.
They explain this act of high-douchery with this message:
"We pride ourselves on our service and the products we offer to our customers. Over the last few years, our Online Appointment System has become extremely popular and convenient, but in 2008 we experienced almost 500 "No-Shows" and/or "Multiple-Bookings" (families who booked more than one appointment but only showed up for one without canceling the second).
"In an effort to eliminate this and make sure as many families get to visit with Santa each season as possible, we will be charging a $15 appointment fee at the time you book your appointment online.
"We are confident that this will help eliminate the problem, thus making more appointments available for all of our new and existing customers."
Or, it will piss them off enough to go to another mall.
Um, charging for mall Santa photo-ops? It's not like the pix are a bargain, but if you're trying to recoup costs, why not just hike up the cost of the photos five bucks?
And what message does this send kid believers? Surely some of them will learn of this charge. Aren't cookies and milk enough anymore?
What's next? He'll expect a tip in their stockings? Charge shipping for bulky gifts?
I expect a lot of Atlanta's kids'll be half-expecting to find coal under the tree.
|Vivian Manning-Schaffel has written for Babble, Parenting, The Advocate, The New York Post, Business Week and a variety of other publications and lives and works in the heart of breeder Brooklyn with her husband and two kids. She authors two pop culture blogs: The Mad Mom and A Hag Supreme, and is on the web at vivianmanningschaffel.com.|