Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Purchase a ticket to yesterday's game? Count me in

Our culture just keeps on one-upping itself.

Last Saturday, Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies pitched Major League Baseball's twentieth perfect game versus the Florida Marlins. Obviously, this was a rare accomplishment, and those who witnessed it were almost as fortunate as lottery winners.

Just over 25,000 attended the game, played at the Marlins' home field, Sun Life Stadium, in Miami, resulting in approximately 15,000 unsold tickets. Typical of most profit-maximizing Major League franchises, the management of the Marlins seized on a rare opportunity and offered the remaining tickets to the already-played game for sale to the general public...at face value.

Three words: only in America. Where else can sheer desire for profit compel an organization to sell tickets to an event which already happened, to people who didn't see it? Our society really knows how to squeeze every last drop of value out of an opportunity, thereby devaluing the entire commodity in the long run.

Remember when bobble heads were kind of novel and cool? We collected them as kids, and they all looked the same. No more. Bobble heads have become an industry, compelling people to line up at the ballpark three hours early just to grab the promotional chachka for future re-sale on EBay. This season, the Seattle Mariners are holding three separate Ken Griffey, Jr. bobble head nights—three—just for him. I'm hoping at least one will show the head rotating sideways only, otherwise known as the "Strike Three Bobble head."

Corporations aren't the only culprits in promulgating over-the-top valuation. Just look at activities in which our children are involved, like T-Ball. At the end of the season, they get trophies the size of small lawn mowers. I was lucky to get a tick tack and a pat on the fanny.

When our kids attend a birthday party, they return home with more stuff than they receive on their own birthdays, often resembling Oscar night gift baskets. Our son or daughter bursts through the door, shouting, "Dad, I bowled a 250 today." I have to be excited, because what jerk of a dad would respond, "So what. You had those lame kid bumpers." Not me.

If our society acclimates itself to this type of overvaluation, by the time our kids are adults, the Olympics will award, rather than gold, silver and bronze—gold, super gold, and super awesome sparkly gold medals. The Vice President will become the President, and the President will be the President With Benefits.

Children will no longer be asked to pick up their nasty, used Kleenex tissues off the couch cushions. Nope, they'll be gently reminded to gather up their "protein-enriched nasal hygiene strips."

Then again, maybe not. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to install my "my kid is an honor student" mud flaps.

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