The way it’s supposed to work is like this: A store offers certain goods for sale, advertises those goods in various media, maybe discounts them with coupons or special promotions of some kind, and then throws its doors open to the buying public, who, enticed by the advertising, willingly enter the store free of admission charge, welcomed enthusiastically by the merchant. Works pretty well I’d say. Been that way throughout the history of capitalism. So how come some of us, actually a lot of us, are suckered into paying an admission charge to see the same goods all in one place under the umbrella of some cobbled together association of merchants who are all in the same business.
I admit to being one of those suckers. Yesterday I went with my son Jon to the golf show here in town. Cost me $14 bucks for the two of us to get in the door. Once inside we were surrounded by like-minded individuals who get suckered just like we did. What did we see there for the admission price? All the golf club manufacturers touting their latest innovations in equipment, a bunch of golf course representatives for courses that the majority of us can’t afford to play, and various merchants selling the same golf balls and golf shoes and golf equipment that we can see for the same prices at our local golf shops and sporting good stores.
Granted, there were some things at the show that you won’t get anywhere outside that particular environment. Like a putting contest and a hole in one contest and chipping and pitching contest. Of course all those contests cost you another five bucks if you want to participate. And no one ever comes close to winning any of them. Talk about suckers.
Naturally, a lot of the items for sale at the show are discounted to make you feel like you’re getting a bargain. But most of the discounted clubs, for instance were last year’s models that were overstock cluttering up the merchants’ stores. The latest innovations were never marked down. I did buy a box of golf balls for $21 that normally go for $24. So I only paid four bucks over the in-store price when you figure in the cost of admission to the show. Am I a savvy shopper or what.
The total dollar outlay for the day came to $55--$5 for parking, $14 for two admissions, $10 for two 16 oz beers, $5 for some practice balls, and $21 for golf balls. And that was squandered in only two hours. Priceless? The two hours I spent with my son.
I could have seen the same golf clubs, golf balls, shoes, and other equipment just by going to the local pro shop. I guess spending money needlessly makes me feel special. I can’t speak for the other couple thousand golfers who attended the show. Can we all be that special?