Holidays today are not like holidays of the past
It was so much better in the “old days.” Movie theaters were more enjoyable and traveling on airlines and even cruises were simpler. We knew what we were getting upfront for the single cost we paid. Today, traveling is a gamble, and going to the movie is disrupted by rudeness and late people
By Ray Hanania
The Christmas Holidays are a wonderful time to gather with family to reminisce about our childhood and the past. Life was so different, more fun and safe in the 1950s and 1960s.
Entertainment and travel were so much easier and cheaper to enjoy, too.
Traveling was easier before. We didn’t have computers and technology to distract us from families.
Having said that, traveling today is a real hassle, and no matter how they improve the movie theater, people will still be people.
The costs of vacations are in direct relationship to the time when children are out of school. In other words, most families can’t travel most of the year because they have kids in school. They can only travel when schools are closed. The day schools close, travel costs triple. The day they open, travel costs drop.
You call it supply and demand, but I call it punishing parents who care about their children. Bad parents make kids miss school to save money.
The airlines have also turned the vacation experience into a shell game. Cheap vacations are not really cheap at all.
Frontier Airlines, for example, advertises cheap flights. But when you get to the airport, the costs start pouring down. It will cost you as much as $180-a-person so you can check a bag, carry one on board, and get a seat where your knees don’t rub raw on the seat in front.
I miss the days when they charged us one flat fee for everything. I knew what it was going to get and I knew what it would cost. Now, it’s like throwing away money at the casino.
Cruises are worse. The unlimited buffet has its limits. The buffet experience is like cows feeding at a trough. If you want to eat like a civilized person, you pay as much as $100-per-person to eat at a “specialty” restaurant, where the food is only so-so.
They force you to buy your pop, too. You get water and ice tea at the buffet, but have to pay extra, as much as $200 for a soft drink and juice package. Who designed these cruise plans, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle?
They even separated the deck by cost. The more you pay the better the view.
And they have taken out the gratitude from “gratuity.” You don’t have a choice and most pay as much as $500 for “maid service” to clean your room. Pay it up front, or through the nose during the cruise.
The movie experience isn’t any better. But in this case, I blame the people not the theaters.
I love that you can purchase tickets online and reserve your seats. These seats are not just seats. They are cushioned recliners, arranged so that no seat ever blocks your view of the huge screens with the deafening sound systems.
Marcus and Emagine theaters in Orland Park and Frankfort charge only $9 for the spacious, comfortable seating. Employees bring you the food on a tray that you can order before the movie starts.
The problem is the people. They’re lazy. They buy their tickets online for a 4 pm show, and they show up at the theater at 4 pm, figuring “why rush?”
For the first 15 minutes of every show now, half the people are walking in and looking for their seats. They’re talking, slowly removing their jackets, switching seats, and blocking everyone’s view. That first 15 minutes is the key to movie enjoyment.
The movie theaters should impose a rule that says that if you don’t get to the theater at least 15 minutes before the movie starts, you will be charged extra to enter.
I want to go back to the old days when all we had interrupting our lives was a TV set with six channels and one large black telephone in the kitchen.
You could sleep with the front door wide open, back then. Now, you have crooks stealing UPS boxes from your front porch.
(Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author and former Chicago City Hall political reporter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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