Let’s All Not Go to the Lobby

During its opening weekend, I decided to go see “The Great Gatsby,” having been impressed by the colorful 1920s stylishness and fashion in the trailers.  As a fan of the literary work of F. Scott Fitzgerald, I had high hopes for the movie, hoping that this new adaptation would far exceed my expectations, more so than the 1974 one with Robert Redford as Gatsby or the made-for-television A&E version from 2000.

After I had purchased my ticket for $11, I was quite put off guard because $11 was a lot of money for me.  Before “The Great Gatsby,” the last movie I had seen in a theater was the third “Jackass” movie in 2010.  I paid around $9 for a ticket and that was just the price for 2-D!

Since I was a little hungry, I decided to visit the concessions stand in the lobby.  I had known that the prices of the food items would be exorbitant, but I interpreted the growling in my stomach as a sign that I should buy some snacks.  I looked at the menu and what I had expected was way beyond exorbitant.  Nachos are a favorite snack of mine, but they were $12 with a large drink.  Two large sodas and a large box of popcorn sold for nearly $20–good thing I didn’t have a date with me (as usual).

I have been gaining weight, so naturally my hungering stomach commanded me to buy meager box of nachos and barely enough hot cheese.

I know that the reason why movie theaters charge high prices for snacks is so that they can keep movie ticket prices low.  However, this practice doesn’t seem to work because ticket prices are getting high.  Now I know DVDs and piracy may play a role in the increase of movie ticket prices, but I still hate paying over $10.

Why is everything so expensive nowadays?  I know that the obvious reason is inflation.  But still.  When I was a kid in 1992, the video game I most wanted was “Street Fighter II” for the Super Nintendo.  At first, my father didn’t want to buy it for me because it was $39.99 at Sears, and that was a lot of money for him.  Fortunately, he bought it for me.  When “Street Fighter IV” was released in 2009 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 it was $59.99–a twenty dollar increase.

I wish everything were more like books.  In olden times, books were expensive and rare, and only the nobility and clergy owned books because they were the only ones who could read.  However, with the invention of the printing press, books became more available and affordable and as an added bonus, literacy increased.  As the years passed, bookmaking technology improved, adding to the affordability and wide distribution of books.  And then paperback technology came along, making books even cheaper.  Right now, the current trend consists of electronic readers and electronic books, which make reading and collecting books more convenient and buying books more affordable, even more so than paperback books.

With books, as the technology gets better, the prices go down.  With video games and movies, as the technology improves, the prices go up.  I know this a simplified way of viewing things, but it should be worth noting.  And of course, inflations affects books, too, so books cost more nowadays than they did before.  However, one reason video game and movie companies charge is to compensate for piracy.  The book industry has always had a long battle with piracy, both in the past and present.

There is still hope for finding affordable merchandise.  Used bookstores sell DVDs and video games, as well as books for dirt cheap prices.  Although I still shop at Best Buy, Game Stop, and Barnes and Noble, and will see a movie at a movie theater once in a while, I mostly buy used and affordable.


Illustration by Danielle Burch.