It was through my college experience that I truly understood the value of free stuff. No one appreciated that free pizza on campus that your club was passing out as a promotion more than I did, especially right after tuition was due. I came to have a new found appreciation for free things. I mean, I have always loved free stuff – but I never took advantage of it like I did in college. If I didn’t need to pay for it, then I didn’t pay for it. I wasn’t trying to be a douche bag, I just did not have the money. You get creative when you’re broke.
- Free t-shirts for my university’s homecoming? Nice! I needed a new work out shirt!
- It’s my birthday? Sounds like I’m going to Denny’s for a free breakfast and grabbing some baskin robins later for free ice cream!
- Free pancakes for International Pancake Day? Don’t mind if I do.
- Free Slurpee Day? Is someone reading my mind?
- Why yes, I would like to try some of your bourbon chicken, thank you for the free sample outside of your Mall Food Court restaurant. But first, I have to make my rounds to the rest of the Food Court free sample train.
- Lady’s drink free on Wednesday nights? Good thing I don’t have classes on Thursday!
Hey man, you got to do what you got to do. And I was doing everything I could to try and not spend anymore than I needed to on things.
So yes, I went to a lot of free art galleries, a lot of student art galleries, and free museums…
Which brings me to the article that inspired me to write a post. Kathrine Brooks’s article brought to light that The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) had a discounted Groupon for tickets that were, essentially, free.
Ruh roh. You see, the Met does state that there is a “recommended admission price.” Recommended, as in, not mandatory.
So the the Met is essentially selling a discounted recommendation? Really? That’s a thing now? Normally admission to the Met is $25 for adults, $17 for seniors ages 65 and up, and $12 for students. The Groupon was knocking off a few bucks for adults, selling the tickets for $18.
Now, obviously, this is kinda shady. So I was not surprised to find out that there have already been a few lawsuits filed. Arnold Weiss, one of the lawyers in these lawsuit cases, had this to say:
“It’s a violation of the statute that requires free admission to the museum five days a week and the lease that requires four designated free admission days,”
Okay, now, I understand that supporting your local museum or any museum is hella important. In fact, if you’ve got some money lying around, I fully support you donate it to a museum. Museums don’t run themselves, they have a lot of people who dedicate a lot of hard work to make them the wonderful places that they are. These recommended admission fees obviously go towards the cost of helping run the place. That being said, free means free. Recommended means its recommended. And this kind of advertising is blatantly deceiving. If I were a broke college student (oh wait, I am) and I was looking into visiting the Met as a tourist, I would probably not have known what policy the museum had for admissions, and I would have thought this Groupon was a super cool deal. However, if the whole deal about giving a “recommended” amount of money to a museum is to help pay for costs, is discounting a recommendation really validate the reasons behind asking for the recommendation in the first place?
Give us ten bucks to get in, this is a number we estimate will help cover costs of the museum! But if you get this groupon it’ll be five bucks! So, why get the groupon at all then? If you need the ten bucks so bad…I feel like I’m complaining. Sorry if this sounds like that, I had a point somewhere in here…
If you are providing free admission, I’m not so sure you can dictate how much people are supposed to donate, in fact, I think telling people how much they should donate is a bit arrogant. Maybe arrogant isn’t the right word, but I’m too tired to look at a thesaurus. I’m not trying to give an excuse as to why its okay to cop out of giving money to the museum. But I mean… Do you guys get what I’m trying to say?
Anyway, its 2am, I’ll shut up and go to bed now.