29 April 2013

Moan on Monday - added charges

It's crept up on us ... not just the escalating admission charge for exhibitions* but this matter of adding a "voluntary donation" on top of the charge. There may be some confusion about whether this is Gift Aid - no, Gift Aid applies only if you're a taxpayer and sign up for it. The voluntary donation - is only about 10%, a mere trifle, why be so churlish as to opt out of paying it? After all, it's quite usual to pay a service charge at a restaurant, however mediocre the meal, and surely Culture is more "worthy" than a meal? Yes, those hard-working waiters/servers may well deserve a reward for providing pleasant, prompt service, indeed may depend on tips to achieve a living wage ... and museums are hard-pressed for cash, indeed some are threatened with closure.

[*Hallelujah, entry to most UK museums, after a brief fling with charging (and consequent fall in visitor numbers), is free again - thanks largely to funding by the National Lottery.]

On balance, I've decided to try to be gracious about voluntary donations, and save my ire for something more pervasive....

Which is ... finding, at the last minute, that the ticket you're buying on line has a booking fee - £1.50 is usual. Surely this practice aggravates, annoys, and alienates a huge sector of the purchasing public, even though by now we know this will happen. Even so, it continues to rankle. Why not simply include the amount in the price of the ticket? (Perhaps it's part of "creative accounting", eg ticket prices taxed, booking fees not taxed...) Or, is this disclosure justified as being in the interests of "transparency" to the purchaser? How much more pleasant it would be to get a discount when you went to the box office and booked in person. That's basic psychology.


Pat said...

My local theatre charges a booking fee even if you are standing at the box office with cash in hand! I don't go.

Margaret Cooter said...

How do they get away with it? Are there no regulations about this kind of thing?? It's worth raising with "someone" - but who?