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How about that for a blog post title eh?!
It almost sounds like I’m being sensible and serious doesn’t it.
OK, it also sounds like I’m talking tosh … so let me explain.
A little while ago, I found myself at Newark international airport in New Jersey.
It was early and so fancied breakfast before my long flight home so I popped into a themed diner called ‘Ruby’s Diner’.
As you can see from the pic, Ruby’s was themed like a 50’s American diner – the sort of thing I saw as a kid via programs like ‘Happy Days’.
So I went in and sat down, only to be thrown a menu of high-priced, high-fat crap by a waitress who literally looked like she begrudged me being there.
In other words, I was paying literally hotel prices for B&B food.
And then, when you got the food, you realised the plate – while huge – was full of the cheap stuff and the thing you actually wanted was so small, you needed a magnifying glass and a GPS unit to find it.
Now I get why they do that … it gives the illusion of ‘value’ while actually all being about profit, but what really got me was the environment and facilities of the place, because they seemed to have taken the spirit of the ’50’s so much to heart that they made it look like they hadn’t done anything to the place for 60 years.
Of course that’s not possible given that while the airport was founded in the 20’s, it didn’t become what it is today until 1973 … however here’s the thing, if you went to a typical, run-of-the-mill restaurant on the high street and were charged top dollar prices for cheap and basic food in a cheap and basic environment, you’d run out the door and never go back … however because it’s packaged as a ‘retro-themed’ establishment, that cheap and basic environment, service and quality suddenly transforms itself into ‘an enhanced experience’ and you walk away feeling happy, because you’ve kidded yourself you’ve just had a trip into nostalgia.
Let me tell you, you haven’t.
You’re simply another victim of the retro-themed, marketing-driven con.
In fact, if you are like me – and ate at a retro-themed restaurant inside an airport – you’re even more of a mug, because those places already charge a premium because they know the customer is ‘trapped’ inside the building.
Actually, scrub that … you’d still not be quite as bad as me because I work in marketing, so I should have been able to spot this ‘trick’ a bloody mile off.
So next time you are tempted to go eat at a themed restaurant – especially an American diner themed restaurant – just remind yourself that once you sit down, you’re going to get so ripped off, that the 20+% tip that American culture has decided is an acceptable amount to pay someone for simply taking your food and throwing the plate in front of your eyes, is going to look the bargain of a lifetime.
Marketing. Sometimes, it’s just sheer evil bloody genius.
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