The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Why A Retro-Theme Is A Licence To Print Money …
February 21, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

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.


29 Comments so far
Leave a comment

youve got more money than the fucking queen, you spend shitloads on shit and youre whining like a little bitch about spending 20 bucks on breakfast. what the fuck did you expect eating at an airport shithole. and your favourite food is fucking kebab so who the fuck are you to complain about low grade grub.

Comment by andy@cynic

Egon Ronay. The Nottingham version?

Comment by DH

My favourite food is not kebab thank you very much. Well, unless you count a kebab cob special from Nick the Greeks on Radcliffe Road, but I don’t have them enough to qualify as my favourite. Unfortunately.

Comment by Rob

and why the fuck did you fly in to newark? who the fuck does that!

Comment by andy@cynic

I bet George did when he lived in NJ.

Comment by DH

why do you think i fucking avoided being seen in public with him. clue. it wasnt just because he was a planner.

Comment by andy@cynic

Don’t worry David and John, Andrew has never been able to fathom why someone wouldn’t reside in a palatial apartment overlooking Central Park. It was obviously due of my lack of taste, there could be no other reason, could there.

Comment by George

its fucking unfathonable. and dont try and make out youve had it tough, i live in a fucking moneypit in fucking canada, thats worse than being in a fucking warzone. or nottingham. ok, maybe not nottingham.

Comment by andy@cynic

You have suffered.

Comment by George

Newark used to be the best way to fly to NY internationally, simply because no-one else did and the immigration lines were tiny.

Comment by John

that sounds a similar excuse for marrying a ginger fat bird.

Comment by andy@cynic

My wife booked the flights. Never again. NEVER AGAIN.

Comment by Rob

ive just worked out what this post is about. youre trying to shame lee because theres no fucking virgin uberlounge for you to be waited on hand and fucking foot. fucking freebie princess.

Comment by andy@cynic

If that was the intention, he failed.

Comment by Lee Hill

You’ve written a post that makes you look cheap and shows you have bad taste. On brand.

Comment by DH

Pushing aside the fact all airport food is poor and expensive, your point about retro restaurants being high profit centers is interesting. I’m not sure if the data would back it up but it explains why there’s so many of them. I wouldn’t be seen dead eating at any of them though.

Comment by Pete

This is not marketing, it’s a captive market.

Comment by John

I disagree. If it was purely a captive market they would not bother adding a theme. I am assuming they did that because it attracts more tired and gullible tourists and allows them to charge a premium.

Comment by Pete

who the fuck gives a fuck. get a fucking grip, youre arguing about a shit cafe in a shit airport featured on a shit blog.

Comment by andy@cynic

I was referring to the pricing – the theme is just to differentiate from the other outlets.

Comment by John

But Andy is right.

Comment by John

as fucking usual.

Comment by andy@cynic

I think that’s a great point about nostalgia. According to your oppo in Amsterdam our need for nostalgia is driven by the rootlessness of the modern digital age. Juliette and I had our first weekend away for an age. No kids. In an overpriced Cumbrian hotel replete with roaring fires. Grand four poster beds and exposed beams etc. They played James blunt in the bar and served Richmond sausages for breakfast and put asda value tea bags in the teapot. Conned, totally conned

Comment by Northern

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Comment by John

Forget all that, did it have mirrors on the celling?

Comment by Rob

Another reason I should have got a refund
A couple of blokes were quietly having coffee in front of the fire in a busy drawing room when an impossibly booming voiced you lady trumpeted to them ‘hi I’m you’re wedding planner’ an un progressive silence enveloped the room

Comment by Northern

Oh that looks bad the lack of mirrors is the refund gripe not the fact they offer marriages to everyone
The atmosphere was funny though a bunch of mature ladies were there to celebrate a friends 60th birthday

Comment by Northern

Do I look up Northern on youporn? Maybe not.

Comment by DH

well fucking done for killing all further comments with that image of fucking horrendousness dave. now do us all a favour and work on killing all further campbell posts.

Comment by andy@cynic




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