Who do you think will be the big consumers of privileged access at Six Flags PG County?
I wonder if Dan Snyder has any idea how bad the new VIP program at his Six Flags parks will look once implemented into Six Flags Prince George's County. This season, the parks have a new admission tier: pay a fixed price, 199 dollars per person in PG County, and the patron is entitled to
one day's admission , preferred parking, meals, snacks, games, reserved seating at shows and "front-of-the-line ride access."Demographics matter when making business decisions. A look at the US Census website reveals a great deal about the Washington area, and how the racial and socioeconomic conditions vary by locale.
The VIP Program includes a private meeting and complimentary photo with any of the park's costumed characters, such as Bugs Bunny or Batman.
So the socioeconomic outcome is that an access tier is being created in a public location in Prince George's County where the racial makeup skews the heaviest black in the Capital area and the median income is 70% that of Montgomery County and 65% that of Fairfax County.
No I don't think there is overt racism at play here but that doesn't mean the outcome won't be discriminatory. Dan is just trying to find his ways to gerenate incremental revenue which is fine but this new process literally segregates customers in a way that due to the racial and economic diversity in the Washington area will fall on racial lines.
The Post story calculated a family of four at the VIP rate vs. a family of four at the base rate. If we adjust generously for over-priced food and tchotchkies, it's still over twice the price to get the VIP treatment, which explicitly includes access not entitled to the masses, no matter how long they are willing to wait in line.
How would you like to have to tell your kid that he can't meet Bugs Bunny or Batman like that kid over there because that kid's dad paid extra? The kids that would care about a picture with a guy in a spandex suit won't understand money and just think it's not fair and those little social injustices are what lead to resentment and accusations of discrimination.
It's incredibly stupid and evincing a lack of awareness of and sensitivity to the local market and we will be reading about it in the Washington Post again, whether it's Donna Britt or Marc Fisher in the Metro section or a piece in the A section on racial and economic disharmony in the Land of Fun.
If you are at Six Flags PG County this summer and see lots of distracted blackberrying white dads trailing bratty private school kids on private tours cutting to the front of the line of black kids on summer camp field trips then you know the program was a success.
Update 30 March 2007: Additional comment on the Six Flags policy here.
Demographic information from US Census Bureau: PG County, DC, Fairfax, Montgomery County