Screw the Customer: Part III
A few months ago I posed a simple question on this blog: Would you pay $5.66 for a can of pop?
That's the price McCormick Place charges exhibitors who want to order and serve Pepsi to convention goers. For months, McCormick Place honchos have defended that price as being consistent with the pricing offered by convention centers in Las Vegas and Orlando.
Today the interim board overseeing the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority ("McPier" to friends, admirers and taxpayers) announced plans to save money by dissolving union work groups, canceling catering contracts and refinancing debt.
The price of pop wasn't on the agenda but as I wandered around the fifth floor offices inhabited by McPier execs I came across their Pepsi machine. They offer a pleasant variety of Pepsi products packaged in plastic bottles (slightly larger than the cans served across the street to conventioneers at $5.66 a pop). How much do McPier execs pay to quench their thirst? $1.00/bottle.
An hour later, I watched some union guys dismantleexhibits from the recently departed kitchen and bath show. Low and behold, I spotted a pop machine. It was strikingly similar in size, offerings and design to the one in the McPier offices. In fact, the only difference I could detect was the price: $2.00/bottle.
"Yeah, that's the one we gotta use...just another concession!" a union carpenter joked when I told him about the price difference. "At least you're not buying a can from the catering department," I thought.