Why Harvard Is So Well-Endowed

December 1, 2005 psipsina

The Red-Haired Boy and I decided to go see the Harvard – Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan Players performance of Radigore tomorrow night.  This is something of a December tradition with us.

Tickets are $12 or $10, a very good price for highbrow live entertainment.  The $12 tickets for tomorrow’s show are sold out, so I selected the $10 tickets.

Total cost for 2 $10 tickets:  $27.50.

The online ticketing system tacked on a $4.00 Per Order fee and a $3.50 Convenience fee.  For the arithmetically challenged, this is a 35% markup.

Silly me, but shouldn’t the cost of producing and selling something be figured into the price of the thing?  Isn’t that what the price is for?  Or is the wave of the future?  Am I going to walk out of Filene’s some day in the future and find the following on my sales receipt?

Sweater – $25.00
3-pack of undies – $15.00
Per purchase fee – $8.00
Sales person’s salary fee – $7.00

If Harvard thinks $13.50 is a fair price for a ticket and covers its costs, why don’t they just set the price of the ticket at $13.50?  It would still be an incredible bargain for highbrow live entertainment, and — here’s the important part — it wouldn’t piss people off.


(It also turns out that there is no fee if you walk up to the Box Office and take up a sales person’s time.  This is ass backward, kind of like charging people for using an ATM but letting them walk into the bank and do business with a person for free.)

I plan to call the Advancement Office at St. John’s and explain to them how they can have a multi-billion dollar endowment, just like Harvard’s.  All they have to do is, every time they charge a student for something, they also charge the student a 35% fee for charging them:

Tuition – $10,000
Fee for charging tuition – $3,500
Room and board – $7500
Fee for charging room and board – $2,625
Activities fee – $200
Fee for charging activities fee – $70


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