Higher prices if you're an older adult?

I saw an ad for an event this week in the DC area (an inauguration-related event, interestingly enough!) that said tickets were $30 per person for those under age 30 and $60 per person for those over age 30.

I was quite surprised. I’m used to seeing kids’ discounts and senior citizens discounts; I imagine that this sort of pricing is legal and I of course agree that as a private event, the organizers can set whatever price they wish.

But I do think it’s unwisely discriminatory and … just odd. What are we, in Logan’s Run?

Are they perhaps simply trying to encourage attendance among the under-30 crowd and perhaps also discourage attendance among the over-30 crowd?

Alternately, it’s also likely that one’s salary is greater as one gains more experience in a job, and as such, someone who is 50 might be able to afford to spend more than someone who is 21. But such an arbitrary cutoff seems a bit strange to me, and like they’re trying to get under-30 attendance almost solely.

That is odd.

Did you really mean to put this in Great Debates? :slight_smile:

Isn’t it just the ‘kids’ discount made a little more honest, Bricker?

And, just to throw it out there, when my band was gigging the punk scene in DC way back when we ripped this sign off from ‘Love and Rockets’ (the comic book…not the band).

4Play playing!

Date: XXX
Location: YYY

Tix: $4 at the door
$2 ahead of time
$100 hippies

Gaudere:

I thought the discussion could go two ways: an IMHO-sort of “Yeah, that seems weird / No, that seems OK” responses, or a more substantive “That’s blatantly wrong / It’s perfectly defensible / You crazy libertarian / You nutso communist” sort of route. If the latter, GD seemed like a safe harbor.

Sure. But is that a legitimate tactic? We protect employees from age discrimination over age 40. We protect against gender discrimination in a wide variety of circumstances – one reason “ladies nights” with reduced prices for women are becoming rare or even extinct. We’d never stand for a system which gave a recued admission price to Christians and a higher one to Muslims.

Why is age - at a 30 cutoff, anyway - considered acceptable?

It could be used in other situations as a sort of way to adjust for income in situations where one is unable to ask about income. Generally speaking, one makes more money the older one gets, as experience usually leads to higher salaries. Still though, a fast food employee with 20 years experience is still usually going to make less than an engineer right out of school.

Out of curiosity, is this event sponsored in any way by government funds, or is it a private event?

100% private event.

If it is just encouraging a younger crowd, is that any different from ladies’ (I hate apostrophes) night at a bar?

30 may seem a bit arbitrary, but there are age cutoffs all the time in society. AARP would most likely not accept me because I am under 50. I’m on another forum where part of their forum is only open to those age 21 and under. 30 is just a fairly uncommon number.

Bricker: But I do think it’s unwisely discriminatory and … just odd.

I’m surprised that you think that. I’ve certainly encountered that kind of “age-related pricing” before (for example, in a summer program for choral singers that was trying to boost participation among the under-30 crowd), so I wouldn’t call it “odd”, although it’s certainly not all that common.

And I don’t see at all why you’d consider it “unwise”. Surely, if a business is trying to attract a certain type of customer, one of the wisest things they can do is offer those customers a better deal on the price, right? Same strategy that prompts “no cover charge for single women” policies at singles bars or other places where they’re trying to boost the female-to-male ratio. (I don’t think every form of “price discrimination” of this type ought to be allowed, nor is it, of course, but offering discounts on party entrance fees to females or young people, if that’s who you’re trying to attract, seems perfectly reasonable to me.)

What really interests me about this policy is: why is a privately-sponsored inaugural event making such an effort to attract under-30’s? Are they expecting the social-pages photographers to be there, and they want to show a young’n’lively crowd or something? What is this event, anyway?

Need more detail, preferably a link.

JM: Need more detail, preferably a link.

Hey, I googled and found an anti-inaugural event doing exactly the same thing!

The ReDefeatBush Counterinaugural Ball on January 20th, 2005

I couldn’t find any discussion of their “youth ticket” pricing policy on the website, but here’s a related FAQ excerpt about the “VIP tickets”:

So the deal seems to be that the “youth tickets” are priced very low to attract younger participants, and the pricing of other tickets has to cover that, and as a reward for being understanding and generous about this you may receive sexual favors from the person of your choice. :smiley:

I’d still like to get more info about the official inaugural event Bricker was talking about and see what the rationale for their pricing policy is. I’d bet that they don’t justify it quite as, er, candidly as these folks did! :wink:

He never said it was an official event. Why do you think I asked for more detail?

Good detective work, btw.

I think it sort of shows how out of touch connected Washingtonians are with respect to the realities of the average citizen. Most people have more disposable income before 30, although that will change after the kids are educated, married and leave and the house is paid for. But you have to be at least 50 before that happens.

JM: He never said it was an official event.

That’s true, but considering that he just called it an “inauguration-related event”, I assumed it was part of the regular inauguration brouhaha. Are you suggesting that this “CounterInaugural Ball” is what Bricker was actually talking about in the first place? Yeah Bricker, if so, why no linky?

grienspace: Most people have more disposable income before 30, although that will change after the kids are educated, married and leave and the house is paid for.

Hmmm. Cite? Considering how many under-30s are students, interns, entry-level employees, still looking for their first job, and so forth, I’d be kind of surprised if it turned out to be true that the average under-30 really is better able to afford a $60 party ticket than the average over-30.

Suggesting, no. But given all the info we have at this point, I think it’s the most logical conclusion.

You really think so? I’m sure that there would be more than a few posters on the board who would say that the organizers of a 100% private function can and should be able to charge whatever they damned well want to whomever they damned well want. Just like your hypothetical overcharged Muslims can and should be free not to buy a ticket.

In fact, I’d probably be one of those posters. Admission to a social event isn’t entirely comparable to discriminatory hiring practices (jobs a bit more essential than attending the inauguration or its related events). I don’t see any compelling reason to keep the organizers of a 100% private function from setting their own admission prices. If it’s “unwisely discriminatory” as you say then withhold your money.

Sure. After searching, I realize that I should have used the term “discretionary income”, but really no matter. I found this cite presenting Household Expenditure Surveys by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 1998/99. Please scroll down to Chart IV showing Household Income per Person. This chart shows a continual decrease of total,disposable and discretionary income for a reference person (head of household) until he/she reaches the age group of 45 -54. Clearly, as I’ve stated and I know through experience, having kids is a major factor in whether you can blow 120 bucks for one night.

grienspace: I found this cite presenting Household Expenditure Surveys by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 1998/99. Please scroll down to Chart IV showing Household Income per Person. This chart shows a continual decrease of total,disposable and discretionary income for a reference person (head of household) until he/she reaches the age group of 45 -54.

Thanks for the cite. But in the first place, it seems odd to me to be using Household Income per Person in this case. After all, many people in many households (particularly households headed by younger “reference persons”) are children, and we would not expect children to have high levels of total, disposable, or discretionary income. Nor would they be making decisions about whether to attend a CounterInaugural Ball in Washington DC. So their inclusion simply drags down the average household income (of whatever type) per person, without giving us any information about how much income is really available to the household members who are actually doing most of the spending (i.e., the adults).

Chart III for Household Income, on the other hand, shows that total, disposable, and discretionary income per household all steadily rise from under-25 onwards, peaking in the 45-54 age bracket. So it still seems reasonable to me to conclude that adults over 30, on average, can better afford $60 for a buffet party than adults under 30, on average. (Especially when you consider that the 45-to-65 crowd, by either measure, has more discretionary income on average than the under-30s.)

Whether or not we can draw useful conclusions about attendees of a Washington DC party from income statistics about Australians is another question, of course.

In any case, even if the “cheaper for under-30s” pricing policy isn’t realistic, given that I’ve seen the same policy in several different contexts in different places in the US, I don’t think it can fairly be blamed on out-of-touch Washingtonians.