Battling daylight robbery at the movies
I thought I might be going deaf last weekend.
Standing in line at the local movie theatre, the cashier asked me for $37.
Surely I must have misheard? Then I saw the numbers flash up on the Eftpos terminal, and reluctantly forked out the cash for two tickets.
The price for going to the flicks constantly seems to creep up, most recently reaching the lofty heights of $18.50 a ticket.
With only a girlfriend to provide for, I've got it easy.
Pity the poor family who want to catch the latest G-rated blockbuster.
A family of four buying a simple movie, drink and popcorn would pay a grand total of $78.
With prices like that, it's no wonder the movie industry's revenues are being undermined by online pirates.
We were off to see Taika Waititi's latest film (which was brilliant, incidentally) so that softened the blow.
What can you do if you want to support talented film-makers without feeling like your wallet's taken a hit from one of big screen's tough-guy characters?
With a bit of strategic thinking, I've worked out a plan to cut the cost of movie outings in half.
The first item to tackle is the ticket cost.
Most people already know about Tuesday cheap night, when you'll get a ticket for about $12 at Event cinemas, or one third off.
If you're in Auckland, there are a couple of Berkeley cinemas that offer $10 tickets from Sunday to Wednesday.
If you can't get the timing right, you're still in luck if you're the holder of a current student ID.
That'll get you a couple of bucks off the standard price, but the real discount lies in joining the rewards programme.
At Event, it works out to a free movie after every 10 paid ones, which is basically the same as saying 10 per cent off.
For students it's a real bargain - $10 a ticket, and a free movie after every seven paid tickets.
The next area to tackle is the food and drink, which can cost almost as much as the ticket itself.
Prices are, frankly, other-worldly. In movie-land, icecreams can be $5 each. A large popcorn and soft drink is typically $9 or so.
Compare that to my usual movie snacks, which cost all of $1-$2. That's a can of soda and some nuts or chocolate, all bought on special and stockpiled for just such an occasion, accompanied by a piece of fruit.
If you're not that organised, a quick trip to the nearest supermarket beforehand will see you right. All up, you shouldn't be paying more than $12-$14 for the whole movie experience, effectively cutting your costs in half.
Movie buffs who go to the flicks every month will save something like $140 a year. Otherwise you could go twice as often, without paying a cent more.