Why You Don’t Always Need To Complain About Price Increases

My wife alerted me of a price increase for a regular purchase.  She pointed out that our annual zoo membership would be going up to $99.  Previously, we paid $79.  At first, I was a little taken aback. After all, that’s nearly a 25% increase.  But then I started doing some math.  Within a few minutes I was fine with the increase.  See, I don’t complain about price increases every time.  Only when it’s justified! 🙂

Zoo Membership Is Still A Good Deal

A couple of years ago, I calculated the break even point for the zoo.  At the time, the family membership was $79.  A trip for our family of four would cost $53 without a membership.  This meant that on our second trip, we would be saving money.

With the new increase in memberships, they also raised individual tickets prices.  A trip for our family would now cost $60.  So, even with the 25% increase in our cost, we’re still saving money starting with our second trip.

Considering that we go at least 1-2 times per month on average, I’d say we’re doing just fine.

Why The 25% Increase Doesn’t Bother Me

Normally, I rail on big price increases.  When price increases dramatically outpace inflation, that’s usually a big sore point for me.  But not this time. Why?

  • Time Between Increases.  We were paying $79 for at least 3 years.  Maybe even a year or two longer.  So, when you average out the price increase over several years, it averages out to around 6-8% per year at most.
  • Improvements.  I get upset at increases when you don’t see value in the increase.  I just wrote about how Disney is now charging for parking.  This one bugs me because the increase to the consumer offers no additional value.  But, this isn’t the case with the zoo at all.  The zoo is constantly improving things.  They recently opened the world’s biggest penguinarium.  They are refurbishing the tiger and red panda exhibits this year.  In fact, every year, they update at least two exhibits.  Last year they adding a parking lot.  You get the point!  Our zoo is world class, and they are constantly making it stay that way.  I have no problem paying more since I can see value in my dollars.
  • Fun.  The zoo is just a great time.  Every time you go you see different things.  Some animal is doing something different, or they have a new baby somewhere.  I don’t think we’ve ever had an awful experience.

When Those Who Complain The Loudest Don’t Even Have A Right

Later in the day, my wife and I were talking about the increase.  She told me that someone in her Facebook feed was livid.  She went on this big rant and was complaining about the cost that she purchased.  She purchases this pass that allows you to bring in up to five kids and it was going to cost her around $60 per year more.

But here’s the thing.

She only has one kid!

She was bringing in her nieces and nephews and friends of her kids.  That’s totally a violation of the membership agreement!  Here she is breaking the rules and having the nerve to complain that it’s costing her money.

All my wife and I could do was shake our heads at the irony.   We kept hoping that someone in her Facebook thread would point out her hypocrisy, but nobody did.  And, you know it would have sailed right over her head anyway.

As my dad is fond of saying, it takes all kinds!

In any case, our zoo membership will be renewed without hesitation this year.

Readers, what do you use to determine if a price increase is justified or not?  What are some examples of increases that you have hated versus those you’ve been OK with?  Please drop a comment and let me know.

8 thoughts on “Why You Don’t Always Need To Complain About Price Increases”

  1. Membership is usually the way to go if you plan on going more than once. A couple years ago we go a zoo membership and ended up going 5 times over the course of the year. Like you, the savings started during our second visit. We’ll likely be signing up for our local science museum membership this year.

  2. I think the value is definitely the determining factor. I’ll grumble about the price increase, but if it’s worth the new price… Why not pay it? Though sometimes I’ll still call and see if there’s any way to get a break — just in case.

  3. Hmmm… that really is a good question. The zoo membership? Botanical garden, art museum memberships? I think of those as on the order of a donation. One reason to buy a membership is to support the organization, so I think the price is only marginally relevant. If you can’t afford a membership but still want to support the organization, then don’t join but donate as what you can afford.

    There are some price hikes that I resent. Homeowner’s and car insurance, for example, when I’ve had no claims for years. Yeah, I understand: hurricanes and floods and fires cost us all. But still: jack up the prices for people who live in flood, storm, and fire-prone areas. Keep the prices within reason for those of us who have better sense or who can’t afford to live in Northern California. 😉

    Outrageous increases in college tuition: though I have no kids in school anymore, educating our young people is crucial to our country’s future. It’s simply wrong to shackle our kids with debt that may burden them for the rest of their lives: education should be free, or as close to it as possible.

    Know what a purebred golden retriever pup costs today? Hang onto your hat… $2500(!!). And from what I can tell, that’s a pretty typical charge for a run-of-the-mill pet-quality walking vet bill. One word: inexcusable. Get your next dog from the pound. Please.

    Batsh!t crazy health insurance costs. Again: it’s not a lot of skin off my teeth because I’m on Medicare. But it makes me mad as a cat to see hard-working young people being ripped off in our current dysfunctional healthcare system.

    • The worst part about the cost of colleges is that it’s been shown that a majority of the additional spending that colleges do these days is done at the administrative level compared to decades ago. How much of that cost benefits the students?

  4. Rather little benefits students, unless you consider a fancy swimming pool and luxurious digs for the Athletic Department (whose football coach is the highest-paid faculty member in the state) to be a “benefit.” Public universities are now moving toward a “business” model, in which they try to operate like for-profit entities. Don’t get me started on that stuff…

  5. Thank you very much for the details on the latest increase to hit our household prices.

    Certainly an eye-opener. Sometimes it can be well worth it.

    Cheers Sharon…

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