Friday, February 27, 2004

If the price were right

With most products, quality comes at a price. A better restaurant, hotel room, or car costs more than a terrible one. But I'm fascinated by cases where quality has no relationship to price.

Movie theaters charge the same ticket price for a great movie as for an awful one. Why? What if movie prices reflected quality? Faced with a choice of watching Return of the King for $25 or Glitter for 25 cents, what would you do? You pay the same price to watch a movie whether it cost the studio $100 million to make or $1 million. Why?

A great video game and a terrible one usually have the same price tag. A poorly-written novel costs about the same as a great one. A CD of some kid screaming into a microphone, accompanied by somebody strumming the electric guitar with a cheese grater, costs about as much as a CD of Beethoven -- probably more. Why?

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